By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Each week I swear that I will write something other than about Donald Trump. I cannot keep to that promise consistently, particularly when certain events unfold. This week is a prime example.
The Washington Post published a story on September 8th that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backed Trump over its own scientists when Trump—incorrectly—stated and restated that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama. Worse, the NOAA allegedly insisted that its staff stand by the President regardless of the inaccuracies he articulated. This all happened after the National Weather Service contradicted Trump.
The evolution of this story started as near comedy. Trump, not known as a meteorologist, informed the public that Hurricane Dorian would be hitting the state of Alabama, among other places. Even when it was clear that this would not happen, he and his clique stood firm. Thus, what began as a simple error, became an international embarrassment. But now it is much more.
There have been repeated stories of the repression of science under this administration. Scientists have been informed not to use this word or that word. The suppression of scientific exploration and publication of new research on climate change. This is all being done under the cover of night. But now we have a story where it is quite public that this administration not only wants to dictate reality, but it wishes to suppress those who contradict them, irrespective of the truth.
The obvious question is where does this end? There is no outcry from Republicans in Congress about this. I found myself thinking about what a scenario might have looked like had then President Obama told the NOAA that it was to support misinformation that he provided. Well, I think that you know what would have happened. But in the current situation, such idiocy is being tolerated by those in Congress.
This is not a situation to take lightly. There is no Grand Canyon between the suppression of science and the suppression of other ideas. If you happen to live in a district represented by Republicans, you might want to ask them why they don’t speak up.
In the meantime, just a reminder of what is at stake in 2020. A president who wishes to suppress reality is a president who will stop at nothing to get their own way. It reminds me of an episode starring Billy Mumy from the original Twilight Zone (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734580/) but we’ll save that for another column…
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum and the executive editor of www.globalafricanworker.com.