How does one erase the use of words? How does one deny or negate the existence of words that are already in circulation – already part of our language? And anyway these aren’t just words – these words have meaning. And these meanings are clearly powerful enough to destabilize those in power.
Who bans words?! Will we ban books? Will we burn them next? Will we deny children the right to learn – starting first with the girl-child, of course. [Women who read are dangerous, they say! You’ve been warned!]
In today’s Onion-esque news, the US administration, in its infinite wisdom, has provided the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a list of forbidden words. Yes, forbidden!
CDC, you’ll have to rinse your mouth with soap and go to bed without dessert. No forbidden words at this table, do you hear me?!
This means that the nation’s public health entity is actively denied from using RELEVANT PUBLIC HEALTH WORDS in any of their official documents for next year’s budget. So we’re starting 2018 wearing an even-heavier shroud of ignorance than we did the year before. Bravo.
Planned Parenthood – an organization I proudly support – says: It’s clearer than ever: this administration has disdained women’s health, LGBTQ people, and science since day one.
Gosh, we’re dying to know what these naughty words are! Let’s have a little chat about what each of these words mean, and why they clearly piss of our orange-crusted imbecile so much.
Vulnerable. Yup – we are no longer allowed to highlight those people who may be at particular risk or unsafe. Guess who many of “those people” are?! Women. Girls. LGBTQ people. Anyone who does not look/act/think like a white.western.wealthy.womanizer.
Entitlement. Extending from the above, we can’t say that anyone has any particular rights to stuff. Nope, we’re not entitled to anything. I have to wonder, however, if this also applies to those in power – are they still entitled, or is it just those who already have little who are no longer entitled to scraps?
Diversity. Here, friends, we are actively denying the different people and their different needs. Everyone gets a Happy Meal and that’s that.
Transgender. Now we’re getting to the stuff that really pisses them off! This is a continuation of the political project to actively deny the existence of anyone of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities. And actively deny their health needs. And therefore increase their vulnerabilities. [Did I just use 3 forbidden words all at once?!]
Fetus. Rather than fetus, let’s just tell the story of storks delivering babies. It’s far less “morally challenging”. Let’s not dare talk about a fetus who happens to exist within a human woman (remember those?!) who – ideally – should have the right to decide what happens to her own body. Sigh.
Evidence-based. Well, because, why base anything on evidence and science when you can build your arguments on dogma?!
Science-based. Because science and religion aren’t comfy bedfellows. And we’ve lost our way – science has clearly led us astray!
So, imagine you’re sitting there at the CDC meeting where you’re told to NOT use the words that are the very foundation of your work on public health. Damn. So very sweet of the administration, though, to provide clever little alternatives. For instance, instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes”.
Which community?! What standards?! And wishes… geez! I wish for a million marshmallows and a private jet.
CDC, my strong and sane friends, we built our arguments around RIGHTS and NEEDS and all those other critical things we’ve spent decades arguing for. I am so sad for you today – and for us all. It’s a funeral for words. And for sanity.
I’m waiting for other words to be banned as well – stuff like equality and consent. We’re not far off.
From today onward, I’m going to:
1. Use each of these at least once a day
2. Include them in any official reports and research
3. Cram them kindly down the throats of those who don’t know what they mean
4. Use them all in one sentence.
[Ok – forget #4.]
Fasten your seatbelts because Trump is taking us back to the dark ages.