It being the year 2016 and all, it’s hard to believe that a simple statement about trusting science was the most controversial line in Hillary Clinton’s nomination acceptance speech last night.
She slid it in between tearing through tax breaks for the wealthy and immigration reform: “I believe in science.” She punctuated it with a chuckle while the audience roared its support. “I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.” She knew how radical that statement, in that context, would be. She had to laugh quietly to herself because the reaction was so startlingly positive. Watching at home, I gasped.
It’s even harder to imagine that those four words could make the difference in being with her or against her, especially when the other option is a psychotic babyman waging war on intellectualism and desperately in need of a nap. The man who can be baited into a beef at the slightest provocation had to fire up the Tweetstorm machine:
Trump’s scary sidekick Mike Pence also lives in a parallel universe where everyone chainsmokes Marlboro Reds until they die peacefully at 105.
If Clinton believes in science, it’s hard to say what exactly Trump believes in. From an April essay published in Nature:
“My scientist colleagues are really scared,” Ehab Abouheif, a developmental biologist at McGill University in Montreal, told Nature.
America’s Coolest Science Teacher Bill Nye is worried, too. But not THAT worried, because math. He wonders aloud how anyone without the votes of young people — a millennial generation that’s highly concerned about climate change — could hope to win the presidency. With 20 percent of the population in this age bracket, probably not.
It might be new to DNC podium, but last night’s pro-science declaration isn’t new to Clinton. She’s promised to raise funding for research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation. Again, Trump thinks the NIH is a joke.
Clinton says she wrote to NASA when she was 14 asking how to become an astronaut, and that they replied that they don’t accept astronaut applications from girls. That was 1961, when Alan Shepard became the first man in space. Sally Ride wouldn’t fly for another 22 years.
Trump doesn’t believe NASA’s done much of anything since Obama took office:
Since 2009, we’ve seen Pluto, Jupiter, and Enceladus like never before, sent a man to space for a record-breaking year, developed technologies that could help us live on Mars, and extended the International Space Station operation through 2024. And those are just some of the most recent highlights. NASA is kicking ass at public engagement, even if Trump’s out there crushing little kids’ dreams about the status of the space agency.
HRC’s known for making statements that should be received with a unanimous “duh, of course” but instead are grappled over for years. We’re still arguing about how to be deal with her first “women’s rights are human rights” statement, more than 20 years later. We’ll probably be talking about her “I believe in science” moment — if we aren’t underwater or destroyed by unstoppable wildfires and droughts — for decades to come.
Clinton wrapped up her nomination acceptance speech without another direct mention of science, but I was still thinking about those four words.
Then they brought out the man in the fancy scarf, who attempted to petition a higher deity over a sea of people playing with balloons.
[H/T: Sahil Lavingia]