Thursday, December 28, 2017 1:00 am
Avoiding certain words doesn't alter reality
Back in the 1970s, George Carlin did a comedy routine about the “seven dirty words you can't say on television.”
Now another list of seven forbidden words has come to light.
The Washington Post recently reported that the Trump administration has banned the Centers for Disease Control from using the words “evidence-based,” “science-based,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “diversity,” “vulnerable” and “entitlement” in its budget documents.
The administration's motive wasn't stated, but it's hard to imagine a legitimate reason for limiting the vocabulary of a science agency. Granted, the word “entitlement” is featured in political contexts, but the other words are clearly within the scientific realm. Don't we want and expect all the policies and decisions of the CDC to be based on evidence and science? So, what's wrong with using those words?
If the Trump administration wants some other standard, aren't we all vulnerable to the costly and perhaps deadly results of policies that defy scientific knowledge?
Unfortunately for President Donald Trump and his adherents, avoiding words they don't like doesn't change reality.
US abandoned plan to handle North Korea
Among his constant barrage of fake news, President Donald Trump recently said on Mike Huckabee's TBN show, “This (North Korea) should have been handled 25 years ago.” Actually, it was handled 23 years ago. The Clinton administration, with assistance from former President Jimmy Carter, reached an agreed framework for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and allow inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Unfortunately, Congress delayed and refused to implement parts of the agreement. It held until about 2002. Then President George W. Bush, in his first State of the Union address, referred to North Korea as part of the axis of evil. For some reason, North Korea begin to doubt our assurances that we weren't trying to overthrow their government. After all, it is our country that has contributed to regime changes in places such as Iran and Central America, many of which had lawfully elected their leaders. By the end of his term, Bush was trying to negotiate an end to North Korea's program but with no success.
A total of 95 percent of the federal budget for foreign relations supports our defense department. The other 5 percent is shared by the State Department, foreign aid and the United Nations. What would happen if our leaders spent more on diplomacy and were more respectful?
We now have an agreement with Iran where we do as President Ronald Reagan suggested, “Trust, but verify.” Are we going to have a repeat of history where our leaders turn their backs on an agreement that is working in Iran? If we do, would Iran feel its only hope for survival is to acquire nuclear weapons?
As we near the year's end, we're looking forward to our tradition of sharing headlines we would like to see in the year ahead. A reader's January wish to see President Donald Trump delete his Twitter account missed the mark, but there's always next year.
We're inviting readers to submit headlines they would like to read in 2018. We'll select our favorites to share early next month. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.