Years ago a friend of mine engaged me in a conversation about politics and I didn’t really have anything to add. He asked me why I wasn’t keeping up with things in the world and I responded by reminding him I’m a “science guy.” There’s only so much time I can commit to things each day and US politics doesn’t really affect me – it’s a “separate subject.” Over the years I began to realize that not only was the media misrepresenting and misunderstanding science, but so were elected government officials. One reason for these missteps was simply because so few scientists are actually in government. I made note of this in my mind, but moved on with my work.
When the 2013 US budget sequestration hit, it became very apparent that government can have massive effects on science, health & medicine. Grant funding for research dried up, senior faculty around the country had to retire early and young investigators couldn’t get jobs because colleges, universities and medical institutions went on a hiring freeze. Still, the takehome for me was that government was very important to research funding and I left it at that. Over the course of the past 5 years, though, we have see science, health and medicine feature prominently in the political arena. Laws concerning food safety, taxation of sugary drinks, genetic manipulation of produce, and health effects of natural gas mining are just some examples. The world is growing and issues are starting to hit closer to home.
The results of this year’s national election, which resulted in both a Republican President and Republican-controlled congress, shocked a large portion of the nation and will likely result in major policy changes towards areas such as medical care and environmental health/safety. It is my experience that whenever one is shocked by an outcome, it indicates a lack of awareness. Americans are now realizing that they were “asleep” with respect to the interests, priorities, and values of a great many other Americans. I realized I was too and I decided I needed to do more.
Aside from being more engaged locally, I realized that through Science for Fitness I can reach a wider audience. The results of the most recent election offer a number of arenas where Americans need to stay vigilant and work to affect change, but Health & Medicine are the areas that I will address through the reach of Science for Fitness. As always, my primary goal is to educate and increase awareness. In order for us to affect change or prevent unwanted change, we all must be aware of issues coming to the forefront.
Below is a summary of what you can expect from me going forward.
On Key Matters Pertaining to Health & Medicine:
1) I will give updates and information regarding government investigations, referendums, court rulings, laws, etc.
2) I will give reminders as election seasons approach and highlight key ballot measures across the country.
3) I will not tell my readers/followers how they should vote.
#3 is important. I try and minimize subjectivity as much as possible through Science for Fitness and these additions will be no different. Some may say that in the political arena I should advocate my particular opinion, but that really isn’t what this site is about. Ultimately, a voter’s decision will be based on the sum total of issues that are most important to them. Engaging them in that discussion detracts from my mission to educate.