The Muzzling Of The CDC: Seven Words Banned By Trump Officials

12/16/2017 06:25 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2017

Loathsome people are often the most predictable. No matter how angry and disillusioned we are at each egregious act and pronouncement from the Trump Administration, we’re never actually surprised. Trump and the men and women who surround him are not the most creative bunch, and they follow a particular pattern: if it will hurt the most defenseless Americans, if it will further disenfranchise the disenfranchised, if it will insult minorities, if it will destroy the environment, enrich the rich and take away from the poor, they’re onboard.

And if there’s an opportunity to attack freedom of speech, particularly by liberals defending any of the above, what could be more satisfying?

Thus, it was not so surprising that, as the Washington Post reported this week, the Trump Administration banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words in its communications. Perhaps the only surprise was that Trump hasn’t yet shut down the CDC, but that’s probably next.

The words on the list? Well they’re not surprising either. These people bathe in irony. Why, after all, should the agency charged with protecting all of us from disease and saving the lives of the most vulnerable be able to use the word “vulnerable?” That is a loaded word, one liberals use to describe people who are, say transgender, or poor, or elderly, or young and in need of government health insurance. Conservatives have neither time nor money for such Americans.

“Transgender” is another word on the banned list. Maybe if the CDC can’t say transgender, these people will just disappear. Because as we know, religious Conservatives like Vice President Mike Pence don’t believe there is room in this country for the LGBTQ community. And worst of all are those who don’t fit neatly into the gender box God assigned them at birth.

Also on the list: “fetus.” Need I say more?

If you’re wondering why some of these words would be necessary at the CDC, the Washington Post article offers some examples.

“At the CDC, several offices have responsibility for work that uses some of these terms. The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is working on ways to prevent HIV among transgender people and reduce health disparities. The CDC’s work on birth defects caused by the Zika virus includes research on the developing fetus.”

Perhaps the most telling of the banned words are “science-based” and “evidence-based.” Why would an agency filled with doctors and research scientists want to base anything on science? Why should they communicate their findings using evidence? It has become evident that science has no place in this government, not at the CDC or the EPA, and that facts and their sources have been snuffed out at the White House. And evidence, when’s the last time Donald Trump enlisted evidence to make a decision?

“Entitlement” is another word banned at the CDC. If Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have anything to say about it, so-called entitlements like Medicare and Social Security will themselves soon be banned. So why not ban the word first?

And last, the word “diversity” is no longer to be used by the CDC. The Trump Administration has no use for diversity. There is almost no diversity in the cabinet, made clear after Omarosa was fired this week. We’re sending record number of Latinos back to their countries of origin and banning Muslims from eight nations in an effort to wipe out some of that American diversity. If you’ve ever listened to a Trump surrogate opine on the subject, they will tell you that liberals dwell too much on the word. We’re all the same, we Americans, they will insist. We’re all treated equally under the law, they will argue. Our police officers treat black men and women exactly the same as white men and women.

This is truly scary stuff, the kind of edict that would raise George Orwell’s eyebrows and set him to work at his typewriter. If they’re comfortable banning words now, what comes next?

This story hasn’t gotten the kind of play it deserves because there are so many other pressing issues competing for attention in each daily news cycle. But this one is also important, and it portends a future that none of us want to think about, but one that should scare the hell out of every sane American. The CDC can play an important role by refusing to comply with these new guidelines. But know that this is part of an organized assault on the First Amendment that grows more ominous and more indicative of an authoritarian government every day that this administration is in power.

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