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Get Your Hate Away From My Book

People Who Burn Books Are Committing Arson

A teacher in Texas has been fired for presenting to the class a graphic version of Anne Frank's Diary. So the Nazis weren't the problem but a young woman trying to make sense of the world needs to be banned. Educators and librarians are being bullied and threatened and fired for the "crime" of actually doing their job. Too many people are coming forward and using their ignorance and hate to set forth the reading lists for classes and public libraries. Always by massive elimination. Here is a short reminder as to how libraries work. They offer a wide range of material which has now extended into digital offerings. To help the public better navigate, there are categories denoting different age levels, genres and subjects. It is a personal decision as to what you and your children wish to check out and take home. Or stay there and read. The librarian can provide expertise and advice but never threatens people and dictates their choices. Which is exactly what citizens and heavily funded groups are now doing. Learning means being exposed to a wide range of ideas and gaining the intellectual heft to determine personal preferences and a belief system. To be educated is to hone one's mind, to study a vast universe of ideas and stories and reject those which are antithetical to personal conscience. Or in terms of reading for pleasure, books that one enjoys. Perhaps for some, whatever challenges them. If people, due to geography or circumstance, are insular, books and other media are ways to expand understanding of the profound diversity that exists in the world. Banning books will not eradicate history or people that some folks don't like or respect.

Or understand. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana It has been said that history is written by the victors. But even through that lens, future generations can discern misjustice and the breakdown of humanity. There are far too many examples to cite currently, but as to one specifically: whitewashing slavery is not the answer. It was not a system that provided free room and board to happy folks while they learned agricultural skills. And students, in their connection to others, can recognize crimes and injustices while not being hopelessly guilt ridden as too many have falsely stated would occur. People aren't perfect and thus the societies and governments that are created have many fault lines. Only by reading and learning and critically thinking, can the Leviathan better serve all. Books are powerful and can provide influence and insight. But they are not a magic potion. Education is not hocus pocus. Learning about the Manifest Destiny movement does not make anyone become Native American. Or a ruthless settler. Studying various branches of science does not turn the pupil into a plant or insect or chemical or like cursed princes, a frog. In too many states, reading and books and curriculum are under siege. Polling has revealed that over 70% of people throughout the political spectrum oppose banning books and over 90% have confidence in librarians. 66% believe that teachers should control what they teach and even more people contend that our educators are underpaid and undervalued. Censorship is dangerous. It is one dimensional and authoritative and frankly, wrong. This country needs to raise generations who are hardy and smart and can discriminate in regard to ideas not people. It is much easier to control a scared and poorly educated populace. Why not mock science instead of finding ways to offset the damage to our planet. Tell fables of how wealth equals greatness instead of showing the underbelly of poverty and thus the need for providing policies that benefit all citizens. Keep everyone distracted from species extinction and poisons in our food and water, the inequities now inherent in society in addition to a host of so many other unpleasant, thought provoking scenarios.

Or ones that demand fundamental change from all levels of government. If one reads history it is clear that restricting thought and learning and ideas is the precursor to terrible and authoritarian, anti democratic regimes. Both polling and heuristic insight clearly demonstrate that an overwhelming majority do not want censorship or professional educators harassed. Schools should not be subjected to the whims and hate of heavily funded, small-minded groups who come barrelling into communities causing chaos and division. What is a safe, easy way to join with activists and organizations throughout the country fighting for a long list of vital issues? Support your local communities six days each week. Shop at small neighborhood stores. Find places with underrepresented merchants or artists or small farmers with fresh products. And then, Don't Shop on Tuesday. Perhaps read a book instead. Together, each Tuesday, we show our collective power to fight censorship and a host of other problems about which everyone should be reading.

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