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Why do Americans politicize everything? A 20-something’s perspective

Living in this country it seems as if Americans politicize everything.

In fact, did you know that we are not supposed to be politicizing social issues? It is crucial to the U.S. government that judges, for example, are apolitical.

They shouldn’t let political ideology sway their ideas or opinions during court. It’s written in the Code of Conduct for Judges, Canon 2. It says:

“A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment.”

Real talk, do Americans politicize everything?

Obviously, we all know it’s impossible to be completely unbiased. It’s inevitable that your upbringing or your environment will affect you (thanks, psychology). Still, though if we cannot obtain true neutrality, it’s worth striving for.

So why, why did I bring this up? What’s the point, Erin? Well, because as you can see, some government entities aren’t politicized, for very good reasons.

Just like judges should try their best to not let their preconceived notions affect them, there are other government entities or social issues that perhaps should remain centralized.

Keep in mind that of course biases will always exist. It is important to navigate with that in mind rather than being blind altogether.

What are some examples of this?

Public Health

Well, the most recent example would be with the CDC. Ya know, the Center for Disease and Control.

The same guiding institution Pence referred to when stating, “we don’t want federal guidance to be a reason why schools don’t reopen.”

The CDC, like any government entity, has to play nice with politics because politicians fund that agency. Does that sound bias?

Take 1993, when the CDC did some research on firearm injuries. They deduced that there was an increased risk of homicide if the firearm was in the house.

The response was ultimately the Dickey Amendment, which stated that the CDC could not use its funding in any way to promote gun control.

This, inherently, affects the CDC’s ability to properly study and analyze these questions. It’s censoring them. The politics of the situation can be a bit difficult to navigate, especially now.

Former CDC director Tom Frieden stated in an interview with STAT,

“The key to having an effective public health agency is that it is close enough to the rest of the government for its advice to be trusted and listened to, but far enough [away] for the public to trust that it’s valid, and for 74 years the CDC has had that role…”

“It’s an extraordinary time right now that it doesn’t.”

But don’t worry, there are more examples, especially when it comes to topics today. Like…

Reproductive Health

The first time I walked into an OB/GYN’s office, for an answer to my horrible cramps that made me miss way too much school, I was told, “It could just be that you’re young.”

I’m not the only woman to hear this.

In fact, it’s increasingly common for young women to experience pain during their cycle.

A study done by Hong Ju, Mark Jones, and Gita Mishra, titled, “The Prevalence and Risk Factors of Dysmenhorrea,” (Dysmenorrhea is the diagnosis for a person with severe cramps or pain during their menstrual cycle) addressed this.

“Dysmenorrhea is considered the most common symptom of all menstrual complaints and poses a greater burden of disease than any other gynecological complaint in developing countries.”

Despite this prevalence, even bringing it up as a reason for an absence is still very much taboo.

The Environment

You had to know this one was coming of course. But even still, it ought to be said. Research-based on our environment isn’t necessarily political.

Remember the Scientific Method?

  • step 1: Ask a question.
  • step 2: Do background research.
  • step 3: Hypothesize an if-then statement.

Well, the whole idea of that, by extension is to learn more about our world.

This isn’t to say that science can’t be biased. Years of racism in the medical field will show you that, it very much can be. However, that’s not the point.

The point here is that the studying of our planet and the results from that study are just that. Results can be wrong or skewed, of course.

But consider this: The only way to consider if something is possibly skewed is to listen. 

It’s not just politics, baby

If we don’t know, we should ask.

Ultimately, if the science is wrong, if the numbers are wrong, we can try to find out why.

We won’t know if the numbers are wrong if we dismiss it as a political agenda. It’s not lost on me that I am insisting that government actions are not political. But we shouldn’t dismiss statistics or research without first attempting to understand.

In 2015, Senator Ted Cruz was appointed to head a committee in charge of NASA’s funding. The same Ted Cruz who has outright claimed that global warming is not real.

It is ever important, not as civilian duty, but for ourselves that we remain vigilant. Don’t dismiss these things. These are important extensions [of our government] and topics that affect us all.