Cancer among us


The nervous patient sits in a doctor’s examination room, while mechanically thumbing through the pages of a nameless magazine.

He is there to hear if a recent biopsy confirms what previous tests have indicated.

After entering the room, the doctor explains to the patient that the biopsy confirms cancer in the prostate, but the good news is, “We found it early.”

To which the patient asks, “What are we going to do … as far as a treatment for the cancer?”

In response to the patient’s question, the doctor explains, “At this point in time, I suggest that we do nothing.”

Some recent studies have shown that a patient with certain types of prostate cancer may actually die from something else first.

To which the shocked patient replies, “Who funded the cancer do-nothing studies, the health insurance providers?”


A simplistic definition of cancer might be: When our body’s cells react to either exterior forces which have been taken into our bodies, or our bodies’ own genetic dictates.

This reaction causes the body’s normal cells to become abnormal rogue forces, which seek to replicate themselves, and overpower adjoining healthy cells.

The resulting mass of abnormal cells disrupts the normal function of our bodies integral systems, causing sickness or death.

Could this mass of rogue cancer cells also be compared to those residents in our nation who have banned together seeking to disrupt normal functions of our culture, which they perceive as not being in their best interests?

These disruptive forces arouse a deeply and evenly divided nation whose polarizing actions give energy to a dysfunctional government.

Where the waring forces of a divided government dig us deeper into the mire of gridlock, while disrupting other vital government functions?


Some readers may have a problem at times understanding my use of analogy with what I feel are comparable issues.

Although, even the governor of New York State was quoted as using the word “cancer” to describe growing hatred in America after attacks on Jewish people.

Unfortunately, there are a number of issues that divide our nation without a unified response from a significant number of our citizens.

Some of these issues will be at the heart of the 2020 political campaigns: Abortion; gun rights; gay rights; immigration policies; environmental concerns; health care for all; military spending and deployments; taxes; entitlement programs; Social Security; race relations; religious freedoms and a mounting federal deficit.

Any of these issues in themselves are going to be tough to resolve among the divided factions.

Knowing that there is strength in numbers, various divided factions have put aside their differences for now, coming together as a super alliance.

Forming what we know as the politically Left blue cells vs. the politically Right red cells.

Each cell type and their aligning culture seek to overtake and destroy the cultural influence of their adversary.

What we will end up with in a winner-take-all political scenario are executive dictates, railroad jobs and indifference to minorities and their issues.

The losing alliance clamors for scraps and plots their next move to destroy the creditability of their sworn enemy.

Are both those on the Left and Right guilty of destructive and disruptive practices, without regard for the health of the whole?


Cancer’s effects on the body are rated with the use of the term “stage” to define its invasiveness.

Those individuals who have been diagnosed with stage four cancer are often told to get their affairs in order because of possible imminent death.

I challenge each of my readers to look at our current political crisis in Washington D.C. and put party affiliation aside for a moment.

Then rate our government based on what state of cancerous gridlock you think our nation is now in and offer some objective ideas and solutions toward at least some compromise. Or, has the cancer spread among us, the general public, to the point where we as supposedly concerned citizens stand on the sideline rooting for our favorite cancer to win!


Ralph Dotterer Jr. is a lifelong Nittany Valley farmer, hayseed philosopher and barnyard artist whose roots in the same soil go back almost 200 years.


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