Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We, the People

Generally, the scientific community has been thrilled with President Obama and his appointments to positions related to science. Many were equally overjoyed at the specific nod to science, technology, and health in his inaugural address.*
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.
Having an administration that respects science and research is certainly a breath of fresh air. However, of all the words in the above passage, the one with the most power is "we". It would be unfair to place the burden of restoring scientific prosperity on the shoulders of a single politician, which is why advocacy is more important than ever.

Science policy - public policy that directly relates to the field of science - will be in many pieces of the 111th Congress' legislation. We must work, as a community, to encourage our elected officials to remember the value of science to our health, our economy, our role in the world, our future.

What will you be doing?

*A couple good discussions on the "rightful place of science" for you to check out include Ed Yong's piece on his blog Not Exactly Rocket Science, an essay by David Overbye in the New York Times and the clip below from Monday's The Colbert Report starring The Intersection's Chris Mooney.

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