Banning books is a fool’s game

Published 12:33 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

Life on the Farm

There are rumblings that book-banning is at the top of some people’s agenda. Certain books, they say, should be banned from our public schools in order to “protect” our children. Thinking that way is like swatting flies in an outhouse. You might get a few, but there are 50 to 100 more coming to take their place.

When I was growing up in the Deep South, the book “The Catcher in the Rye” was banned in a lot of schools. When I heard about that, my thought then was exactly the same thought that young people would have today if books were banned. Even though I didn’t know anything about the book, I thought, “That’s a book I want to read.”

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You see, that’s how young minds work. Make something forbidden and they will want it. And, they will get it. It is a folly-filled notion that school children are going to read a book and be harmed. Can they be harmed at school? Yes. By a gun, maybe, but not by reading a book.

For every book that a parent wants to ban, I can think of one that should be mandatory reading. For example, “Broken Faith.” That’s a non-fiction book of truth about Word of Faith Fellowship, a religious cult based right here, folks. Or how about “Ripples,” a great piece of fiction written by Polk County author Evan Williams. It’s a literary tapestry of family life in Western North Carolina, but some of the book-banning crowd might be offended and forced to squirm by how close to home his book hits.

Parents who truly want to protect their children should stop exerting pressure on public educators and instead turn the screws where the pressure is needed most—on themselves.

They are in complete denial if they fail to recognize that they are causing the greatest harm by what they are placing in their child’s hands—the ubiquitous cell phone. It is the greatest source of pornography, violence and hate in America. Schools don’t give children cell phones. Parents do.

Look, I get it. Lots of parents are worried about what their children might be exposed to these days, but they shouldn’t be working to control the school libraries, teachers and administrators.

A recent poll in North Carolina showed that an overwhelming majority (70 percent) of people hold public school educators, administrators, nurses and support staff in high regard. The lowest rating went to state legislators who make our laws and school boards.

Our teachers and the rest of the school team deserve our open respect and thanks, even though we have failed them terribly by paying them an insulting wage and giving them a meager budget.

If you want to do something good, give them your thanks and support, regardless of whether you are a parent. Let them do their jobs in the classrooms and libraries, and tell the micromanaging parents to start with their kid’s cell phone.

Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at hardscrabblehollow@gmail.com