An Open Letter To Those Who Would Ban Books

An Open Letter To Those Who Would Ban Books

Thomas Jefferson, wise man that he was, once said, ‘“I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man.”   When we ban books, we commit tyranny. The message given is that one cannot judge for themselves what is objectionable and what is not. 

Intellectual freedom is one of the hall marks of America. Here, let me quote my friend the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

Now, when we pull books from the library, do we not restrict someone’s freedom to read? How is it that people are complacent to let the small minded dictate what their children can and cannot read? Here is an idea, set down your cell-phone, unplug the computer, turn off the TV and actually parent your child. 

Some startling statistics: Among 17-year-olds, the percent who read for fun at least once a week dropped from 64% in 1984 to 53% in 1999 and to 52% in 2004. The percent who never or hardly ever read for fun doubled from 9% in 1984 to 19% in 2004. Children ages 9 and 13 were also polled. Their numbers stayed approximately the same.  So what do we do to fix this problem? Ban the books children want to read? No. We encourage a love of reading, we don’t let those of small minds win. When you tell a child they cannot read a book because of it’s content, the child will want to read the book that much more. We all want what we can’t have.

Will you goose-step right to a book-burning? Would you let this nation turn into an authoritarian regime? Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, a fictional book about book burning once said, ““…There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zan Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/ Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme….””

Ellen Hopkins is one of those writers who has dared to write above a nursery rhyme. She writes a gritty reality, her books are cautionary tales ultimately speaking out against the ills which plague teens such as drugs. Her books have changed lives and spoken to teen souls about NOT doing drugs. Her books are so powerful because they ring true. Yet, she faces book banning in Norman, Oklahoma. It is my sincere hope that the residents of this town rise out of their complacency and rally against this restriction of intellectual freedom. Please show the rest of the US that the South is not ignorant. Please show the rest of the world that Oklahoma respects the Constitution. Please show me that Norman, OK cares about the right to read. 

If you would like to help Ellen in her travail, please go here: http://ellenhopkins.livejournal.com/7185.html

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I just want to say your vlog yesterday inspired me to do my own. I'll be posting it at the end of the week.

  2. Yeah for the right to read what you want! Come stop by my blog, I have an award for you http://strange-and-random-happenstance.blogspot.com/

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