Some people say “You can’t fix stupid.” Well, you can. You can educate yourself, challenge yourself to think critically, and, most importantly, read. Of course there are people, a lot of them politicians, who’d like you to stay stupid which is why they support banning books. Take Tennessee’s governor Bill Lee, who loves the poorly educated which is why he’s pushing to lower education standards and is in favor of banning books. Of course Governor Lee was born into a wealthy family and, while he could have chosen to work, he’s been able to afford to be lazy and stupid his entire life. Earlier this year he called for “a new law that will ensure parents know what materials are available to students in their libraries”. Since Governor Lee isn’t interested in libraries he doesn’t realize there’s already a way to find out what materials libraries make available: it’s called a library catalog.
A Tennessee school board also made headlines earlier this year when they banned Maus, the graphic novel about the Holocaust by Art Spiegelman. School board officials complained about the book’s “disturbing imagery”, although at least one admitted he hadn’t read the book, only “reviews”.
This happened at the same time Tennessee’s religious adoption law was used to deny a couple the right to adopt a child solely because they’re Jewish. That’s not an exaggeration of misrepresentation. It’s the only reason the adoption agency they went to considered them unfit to be parents.It’s also not a coincidence. Once you start banning books it’s a short step to banning people.
At least libraries in Tennessee and other states are fighting back against book bans in spite of threats from Tennessee legislators who are calling for burning books instead of reading them. I’m proud to be part of that fight. I can’t–and won’t–dictate what other people read. I can’t make anyone think critically if they don’t want to. But I choose not to let them drag me and others down with them. Some of us choose not to be stupid.