If anyone with friends or family members living outside of the United States, has found yourself hanging your head or hiding your face every time a news article is released about the state of our country, you are not alone.
Whether its the arguments from the 90s that refuted the fact that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of Acquired Immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the emotionally-backed belief that vaccines cause autism, or the high number of individuals that believe the earth is flat, the United States seems to lead in ignorance lately.
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
It amazes me that we live in the information age, with more information than ever at our fingertips, yet there are those that remain uninformed by choice. I am frequently irritated that those most uneducated and ill-informed are often the loudest and most obnoxious.
There is a resistance to learning and ignoring the advice of experts that may spend years studying a topic, in favor of a friend’s Twitter feed or recent Facebook post. It’s both alarming and unfortunate. There is an attack on knowledge and science, evidenced by public health professionals (like Dr. Anthony Fauci) receiving death threats amid the current pandemic.
Despite setbacks and roadblocks, it is important for experts in any given field to continue to communicate and share their knowledge with the public. There is comfort with staying in your lane and focusing on your work, which for most experts in science and technology is very rewarding and meaningful. However, America can benefit from agreeing on the truth of a matter before believing whatever is most convenient in the moment.
It’s exhausting to repeatedly hear and see ignorance run rampant in America and be an expert that knows better. I encourage all of you amazing scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals and public health professionals to keep up the fight. You are needed now more than ever.