We ended last time talking about how U.S. Senator Ted Cruz went after the book The Anti-Racist Baby and helped make it a best-seller, leading me to my next point…
Never Trust a Politician
Whether on the right or left, Democrat or Republican, conservative or progressive, politicians only want your money and your vote. When you see any political entity either rallying for or against books being banned, ask yourself: What’s in it for them?
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is banning LGBTQIA+ books and even some textbooks from schools across his state. Read more here:
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom sent an Instagram post of himself reading a stack of banned books at a table. Oddly, one of the books in Newsom’s stack – To Kill a Mockingbird – was banned from a school district in his own state.
In our era of aggressive political divisiveness and hyperbolic rhetoric, these two governors, Ted Cruz and others of their ilk, show that making book banning a political issue is silly, pointless, and another attempt to fundraise off of scared parents who are either afraid of books being banned or want more books banned ASAP.
The American Library Association publishes a list of The Most Challenged Books annually. I highly recommend checking out the list and reading a few of them to see why politicians and others are so appalled and oppose these works.
Here’s the link to their 2022 list:
So, the next time you see any politician talking about banning books for any reason, ask yourself their motivation. More than likely, it has nothing to do with saving the children or protecting society from bad words on a page. It’s probably all about them.
The Offended Offensive
It’s fashionable in 2024 to be offended or upset by something, and books that have content contrary to one’s personal beliefs are a great way to get riled up and cause problems for school boards and libraries.
My take is that you have the right to control what your child reads, but not what my child reads and has access to in the library. That’s not your call. By creating a blanket of being offended on behalf of everyone, you do more harm than good, causing a national uproar when you are the only one with the problem.
In 2024, with a 24/7 news cycle and social media, one person can act like they are one of the angry millions when that is probably not the case.
When you see a story about a parent or politician upset over a book in their child’s library, take a step back and find out why they are upset and demanding the ban. What perspective are they coming from? Is there an agenda behind their demands? Are they upset about the content or how it’s presented? Would you even know about this book if this person wasn’t on CNN or Fox News?
By taking the time to find out why, you’ll see that there may be religious or political reasons why this person is offended or upset. They have the right to be upset and offended, but that shouldn’t give them the power to ban a book.
Author Salman Rushdie was attacked and stabbed during a talk in 2022.
He made headlines and created controversy in 1989 when he published The Satanic Verses and a fatwa was placed on his head by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran.
According to The New York Times, the Ayatollah ordered “Muslims to kill Mr. Rushdie and [put] a price on his head of several million dollars. Mr. Rushdie, who lived in London at the time, immediately went into hiding with 24-hour protection from the British police, moving every three days from place to place until a fortified safehouse was prepared for him. He lived there for most of the next 10 years.”
Three decades later, there are still people angry about Rushdie’s work. And now, Rushdie is in critical condition from injuries caused by an angry man with a knife.
Is this where we’re headed? Actual violence against authors who write content someone objects to or finds offensive? We have to do better than this.
Being offended is one thing, but violence, attempted murder, or taking someone’s life because you object to their writing cannot be tolerated in our society in 2024.
More on the Rushdie story here:
More about the fatwa here:
Keeping Literature Alive
If you read a lot like I do or follow authors or book channels, you’ve probably come across this slogan on mugs or shirts:
I am 100% for doing this. If someone is trying to ban a book, go out and buy it. Don’t let the mob on social media or a news story tell you what your opinion should be; read the book and make up your own mind.
Don’t fall prey to groupthink.
So, the next time you hear about a book being banned, do your research, learn about it, buy it, and fight against the powers that wish to silence authors.
Read Banned Books, and I’ll see you next time!
What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!