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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Political agendas have taken precedent over understanding

Political+agendas+have+taken+precedent+over+understanding.+Stefan+Katrandjiski%2FUnsplash
Political agendas have taken precedent over understanding. Stefan Katrandjiski/Unsplash
Political agendas have taken precedent over understanding. Stefan Katrandjiski/Unsplash
Political agendas have taken precedent over understanding.
Stefan Katrandjiski/Unsplash

CAMERON WEBSTER
campus editor
cameron.webster@my.tccd.edu

Dangerous political agendas seem to be more important than the future of our country.

Recently there has been a disturbing political trend sweeping the nation. Books are being banned from public and school libraries, and in at least one reported instance, there has been a mass book burning.

Conservative groups like Moms for Liberty, Parents Defending Education and No Left Turn in Education are pressing states nationwide to ban books that they have flagged as inappropriate. The vast majority of these contain stories featuring issues faced by people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. Multiple states have already pulled hundreds of books from school libraries in response.

These types of groups are attempting to turn back the empathic clock by taking away knowledge and an understanding of others from future generations — all for the sake of their political agendas.

In an interview last month with Guardian US, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone discussed her thoughts on the current rise in attempts at having books banned. She noted that a few well-funded political groups — the same ones that I mentioned earlier — are attempting to push their unique agendas, especially within libraries on and off campuses. According to Caldwell-Stone, in the entirety of 2020, the ALA received 156 book challenges; in just the last three months of 2021, that number was 330.

Last October, Texas state Rep. Matt Krause compiled a list of 850 books he recommended be banned from schools statewide as a part of his campaign bid for attorney general. The list had the desired effect as it prompted a school district in San Antonio to pull 414 of the books for review. Gov. Greg Abbott followed this by advocating for the prosecution, to the fullest extent of the law, of any school staff member involved in student acquisition of any book or graphic novel that has been labeled as “pornography” by certain conservatives.

The definition of pornography is being applied extremely loosely here as it seems it’s being used to describe any book that features same-sex relationships or questions regarding gender identity for example.

Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee took things a step further when he organized a mass book burning for his congregation Feb. 2. A large group gathered and gleefully burned books like “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.” The event was livestreamed on Facebook to who knows how many viewers cheering them on. Locke, who has been banned from Twitter for pushing false information around COVID-19 vaccines, referred to the platform as a “censorship Nazi.” No doubt the irony was lost on him and his flock as they eagerly burned books in the same fashion as the actual Nazi Party.

I never thought in my lifetime I would witness governors, state legislatures and even ordained holy men stooping to a political level reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany. Yet here we are in 2022, and in some ways, it’s like after nearly 100 years, nothing has changed.

Governments are still trying to control the consumption of free media in a public space. These actions are solely about power, control, domination of others and refusing to understand groups that they do not identify with.

Book banning and burning feel like the tip of the iceberg, and it begs the question, how far are these groups willing to go to push their ideologies? As of now, they seem to be willing to do just about anything to accomplish their goals with no regard for the consequences.

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