On April the 22nd I participated in my first political rally/march. I have never considered myself a publicly political person. While I have always been willing to discuss politics either in terms of politicians, policies or even more abstractly the philosophy of government, I have never felt inclined to go out and demonstrate part of that is a deep seated discomfort with crowds and part of it is because I generally have felt that people will move in the direction of truth most of the time if given half a chance. I wasn’t even originally intending to write about going, but having read two articles on from the National Review Online and one from the Federalist decrying the event as the Left attempting to hijack science for political purposes I have resolved to set the record straight as someone there on the ground.
1) Even though it was on Earth Day, a holiday created by the evil genius Richard Nixon, whom I both respect and loathe, the point of the march was not just environmental or driven by the need to address anthropogenic climate change. Earth Day is symbolic not just of the environment but for those of us who grew up after this picture was taken:
It represents science bringing us to a new level of understanding regarding our own impact on the planet. Earth Day was created after this photo was taken and in recognition of what we were beginning to learn about human civilization on our planet.
2) The Left did not politicize science. The Right embraced and politicized anti-science policies. The Left has largely embraced science and the kooks on the left aren’t generally made into spokesperson for scientific understanding and education.
Consider the words of Paul Broun, Member of the House Science Committee
3) Even with all of that being said the current administration is packed not only with people who play fast and loose with the truth in general, but several of them have publicly declared that the scientific aspects of their respective cabinet positions are false.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry believes that atomic decay does not occur in a steady and measurable manner.
EPA chief Scott Pruitt denies that climate change is happening and actively worked for oil and coal companies as Attorney general in Oklahoma. Even going so far as to use a private email address to better coordinate with his corporate clients.
William Happer, a scientific adviser to Trump, has called the Paris Climate similar to the appeasement of Hitler.
Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, has stated an intention to increase religious education at the expense of public schools.
Director Mick Mulvaney, who drew up this administrations wish list of a budget, cuts scientific funding and education to increase funding for the military.
4) To expand on Mick Mulvaney its his budget that finally pushed a lot of people into the defense of basic science and education in this country. Amoung his list of ideal cuts:
The following would be cut completely not just reduced:
Clean Power Plan: Creates national standards for carbon pollution from power plants and helps states develop and deploy clean energy alternatives.
Institute of Museum and Library Services: Supports libraries and museums through research, policy development and grant making.
NASA’s Office of Education: Supports education in public elementary and secondary schools and informal settings, coordinates and disseminates findings of NASA research projects.
A complete listing of all the wish list of cuts and increases is can be found here.
This is what it then has come down to; a direct cutting of science and education. A books for guns mentality that some how keeping people poor and uneducated is in the best interest of our nation. That somehow the economics of the 21st century won’t be dictated by education and creativity.
But then again perhaps there is a reason for cutting education.