They walk among us, these people who base their whole lives on fear. Fear of The Other, fear of new ideas, fear of history, fear of books. Yes, books. Books that might present an idea that goes against their beliefs. They rarely read these books out of fear they might have their beliefs challenged. They don't read them, and they don't want anyone else to read them either. So they organize with like-minded people. And these groups of people with their fear-based existence want to ban books. They call themselves crusaders, protectors. They are far from being that.
Read the news. Book banning is on the rise in several states and it is one of many threats to our democracy. These crusaders attempt to remove and ban books from our schools, our libraries. They want to remove any book that makes them uncomfortable or otherwise offend. They are indiscriminate in their hatred, their fear. As much as I avoid comparing these people to Nazis, banning books is right out of the playbook.
It wasn't just Nazi Germany. The American government has also attempted to ban books. During the McCarthy Era and the Red Scare, any book that was viewed as Communist was banned and, yes, burned. And it's happening again in these modern times. The whole idea of banning books, whatever the justification, must be resisted and fought against.
The newest group of thought police is the ridiculously named "Moms for Liberty." They are on a rampant tear to ban books they feel need to be removed from schools and libraries. These include Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and ironically, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. And would you believe this narrow-minded group of zealots also want to ban...get this...the poet Amanda Gorman's The Hill We Climb!
This is an ugly trend that needs to be actively fought against. It signals the ongoing rise of anti-intellectualism and Christian Nationalism. As William Burroughs stated in his "Thanksgiving Day Prayer," we are quickly becoming a "country where no one is allowed to mind their own business."
The solution? Speak your mind and speak it loudly. Fight against the book bans by counter protesting. If your library is the target of such groups and Moms for Liberty, write letters to your local government and the library Board of Directors. Speak out. Speak out while you still have the chance.
And of course, read whatever you want to. Let your children read what they want and take time out to talk to them when they have questions. Don't thwart their curiosity and eagerness to learn. It is them the future relies on. That future must be the freedom to read!
For the list of books banned by Moms for Liberty click here.