Exploring Human Potential

Nature Magazine: Trump has taken an axe to our Democracy.

Posted on | October 15, 2020 | No Comments

Mike Magee

A month ago, I catalogued the actions of the editorial boards of Scientific American and Science in their historic endorsements of Joe Biden for President.

This week Nature magazine goes one step further in expressing regret for their statement of tolerance in 2016 when they wrote, “US democracy was designed with safeguards intended to protect against excesses.” Four years later? This mea culpa: “How wrong we turned out to be.”

Their opening paragraph sets the record straight:

“No US president in recent history has so relentlessly attacked and undermined so many valuable institutions, from science agencies to the media, the courts, the Department of Justice — and even the electoral system. Trump claims to put ‘America First’. But in his response to the pandemic, Trump has put himself first, not America.”

They catalog a list of grievances. First at home:

“On the domestic front, one of this administration’s most dangerous legacies will be its shameful record of interference in health and science agencies — thus undermining public trust in the very institutions that are essential to keeping people safe.”

And around the world:

“Challenges such as ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling global warming and halting the proliferation and threat of nuclear weapons are global, and urgent. They will not be overcome without the collective efforts of the nation states and international institutions that the Trump administration has sought to undermine.”

On the pandemic:

“Trump has lied about the dangers posed by the virus and has encouraged people to protest against policies intended to slow its transmission. The result, if not the goal, has been to downplay the greatest crisis the country — and the world — has faced in at least half a century…These actions have had devastating consequences.”

On the environment:

“…under the Trump administration, the EPA has withered as its scientists have been ignored by the senior leadership. Those at the top of the agency have worked to roll back or weaken more than 80 rules and regulations controlling a spectrum of pollutants, from greenhouse gases to mercury and sulfur dioxide.

On discrimination and hatred:

“Trump has also promoted nationalism, isolationism and xenophobia — including tacitly supporting white-supremacist groups. The administration has rewritten immigration policies, beginning in 2017 with a controversial travel ban on people from seven countries, including five Muslim-majority states.

On destruction of our Democracy:

“Donald Trump has taken an axe to a system that was intended to safeguard and protect citizens when leaders go astray. He has become an icon for those who seek to sow hatred and division, not only in the United States, but in other countries, too.”

The cure:

“Joe Biden must be given an opportunity to restore trust in truth, in evidence, in science and in other institutions of democracy, heal a divided nation, and begin the urgent task of rebuilding the United States’ reputation in the world.”

I agree.


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