Politics has been called war without the killing; a process in which people with very different notions of the common good, the best way forward–even how winners should be identified and rewarded and losers punished–clash without bloodshed.
Throughout history, we’ve become accustomed to the passions that ideological combatants have brought to our political “wars.”
These days, however, politics isn’t really about that clash of ideas and passions. It’s about power and privilege, increasingly dismissive of ideas and political philosophies.
Even a blind person can see that Donald Trump and the Republicans who control Congress are utterly indifferent to policy except to the extent those policies operate to keep them in office. Trump, especially, is often called out for lacking even rudimentary knowledge of–or interest in–the legislation he supports. He is utterly indifferent to the contents of that legislation; his only goal is “winning,” which he evidently defines as getting good press.
This approach to governing isn’t only dishonest; it’s very bad for morale. There is nothing more disheartening than putting your heart and soul into a cause and finding that your employer is totally indifferent to it.
Citing Donald Trump’s ongoing quest to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act, his refusal to meet with HIV/AIDS advocates during the primary, and his general “lack of understanding and concern,” six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, established by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago, have resigned. Former council member and Lambda Legal lawyer Scott Schoettes writes in the group’s resignation letter:
“As advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care.
The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and—most concerning—pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease.”
Scientists who have devoted their careers to understanding and fighting climate change didn’t resign from the EPA–they were terminated by administrators indifferent to the consequences of environmental degradation.
The agency quietly forced out some members of the Board of Scientific Counselors just weeks after leaders told them their tenure would be renewed, said Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University and one of those dismissed.
The board is tasked with reviewing the work of EPA scientists and provides feedback that can be a powerful voice in shaping the agency’s future research. The cuts “just came out of nowhere,” Richardson said.
“The role that science has played in the agency in the past, this step is a significant step in a different direction,” he said today. “Anecdotally, based on what we know about the administrator, I think it will be science that will appear to be friendlier to industry, the fossil fuel industry, the chemical industry, and I think it will be science that marginalizes climate change science.”
And of course, the news has been full of the indifference–and hostility– with which the Administration and Congressional Republicans have responded to the CBO analysis of their “health” bill, including predictions that it’s vicious cuts would be responsible for 208,500 preventable deaths by 2026.
Indifferent to human suffering, indifferent to facts, evidence, science, indifferent to world opinion….but not to criticism from cable news personalities.
How far “leadership” has fallen.