Home News Opinion | Fighting the Book Bans: What We Can Do

Opinion | Fighting the Book Bans: What We Can Do

by Staff

To the Editor:

Re “If You Care About Book Bans, You Should Be Following This Lawsuit,” by Michelle Goldberg (column, nytimes.com, May 19):

There is something deeply disturbing about what’s happening to the freedom to choose what to think, what to read, whom to love, what we do with our own bodies, and even who we will decide to be.

Reading Ms. Goldberg’s column about the lawsuit against the Escambia County School District and Escambia County School Board in Florida over its book banning, I again felt the outrage and desperation of what can I do, how can we help to stop this?

We need to support the critical fight of these parents, librarians and all people who believe that allowing yourself to be exposed to different opinions and beliefs is not toxic and will not poison minds.

The deepest fear that book banners, homophobes and misogynists share is the terrifying possibility that reading and thinking might lead to questioning, or even challenging, long-held biases!

As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Nancy Kohl
Rockville, Md.

To the Editor:

Those trying to ban books because they don’t like what the books say should remember what the biblical story of Adam and Eve teaches us: Forbidden fruit is always tempting.

I hope that students will look at one of the available online lists of banned books so they can see what Big Brother doesn’t want them to read.

If the books have already been removed from the shelves of the local library, they can buy the books, read them and pass them on samizdat-style to their friends.

The students can then politely thank Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, and others for making such good recommendations just in time for their summer reading.

Daniel Fink
Beverly Hills, Calif.

To the Editor:

I don’t understand why in this Florida district the burden was placed on parents to opt in to allow their children to access restricted titles in the school library. Those parents raising objections should be the ones to opt out, if certain books make them uncomfortable.

Thirty years ago, when our son was in fourth grade, his teacher asked my physician husband to offer an age-appropriate class presentation on AIDS. The teacher alerted all the parents ahead of time, offering them the chance to both speak with my husband and to have their child go to the library during the session if they preferred. During the presentation, the school principal sat in to be sure the conversation was as promised.

The process was respectful of parents and students; those students who attended had smart and thoughtful questions.

What a contrast to this Florida district’s policy. By conferring a misguided forbidden fruit label to certain books, children may end up feeling ashamed of normal, healthy curiosity.

Merri Rosenberg
Ardsley, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Florida School Restricts Access to Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Poem” (nytimes.com, May 24):

One parent in Florida objects to Amanda Gorman’s marvelous poem “The Hill We Climb,” and the school board folds like a coward by limiting the access to it. A freedom restricted is a freedom denied.

Send that parent back to the failing Florida school, along with the school board members who caved in to immature commentary, and have them all write an essay, “What Makes America Great on the Hill We Climb.”

As the poem says:

The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Ted Loewenberg
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Re “G.O.P. Leaders Must Hold Santos Accountable for Deceiving Voters” (editorial, May 21):

The editorial is right regarding the unprecedented con that George Santos perpetrated on voters in New York’s Third Congressional District. Yes, other elected officials have brought dishonor to Congress, but Mr. Santos ran for Congress as an impostor, in costumes tailored to appeal to specific segments of our community.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the expulsion of Mr. Santos must follow prior processes. But as the editorial points out, Mr. Santos is an outlier. He never represented the “will of the people.” So those prior processes do not apply.

The editorial highlights Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Mike Lawler and Tony Gonzalez for recognizing what is at stake and speaking out. Yet they voted against expulsion and instead referred the Santos problem back to the House Ethics Committee, where it has languished for three months.

The George Santos that Mr. McCarthy is protecting to shore up his political weakness is not the Jewish, half-Black, well-educated real estate tycoon with family ties to Holocaust survivors we elected. The G.O.P. needs to go beyond lip service to rebuild public trust.

Jody Kass Finkel
Great Neck, N.Y.
The writer is the founder and coordinator of Concerned Citizens of NY-03, organized to remove Mr. Santos from office.

To the Editor:

The editorial board stated its case as to why G.O.P. leaders need to hold Representative George Santos accountable, then emphasized this question: Are members of Congress really willing to “risk their credibility for a con man”?

You can’t risk what you don’t have. Republican leaders have no credibility left because of their gullibility and undying allegiance to one of the greatest con artists in American history — our 45th president, who is also the Republican Party’s leading candidate for the next presidential election.

Why wouldn’t they support this con man, too?

Leslie D. Dye
Santa Fe, N.M.

To the Editor:

Re “Bakhmut Falls to the Kremlin. What Is Won?” (front page, May 23):

The rubble of Bakhmut stands in mute, stoic defiance of Donald Trump’s recent statement that he doesn’t think of the war in Ukraine “in terms of winning and losing.”

The grim ruins of a once free and vibrant city underscore horrific loss: that of property, normalcy, peace, sovereignty, livelihoods, limbs and lives.

The losers are the valiant people of Ukraine even as they fight steadfastly for victory to attain the kind of win that must come to be, even as many in the U.S. embrace Mr. Trump’s abandonment of morality, decency and the noble quest for freedom.

Ukraine is and must continue to be our fight as well if we are to stand true to our nation’s core values and history.

If we disengage now, we too will stand among the losers.

Lawrence Freeman
Alameda, Calif.

You may also like