Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor: 

The entire political situation and, indeed, the entire nation seem to be headed on an unusual or frightening path, depending on your level of paranoia.  

It is commonplace to speak of the deepening division between Republicans and Democrats, but the division is due to much more profound causes than politics. 

A couple of weeks ago, Trump claimed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was dominated by a “deep state” who was out to ensure that Biden won. 

A Trump-appointed spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with no medical background, claimed that the CDC was guilty of “sedition” for correcting Trump’s statements about COVID-19. 

Of course, there were the flat out lies about COVID-19 being a hoax, which were believed by his supporters despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Let’s not forget Trump’s supporters' claims about climate change - “It’ll get cooler, you watch.” 

The interesting thing is that most Republicans are silent on all this; they seem to believe in, or at least support, the conspiracy theories. They have certainly not spoken out against the Qanon conspiracy theories about liberals supporting child trafficking, devil-worshipping, and the like. 

It is getting so bad that for the first time in its 175-year history, internationally respected Scientific American had to make a political endorsement - in favor of Joe Biden - due to Trump’s “well-documented rejection of science, from climate change to the coronavirus, which has cost tens of thousands of Americans their lives.” 

What it boils down to is who to believe: people with no scientific or medical background and have never worked in any scientific field, or endeavor, or the people who invented 4G internet speeds, landed exploratory vehicles on Mars, and developed life-prolonging cancer treatments.  

A majority of Republicans claim, without scientific backgrounds, to know who is right. 

Not all Republicans are climate deniers, but almost all the climate deniers are Republicans; ditto with believers in conspiracy theories. 

This is the true division - most Republicans reject the science and scientists while emphasizing acceptance and belief while most Democrats accept the conclusions and recommendations of science emphasizing facts, education, and critical thinking. 

This is not merely in medicine and climate change. Most Republicans believe that the economy does better under Republican presidents than under Democratic presidents, yet economists have pointed out that precisely the opposite has been true for the last 100 years.  

In fact, Trump’s alma mater, the Wharton School, concluded that Biden’s economic plan will lead to more growth than Trump’s, although, the study remarked, that it is hard to compare the two plans because Trump hasn’t made sufficient proposals to make a conclusion. 

They are only a couple of the major differences that separate left and right, Democrats and Republicans, today but they are profound ones. The point is that it isn’t so much a matter of politics that divides us; it is more a mindset, critical thinking, and education. 

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