16. He has devalued science in dangerous ways
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases! The foregoing was tweeted by DT in March 2014, long before he announced his first run for the White House. Although it is no more nonsensical than various other tweets he posted in his pre-presidential years, such as the ones accusing President Obama of falsifying his birth certificate, it provided an early warning that once he assumed office he wouldn’t let science stand in the way of his agenda. In fact, he’s been hostile to science and scientists in a way that no other president can even begin to match.
Since taking office, he has dropped his dangerous opposition to vaccines (presumably because it was no longer proving useful to him politically). On numerous other topics, however, he has continued to disrespect scientific findings and the people who develop them. His appointees have followed his example, leading to an unprecedented rejection of scientific principles across the entire executive branch of our government.
At EPA, a science-based approach to regulation quickly gave way to an approach that simply discarded science and gave corporate industry whatever it wanted. The effects of this transformation on a previously valuable agency will be felt for years as increased air and water pollution harms individuals and communities across the country. Similar changes took place at nearly all cabinet-level agencies—including Interior, State, and Education—as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Even NASA wasn’t exempt from DT’s war on science.
Science is important to humanity because it provides a the only framework available to us for understanding the world independently of cultural biases, such as those arising from religious beliefs and political ideologies. Scientific methodology is the same the world over. Sometimes it results in findings that interfere with preconceived notions of how we think the world should be, but that’s actually one of its most beneficial attributes. It allows us to adjust our views to reality and reformulate our plans to enhance our position and create safeguards for our future security. When we dispense with science because we find it inconvenient, we hinder our ability to adapt in myriad ways that would protect and enrich our lives.
Reality remains the same whether we accept it or not, and it may be that science will always triumph in the end, but the more we demean science, the harder it will be for us. For instance, the steps that we’ve been avoiding taking over the past three decades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions mean that the steps we now need to take are far more onerous. By the same token, our reluctance to extend health coverage to all Americans has resulted in a system that not only allows a large number of people to die unnecessarily but also is needlessly complex and expensive. Now, seven months into the pandemic, we’re seeing the results of our failure to mask up and lock down: an economy in tatters with no relief in sight, while new infections increase exponentially. These are failures of society, but they are also failures brought about or exacerbated by DT’s failure to make evidence-based policy decisions. And that failure, in turn, is a direct result of his war on science.
Willful ignorance: take it or leave it
The United States has long had its share of citizens who are deeply ignorant and proud of it. DT is not the first president to take advantage of that cohort, but the stakes are so much higher now than they used to be. In the short term, the pandemic must be dealt with, effectively and soon, or we will find ourselves with half a million dead Americans and a crushing economic catastrophe that makes the Great Depression look like a happy interval. The climate crisis also has to be addressed in a meaningful way very soon, or the result will be global social upheaval on a scale never before seen since records first were kept. In the meantime, the threat of war never goes away, and we and our adversaries have enough nukes on hand to end life as we know it on planet Earth.
By rejecting DT’s selfish desire for a second term, American voters will send a strong message to the world that this nation respects science and is ready to lead the way in finding solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems. If the election goes down another way, we will be leading the way down a very different path—the path to wrack and ruin.