Remember the seven words that Donald Trump banned from usage at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the country’s top public health agency? They are now being projected on the Trump Hotel in Washington.
Officials at CDC were told last week about the Trump administration’s decision to forbid the agency from using certain words — like “fetus” and “science-based” — sparking umbrage and anger at what was viewed as a high-handed form of censorship, with one former federal official going on to call the ban “stupid and Orwellian,” reports the New York Times.
In response to this, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) got together with visual artist Robin Bell to protest in quite an ingenious way. Last night, they projected the seven words including “transgender” on Trump Hotel in Washington in what was called a “declaration from the LGBT” community, according to Think Progress.
The seven words — “fetus,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based,” — were projected one by one before the final declaration: “We will not be erased.”
Images and videos of the projection were subsequently uploaded on social media and quickly went viral, with Twitter users commending the HRC for solidifying their resentment at Trump administration’s decision to ban the words.
“Our message for the Trump-Pence Administration is this: you cannot erase us. We will meet attacks on our community with a resolve to be louder and more visible than ever before,” HRC wrote on Twitter.
The reaction of most public agencies and federal officials at the decision to ban words from CDC was one of utter incredulity, with one analyst summing up his reaction to the news perfectly, saying, “Are you kidding?”
However, defenders of the ban, which include many Republicans in the Congress, have claimed that the so-called ban is not as much a ban as it is a suggestion for the agency not to use words which will arguably make it difficult to get their budget approved by a Republican Congress.
“They’re saying not to use it in your request for money because it will hurt you. It’s not about censoring what C.D.C. can say to the American public. It’s about a budget strategy to get funded,” the former federal official told the Times.
Whatever the purported reasons for the quite absurd ban may be, it is quite evident that it is heavy-handed and unprecedented. The American public agencies — and indeed the public — are not habituated to the government deciding which words not to use.
And they are definitely not going to begin getting habituated now.