They Are Coming For The Books
The more and more I look at the news, the more I think Frank Turner was predicting the future with his song “1933” because this place is getting more and more authoritarian and fascist by the day.
More Calls to Ban Books
This time it is in Idaho. From the story —
For months, a group of conservative Christians have inundated the staff and board of a public library in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, with complaints about books they didn’t want to see on the shelves.
Their list of more than 400 titles predominantly focuses on young adult books with LGBTQ characters, scenes describing sexual activity or invoking the occult.
The only problem: None of the books are in the library’s collection.
Still, the activists in this town of 2,500 people wanted the books pre-emptively banned. They fumed that the library planned to join the American Library Association, a nonprofit trade organization known for fighting censorship that local activists falsely accused of “promoting pedophilia.” They started a campaign to recall four of the five library trustees over a policy against restricting access to controversial books, putting up signs around town that read: “Our Mission is to protect children from explicit materials and grooming.”
That last part is hilarious. As a member of the American Library Association, I can tell you that the organization is in no way, shape, or form “promoting pedophilia.” To even think such a thing is laughable. How deep down the right wing, Qanon, conspiracy theory rabbit hole does someone have to fall to believe this stuff?
But it gets worse.
The fervor has become so heated that the library’s director is quitting after just nine months, citing a barrage of harassment that she said made it impossible to do her job. Kimber Glidden, 51, a former bank manager turned librarian, said the stress became so bad that she developed a tic that makes her thumb quiver uncontrollably.
In Glidden’s Aug. 16 resignation announcement on Facebook, she stated that “nothing in my background could have prepared me for the political atmosphere of extremism, militant Christian fundamentalism, intimidation tactics, and threatening behavior currently being employed in the community.”
“They don’t know what comes next. They just want to burn it down, and they’re doing a good job,” Glidden told NBC News.
“We want a strongly written policy that will not allow the library to order materials with sex acts,” the group stated on Facebook this month, adding that the American Library Association “has brainwashed our libraries” into believing this is a First Amendment issue.
What? Seriously? How is this NOT a First Amendment issue? By the very “standard” that this group suggests, if this library were to adopt it as policy, then the Bible would have to be added to the banned list and removed from the shelves.
And this isn’t an isolated incident. Activists, politicians, groups, and Facebook warriors across the country are also screaming about removing books from libraries (or worse in some cases).
In August, a librarian in Louisiana was nearly fired after she spoke out against censorship. Local officials in a Texas town suggested that the public library could be evicted if it didn’t reconsider complaints about LGBTQ-themed books in its collection. And a group of conservative residents in a Michigan town successfully campaigned to deny funding to the local library after its board said it would not ban books, an effort that far-right activists on Facebook and Telegram have held up as inspiration.
This is the absolute antithesis of freedom. This is authoritarian. This is fascist. This is the kind of thing that happened in Germany once upon a time.
According to the American Library Association, attempts to censor materials in libraries and schools nationwide increased last year to 729 — more than double the typical amount of book challenges in previous years, targeting 1,597 books. More than a third of the censorship attempts in 2021 occurred at public libraries, prompting some libraries to ban Black History Month and Pride displays, while others closed due to harassment of LGBTQ employees.
The story goes on and I suggest that you read it all but I wanted to leave you with this.
“It’s wrong when one parent can dictate what information is available to an entire community, which may have the effect of denying the diversity and the variety of identities that are already living in that community,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who oversees the association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.
And While We Are On That Subject…
But Wait, There’s More…
This brilliance is from Oklahoma’s Secretary of Education.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, since Secretay Walters pulled this stunt, Summer Boismier has received vulgar messages, general harassment, and death threats. DEATH THREATS? From the story —
Just over a week after a former Norman High School English teacher resigned for HB 1775 violation claims, she is now receiving vulgar messages and death threats.
“These teachers need to be taken out and shot,” “teachers like this should not only be fired but also should be swinging from a tree,” “If Summer tried this in Afghanistan, they’d cut out her tongue for starters,” are just a minuscule fraction of the threats pouring into Summer Boismier’s inbox.
Jesus H Christ people. What are we doing here?!?
I Can’t Take Much More…
My family desperately wants to leave Oklahoma and it’s weeks like this last one that makes me want to leave as well. The crappy weather would be bearable if the politics of this state weren’t so crazy. I really don’t know what to do or if there is any sanity to find in the Sooner State.
And with that, I take my leave of you. Please stay safe, be kind, and…