07 February 2007

Pledge to the World - Part III

Part One: What We can do to help dichloroacetate (DCA) become a common anti-cancer treatment.

Part Two: A general direction for making the Pledge happen.

Part Three: Why?

I've partially answered this question already, but the fact remains that emotional appeals--no matter how grounded in rationality--will not work. For a nation (and I have no doubt We are a nation) to pledge the budgetary equivalent of one existing and necessary social program to back an experiment is asking a lot.

Or is it? Puerto Rico's internal budget hovers around $9.7 billion a year. It seems simple to take the ".7" out of the budget and We have the money for The DCA Pledge. But that $700 million represents about 7% of Our internal revenue, which according to almost every Fool, economist, analyst and statistical report, has long been badly over-strained. We need certainty, not risk, for any process as badly overmanaged and politically-laden as the FDA's is a risk, especially for outsiders trying to buck the fetid tide. So why would We take money We obviously need and place it in the hands of a risky process such as that of FDA treatment certification?

Because doing so will turn Puerto Rico around.


We are a nation without a goal, without enough unity to decide on goals and without a vision to help foster unity. We wave Our flags and sing Our anthem with the fervor of hubris when one of Our beauties comes in first or one of Our actors gets an award or one of Our athletes makes a name for himself or herself on a playing field. But aside from those moments of duly-earned pride, that's all We have: moments. We don't have--We refuse to have--an enduring process by which We define Ourselves. If We are defined at all it is by Our indifference to focus on anything other than Our smallness, Our physical smallness, using it as excuse, lament and--for those brief moments--as an "In your face" motivator .

We are so much more. We can be so much more. But We don't believe it. Like a teenager with a keen mind, a kind heart and a yearning desire to do more, We keep waiting for someone--anyone--to tell Us what We are, what to do and even how to do it. Lacking that "parent" or "uncle", We blaze around, all energy and passion, without direction, without a sense of proportion, without a point of view other than "Me." And just like teenagers, We make mountains out of Our molehills, see only the short term, get wrapped up in emotional webs and wake up every once in a while to the realization that "We are going nowhere and We don't know what to do about it."

One doesn't become an adult until one achieves what is considered "adult" things. Lacking a war, nations must rise to their levels of adulthood by taking on unique challenges. Puerto Rico's imposed transformation from economic rut to world-class prosperity ended some 25 years ago. We can now stand on Our own...if We only believed enough in Ourselves. And that belief cannot--will not--be built by winning beauty crowns, boxing belts, statuettes or rings. It will be built by creating something larger than an individual or a sports team, something larger than one institution, agency or company, something so large that other nations turn to Us and recognize that not only are We putting forth an admirable effort, We are capable of achieving such a worthy goal.

It will take money. We have it, for it will only require a tiny sacrifice on Our part to make it happen.

It will take knowledge. We have it, for We will not achieve this alone. No one achieves anything worthwhile alone, and trying to do so is not a sign of maturity, but of childish insecurity.

It will take persistence. No worthy goal comes from instant gratification. Being able to contribute a major step in curing cancer has been a challenge for decades. We can do Our part, even if takes longer than expected.

It will take pride. Not the jubilant vanity of "Me-ness", but the deep self-respect earned through conscious effort. It is this journey that The Pledge to the World sets Us on.

It will take a choice; OUR choice. For if not now...when?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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