An Ostrich In A Closet

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I am not a fan of banning books. There are many right wing disaffirmation books that I would like to see banned but censorship is not the way a free and functioning democracy works. We have to depend on citizens to be able to separate lies from truth – lately many are not doing a good job of that. That being said, freedom of information and a reliance on voters’ intelligence are two of the flaws in democracy, but its still the best form of government humans have been able to come up with to date.

The radical right has taken over the Republican party in the last ten plus years. I am suggesting a truth in mascots change from the elephant. The new mascot should be an ostrich inside a closet with a sand floor and the ostrich’s head firmly planted in said sand.

The radical right has of late been on a new book banning binge. They particularly want to ban books dealing with homosexuality, bisexuality, gender change, religions other than their approved forms of Christianity and non-white races. Any combination of those really terrifies them. You see the radical right is not a bunch of deep thinkers. Anything or anyone who does not conform to their definition of normal scares them. Rather than deal with it they want to put their heads under a pillow or bury them in the sand and simply deny that the “other” exists hoping it will go away.

A couple of the banned books are Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. To prove my “money is where my mouth is” I offer that I have bought both for my youngest granddaughter who currently is in middle school. Yes, there is ugliness in them; but they reflect reality which isn’t always pretty in America.

The whole LGBTQ+ thing just amazes me. There is no book that will turn a cisgender, heterosexual kid into a homosexual, bisexual or make them change their gender presentation. It is that simple. However, it may help a kid who doesn’t feel comfortable in the “normal” gender role know that while in the minority they are not alone. I will also help the “normal” kids relate to those who are the “other” and not fear them.

I remember a high school player I had who was having a difficult time dealing with the fact that his older brother was gay. I finally talked to him and said what would you rather have a brother who likes boys or one who is a mass murderer? From that day on he accepted his brother as he was. His brother was “different” but certainly not bad.

This is like the earlier (and to a degree still ongoing) efforts not to talk about sex in the hope that not talking about it would stop young people from having it. How did that work out? If you are a bible believer – which most of these yahoos profess to be – people have been participating in sexual activity since the Garden of Eden and that was well before the invention of the printing press. With about 7 billion people on this earth, many of whom can’t read, it doesn’t appear to have stopped. Somewhat to the contrary, there is a high positive correlation between female literacy and having fewer children.

Fear is a weakness and succumbing to it by avoiding things doesn’t make them go away or change the truth. Eventually you have to get your head out of the sand. (I like my PG rating or I might have used a different metaphor/location.)

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