There are numerous global tragedies and fallouts from the Covid-19 pandemic. The most tragic pertaining to science and technology is the perception that science is not to be trusted. Public confidence in science has trended downward and that can be plainly attributed to its direct linkage to politicians and the media, as well as science figures who have taken this time to pursue their own agendas.
Another real-world example of the dangers of polluting science with partisan politics is the original Build Back Better plan. Build Back Better was a part of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and subsequently endorsed by the United Nations, long before being tied to a political agenda and presidential election. In a nonpartisan world, this version of Build Back Better should yield 100% support from our political leaders. The basic concept surrounds rebuilding communities and properties with the most recent and robust specifications after a disaster. This practice is essential to building resilient communities, especially with an ever-changing climate and natural disasters causing so much damage in terms of lives lost and economic burden.
Build Back Better should have been introduced in a bipartisan fashion and focused on its intended core philosophy and passed through our government. Instead, a profusion of unrelated programs was lumped into the bill. The bill also focused on unjustified and costly demolition and rebuild processes, in lieu of the original build back better if a disaster damages or destroys the property. It is this type of political malpractice that turns great science and technology policy that would benefit our nation as whole into failed bills that would be detrimental to our health, wellbeing, and solvency as a country. Once the trust is lost, it is almost impossible to get it back…
To rebuild the trust between the national science and technology community and our citizen’s, there is an immediate need to break the perceived collusion between science and technology representatives and politicians and the media. Science and technology should be a stand-alone federal department/division and completely bipartisan politically. To further function as a separate entity, the science and technology department should have a public relations spokesperson who communicates its activities directly from the scientific leaders and their perspectives without bias.
The leader of the science and technology federal department should be reputable within the scientific community and not a position that is subject to the volatility of administration changes and political agendas. The head of this division should be someone who confirms or rejects the scientific validity of an administration’s agenda through real science and research and not someone who is hand-picked, and goes through the political appointment process, only to be a partisan science czar.
We live in a time where our confidence in politicians and the media are at continuously historic lows. The national and global population has started to associate and view the science and technology field and its spokespeople in a comparable way. It is time to separate science and technology from political and mainstream media agendas.