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Instant News. Delayed Response.


Last Friday a story emerged the CDC was banned from using certain words in its 2019 budget request to congress. While there were some words in that list that would be fair to say are more politically charged like transgender and fetus, there were also words on there that seemed to strike at the essence of the CDC's work like diversity, vulnerable and entitlement. After a tough past year as a progressive, I was suddenly more focused and ready to return to the front line. For an investigative body like the CDC to not be able to use words that directly tie to health outcomes, this was a cause worth struggling for.

But before rushing onto the field, I paused for what has almost been five days. I told myself, "the story is still developing, you should collect more information on it before you comment or define a course of action."

The story several days later is a bit more convoluted but also appears to be less of a direct overreach. The CDC's director has now commented, "I want to assure you there are no banned words at the CDC". Rather than an overreach by the government, it now appears more the agency is strategically preparing its budget for a government that is more averse to science than previous administrations and is working on how to talk about their work, without stepping on political landmines. While it upsets me they see this as necessary, I also have to admit this is in part of the posturing utilized daily in politics and business.

Two things have been reinforced for me by this instance

  1. My exact issue turned out to be less of one that it appeared initially. Giving the story time to develop was not easy but I am glad I let it develop more before jumping to a conclusion and making declarations

  2. If this issue is something that fired me up to want to take action, I need to look for others like it that are in need of more support.

Go Forth Boldly

"Science is the only news. When you scan through a newspaper or magazine, all the human interest stuff is the same old he-said-she-said, the politics and economics the same sorry cyclic dramas, the fashions a pathetic illusion of newness, and even the technology is predictable if you know the science. Human nature doesn’t change much; science does, and the change accrues, altering the world irreversibly", Stewart Brand, Long Now Foundation


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