From the point of view of someone sitting North of the Canadian/US border, the results of this week’s US Federal election are somewhat terrifying. And honestly and truly as a Canadian and a Torontonian, I say this without a bit of smugness. Been there, done that, if not quite on the same scale.
This time around, I’m going to start a project about science in the new Donald Trump administration. I believe Trump will be terrible for science, technology, the environment and public health. And I intend to document that here. Of course, Trump won’t be terrible for science in exactly the same way that Harper was in Canada. For example, he may not target research funding in the same way. On the other hand, the environment may fare much worse and ultimately muzzling may also prove to be a problem. It’s only over the course of the next couple of years that we’ll really and truly get a sense of the implications.
But why wait until we see the share of how exactly Trump is bad for science to start keeping track?
I like what David Kipen said today in the LA Times.
If all these experiences have taught me anything, it’s that librarians may be the only first responders holding the line between America and a raging national pandemic of absolutism. More desperately than ever, we need our libraries now, and all three of their traditional pillars: 1) education, 2) good reading and 3) the convivial refuge of a place apart. In other words, libraries may be the last coal we have left to blow on.
First Responder — Information Division is a role I can live with.
Like Anil Dash says, “Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work.”
Don’t waste a single moment listening to the hand-wringing of the pundit class about Why This Happened, or people on TV talking about What This Means. The most important thing is that we focus on the work that needs to be done now. While so many have been doing what it takes to protect the marginalized and to make society more just, we must increase our urgency on those efforts, even while we grieve over this formidable defeat.
It is completely understandable, and completely human, to be depressed, demoralized or overwhelmed by the enormity of this broad embrace of hateful rhetoric and divisive policy. These are battles that have always taken decades to fight, and progress has never been smooth and steady — we’ve always faced devastating setbacks. If you need to take time to mourn, then do. But it’s imperative that we use our anger, our despair, our disbelief to fuel an intense, focused and effective campaign to protect and support the marginalized.
And it has to start now.
My small contribution is focusing on the effects the Trump administration will have on science, technology, the environment and public health. (As with my Canadian project, I consider healthcare funding models outside of my scope.)
So let’s get started. I have a few sections to this post. The first will focus on documenting what happened before November 8, 2016. What he said about science and the environment. The second section will focus on commentary in the past few days since the election. The third section will be similar, but focusing on the implications for Canada. The final section will begin documenting actual anti-science actions and policies (yay, we already have a couple!)
Wish me luck. As usual, everyone should feel free to suggest things I’ve missed, either in the comments or privately at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I’m picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.
Post-Election Commentary Related to Implications for Canada
And finally, the beginning of the tally of cuts, etc.
To repeat. This initial list is quick and very preliminary. Please let me know if there’s anything you think I should include, either in the comments or at email@example.com. I’m not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I’m picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.
I will be updating this master list as time goes by.