You can’t erase us

Dear President Trump,

You know, sometimes it takes all day for whatever it is I’m going to write you about to percolate up to the surface and sometimes I’m at loose ends until a late story finally grabs my attention. Today it was the latter situation; when I heard about the ridiculous word ban you all imposed on the CDC I knew what to write about.

You may or may not know what the words are, but just for the record here’s the list: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” A handy, very lengthy and absurd alternative was offered for the last two concepts: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” What does that even mean? Why do you want 13 words when two will suffice? And why are you all doing this? Is it another distraction tactic?

I remember when George W. Bush was President and people conducting research on disparities affecting LGBT people were being told their research would not be funded if it was clear who and what was being studied. That was definitely a dark, scary, infuriating time and a lot of really great scientists’ careers were upended. But really, looking back on it from what we’ve got going now, it seems like it was a cakewalk. How can the word “vulnerable” be off limits? The whole idea of such limits is insane but just try finding something politically objectionable about this one: “Veterans with PTSD are particularly vulnerable to stress, which in turn puts them at risk for smoking and other health-risk behaviors.”

It’s as though the tax “reform” and your looming budget that’s aiming to whack away the social safety net aren’t going to erase diverse, vulnerable people fast enough so you are trying to erase us by banning words about us. You have to know this won’t work and will just blow up in your faces. Hopefully the CDC folks will just ignore your stupid ban and get on with their crucial work of safeguarding the citizens of this country, all of us. Hopefully we will keep finding the resolve to withstand your dizzying, relentless bombardment on decency, truth, commonsense, and our democracy. We must.

May we be safe from idiots.
May we be happy to uphold intellectual integrity.
May we be healthy enough to push back on Big Brother.
May you all pull your heads out and stop this nonsense.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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