"Everything that wasn't invented by God is invented by an engineer" --Prince Phillip
Good morning my friends! As my grandfather used to say, its a beautiful day for ducks here in Alabama--cloudy with a chance of life-threatening tornadoes. As I do every morning, the first thing that I do when I wake up is hit my snooze button, try and sleep for 20 more minutes, and then check my notifications on my phone. As always, after I had responded to what needed to be responded to, I began to look at the headlines of the day. Of course, I noticed that Prince Phillip had passed away last night after 73 years as Queen Elizabeth's husband, and the somewhat-disturbing headline about the production issues plaguing the rollout of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. But today, we are not focusing on that: today, we're focusing on the emails.
When I say emails, I don't mean Hillary Clinton's emails. No, I'm referring to the emails that political appointees of the Trump Administration sent celebrating their interference with CDC reports about the coronavirus. Now, this encroachment on the part of, may I repeat, political appointees, many of whom never even worked in public health before they joined the administration, is not only shocking, but its indicative of another issue that is quietly become more and more common: political values usurping the role of science in our society. Even the smallest of changes to appease a politician can eventually have cascading effects. Politicians know that impartial bodies--such as the CDC--have more credibility and therefore more sway over Americans than they do. Because of that, they will punch and kick just to get the smallest of languages changed if they think it will help them in the long run, at the eventual expense of the very people they are supposed to represent. We've seen it in climate change denial, the anti-vaccine movement, and now with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As morbid as it sounds, politicians denying or presenting 'alternative facts' to science has very real and deadly consequences. According to a study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences, between 4,244 and 12,202 people died in the United States due to former President Donald Trump's repeated downplaying of both the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the important of masks to prevent infection. This is only one example of how damaging this anti-science movement is.
It is the responsibility of American citizens to hold our elected officials accountable for their words and actions. By allowing ourselves to blindly follow those in power, we become nothing more than a number in the eyes of those in power. In being critical of those in Washington, we prevent our government from becoming more corrupt than it already is. It is important that we do not raise these people on false pedestals, for they are not the real power in America, we are.