President Trump has famously said he doesn't have time to read books. Perhaps if John Kelly hid the TV remote, the president might have a couple of hours here and there to read a book. And we'd like to propose something really radical: that he read a banned book.
Sept. 23 to 29 is Banned Books Week, which the American Library Association has been sponsoring since 1982. The event celebrates not just the freedom to read, but to read whatever you choose to read. Because even today, there are those who want to be able to make that choice for you. In 2017, 416 books were challenged or banned from libraries, schools and universities across the United States, according to the ALA. Often challenges are brought by parents concerned over “inappropriate” or “offensive” language or sexual references. Like any other attempt at censorship, these are all subjective matters that are best left up to the individual or, in the case of children, their parents. To take the choice away from others who don't have the same concerns by completely removing a book from a library or school reading list is anathema to everything our country stands for.
President Trump might enjoy, and perhaps learn a bit, from some of those books that people tried to ban last year. “The Kite Runner” might help him understand another culture that he clearly has no clue about; “And Tango Makes Three” will show him that love knows no gender; “Drama” shows the struggles of LGBT people, especially young people; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “To Kill A Mockingbird,” still considered controversial by some 58 years after its publication, may help him overcome some of his less inclusive tendencies.
Our local libraries will be featuring displays for Banned Books week; you can even have a photo of yourself holding your favorite banned book posted at the Eldredge Public Library. Far be it from us to tell anyone what to read, but a banned book would be high on our recommended list.