We have been here before.
In Nazi Germany of the 1930s, Deutsche Physik swept the German science community and Einstein’s relativity was denounced as Jewish Physics and banned from the classroom and social discourse. If you think I am making a mountain out of a mole hill in worrying about president Trump’s recent edicts, you are delusional.
First he expunged all mention of climate change from the White House website, then he forced the US Forest Service to take down its climate change facts, finally he has suppressed the USDA and NIH from posting new public content, and placed a freeze on research funding pending this administration’s evaluation.
He has threatened to de-fund all of Earth Science research at NASA, and I am sure that once the new NASA administrator has been appointed by Trump, we will see changes in the public content at NASA with no mention of climate change or the annual evaluations of global warming trends. These institutions are political, top-down systems in which what the Administrator says becomes law within each institution and scientists have no real recourse to protest pull backs in what they can post online, or even whether they can get travel authorization to attend important conferences. We will soon see whether Trump forces NASA to abide by the same gag orders he is placing on other research institutions across the federal government.
We can sit back and profess caution, with the hope that clearer GOP minds in Congress will prevail, but the moral ineptitude of the GOP party in the face of Trump has been a cautionary tale these last few weeks. The calculus is already being performed behind closed doors that any source of information contradicting Trump’s delusions will be strongly restrained. It is not out of the question that entire research grant areas will vanish overnight. I even wonder about the security of our armada of Earth research satellites, which are supported by budget ‘line items’ and can be terminated by Congress even as they are taking invaluable historic data proving the case for climate change. Weather satellites, of course, will be maintained because the GOP owns lots of property across the USA whose assets need protection.
So what to do?
For one, join EVERY march you hear about whether it relates to science or not. Show your solidarity with all other organizations that are marching to protest the new policies. Even now, Scientists March on Washington is starting to organize .It went from 200 members last night to over 30,000 by morning’s light the next day! Some worry that it will be ‘hijacked’ by other causes, but the goal is to show huge participant numbers to make the evening news and to really piss off Trump. So embrace your LGBT, Women’s, and all other groups, many of whom are themselves scientists or science literate members of the public!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1862739727343189/
Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/01/24/are-scientists-going-to-march-on-washington/?utm_term=.a89504086621
UK Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/25/scientists-plan-climate-change-march-washington/
Daily KOS: http://www.dailykos.com/stories/1624864
Check back here on Monday January 30 for a new blog!
2 thoughts on “March..March..March!”
This is absolutely chilling. I am terrified by thoughts of what might actually be happening. Even growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, I never felt there was as ominous a threat to our country as there is today. Among my many fears is that some kind of violent backlash against this repressive regime will cause them to take even more draconian measures such as martial law against the citizenry.
We are going to have to protest and march on a scale that will make the Viet Nam protests look like an ice cream social.
I am sure that many people think we are all over-reacting and that inevitably our governmental institutions will put a break on any dramatic changes in how science is done in this country, but I am not as sanguine about I as other seem to be, particularly conservative folks. Creeping restrictions on scientific research, self-censorship, and outright forced embargoes ‘until further notice’ are the beginnings of a process that leads to the decline of open scientific discussion. Coupled with the current administration’s lack of respect for factual statements, I see many changes taking place in government funding of research for ‘unpopular’ topics. Only a sustained protest in the streets will keep this issue alive in the evening news, and for that we need a vigorous support of good-old-fashioned marches and public demonstrations.
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