The Hi-Times

The Hi-Times

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Banning words, banning democracy

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In late December, a report surfaced that the Trump administration banned the CDC from using a list of seven words, including “science-based”, “diversity”, and “transgender”. It was soon discovered that the Trump administration had nothing to do with the banned words and that this ban was self-imposed by officials in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
According to sources, officials didn’t want these words used in reports to the White House because they could potentially “trigger” Republicans who are currently making budget cuts.
The underlying problem in this situation is the war on science and marginalized groups by the Trump administration. This attack on science and marginalized groups has been well-documented, and now agencies tasked with protecting the most vulnerable feel as though they can’t even use the word “vulnerable” itself.
This may be due, in part, to the fact the Trump has appointed climate-change skeptics to the head of environmental agencies. Or the fact that last May, the White House announced its intention to cut $1.2 billion in funding from the CDC and $2.5 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency. These cuts are more than any other president has proposed in history, including the most recent Republican President, George W. Bush, who actually wanted to increase funding for certain agencies.
Additionally, the HHS has archived pages providing information to LGBT people, including a page detailing how they can receive help if they are the victims of sex trafficking.
Donald Trump is putting politics before the well-being of the American people, and does that even surprise anyone at this point? The CDC is researching how to protect fetuses from the Zika virus. This research is life saving, but now scientists are forced to make an effort to beat around the bush in their reports because their supervisors may become annoyed with words such as “evidence-based” and “fetus.”
The HHS isn’t the only government organization catering to Trump. EPA officials have recently stopped using the term “climate change” to describe climate change and has instead opted to use the term “climate resiliency” in order to not annoy the climate change skeptics controlling their agency.
Ask any science teacher in the world if finding “evidence” is an important step in the scientific method. How is it possible to talk about health research without using the word “evidence”?
How is it possible to talk about transgender rights without using the word “transgender”? How can an agency tasked with protecting the environment function when the appointed head of it doesn’t believe climate change is a real threat or that relevant scientific data is credible?
You can’t, which is exactly what Trump and his appointees want. And at this point, the only solution is to vote in the midterms for leaders who will hold themselves and others accountable.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Banning words, banning democracy”

  1. Jimmy Johnson on February 26th, 2018 8:17 am

    I totally agree with this. The state should have no power to control anything to do with freedom of expression. This is why people need to stop trying to ban “unpopular” opinions on campuses. They can go and cry somewhere else. The right to freedom of speech is the most important one. And ‘banning’ — to use your word — words, speech, or literature is not the way to solve problem. Even if you think it’s hateful, or it upsets you.

    Voltaire said, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Let’s all take a stand and defend this wonderful right. Even if they are Nazis, or Holocaust deniers, or bigoted liars, they too deserve to speak.

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Banning words, banning democracy