“Houston, we have a problem.” The White House is Apollo 13, and we’re in trouble.
The Trump Administration is flipping switches and pushing buttons as fast as it can to halt climate science. Meanwhile, the White House spacecraft careens toward Earth in a spiral that could shatter the U.S. Constitution on impact.
The gravity of this is not lost on NASA.
On January 25th, @RogueNASA was the third government agency to join the rogue ranks. On the same day, it tweeted:
“We cannot allow Mr. Trump to silence the scientific community. We need peer-reviewed, evidence-based research MORE THAN EVER now.”
The public has responded with over 867,000 @RogueNASA followers.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the rogue movement as a whole is that we, as Americans, are responding to it. We recognize something has gone horribly wrong in Washington, D.C., and that we need to correct the course of the Trump Administration, even if we aren’t sure how.
Some journalists have questioned the authenticity of these rogue Twitter accounts, and with good reason. Literally anybody can make up a rogue government agency account and start tweeting.
The imagination can easily run wild with possible scenarios, the next one even wilder than the last. The litmus test may be as simple as observing that, before the Trump Administration issued its directive intended to silence climate science, there were no rogue government agency Twitter accounts.
After the directive was issued, several of those Twitter accounts suddenly appeared. While some of the rogue accounts may have nothing to do with the agencies they appear to represent, a little critical thinking can help discern the authentic rogue accounts. If @RogueNASA is tweeting links to its own content and maintains a clear focus, it’s probably the real deal.
If, however, another rogue NASA account were tweeting some scientific links, then went off on some conspiracy theory tangent, then it’s probably an account that has nothing to do with the real NASA.
The fact that so many agencies have created rogue accounts should serve as warning that far more than climate science is at stake. While attempting to halt muzzle climate science, the Trump Administration may also be testing the constitutional waters to see just how far it can go without being stopped.
If the Trump Administration succeeds at censoring scientific data, it will set a precedent that allows the censoring of any person or organization the Administration perceives as a threat, whether real or imagined.
Such a precedent would effectively strip us of our First Amendment rights to free speech. Losing our ability to speak freely would have a devastating impact not only on science, but social discourse on important issues while outlawing dissent altogether.
The government employees who are resisting the attempts by the Trump Administration to silence them deserve to be applauded. They are risking their jobs to uphold not just climate science, but democracy and the Constitution upon which it is based. May we collectively find a way to steer the White House back on course and preserve the freedoms guaranteed by Constitution and its amendments.