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Nothing makes me feel more nauseas than this topic. I'm a retired teacher with 5 grandchildren, 3 still going through public school. Restricting what teachers can teach when it comes to racial issues, and banning of books in classrooms and libraries has me furious. 2 of my grandchildren are nonbinary. Why can't they read books about themselves? I feel like I'm leaving my grandchildren a crumbling country with less and less freedoms. And don't get me started on the Supreme Court and abortion rights. My granddaughter is 21, the age I was when Roe v Wade passed!

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Mar 25, 2023·edited Mar 25, 2023Liked by Meredith

America in 2023 bears no resemblance to the vision I held in my youth. I recall a deep warm feeling of reassurance that free speech was inviolable because of PEN, ACLU, and hundreds of other groups of dedicated legal eagles who would forever defend my urges to speak my mind on any topic at any time, and also protect my crazy urges to read anything I damn well pleased. In my naive mind, I still expect faculty to freely speak scholarly opinions without student backlash. I also expect that the wide majority of my fellow citizens should have the common sense to allow and enjoy free speech in all its magnificent glory. Why, oh why, is book banning (and burning!) contemplated anywhere from California to the Gulf Stream waters to the New York Island?

THIS is why voting is existential!

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Great conversation! We have an information crisis in America impacting education and pseudo- journalism. This is being driven and exacerbated by social media and the internet. Here comes AI... throw that into the mix and it’s not a pretty picture!

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Greatly appreciate this clear-headed, tough-minded discussion of an issue that can seem straightforwardly simple in principle, but that can get messy and complex and divisive in practice - and strongly second proposals to include in high school history courses the 20th century story of 1st Amendment free-expression battles, from the imprisonment of Eugene Debs for speaking out against US involvement in WW1 to the HUAC & McCarthy hearings of the 1950s to the two landmark press freedom Supreme Court rulings of the 1960s, in Times v. Sullivan and the Pentagon Papers case. And yes, very importantly, as mentioned, the now seemingly forgotten Skokie neo-Nazi court case, with ACLU chief Aryeh Neier, himself from a family of German Jewish holocaust survivors and victims, defending the right of goose-stepping American fascists to march through an Illinois town filled with holocaust refugees, despite the misgivings of many of Neier's colleagues and mass cancellations of ACLU memberships in protest. (Those 'American Nazis' never marched through Skokie after winning the right to do so.) Another ACLU case worthy of study is Eleanor Holmes Norton's defense of George Wallace's constitutional right to hold a campaign rally in New York City, in Shea Stadium. Both those examples have obvious legal and philosophical lessons for today's disputes over book-banning and academic freedom and free expression rights in schools and everywhere else. Thanks.

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"I've been throughout Florida; [we’ve seen] cases of teachers and librarians in a library where all the books have been taken off the shelf. I don’t want to say that's universal in all seventeen states, but it's absolutely happening,"

DeSantis had a press conference that covered every book removed and the reason it was removed. Television stations had to cut away because some of them were pornographic and broke FCC rules.

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I truly believe that the ONLY rational response to ALL of the book-banning/burning is MOCKERY! Those clowns have too much political power now, PRECISELY because MOST fine, upstanding, patriotic 'Murikans don't bother to VOTE, MOST of the time!

So, political control is left to the humor-challenged loonies on "both" sides who are only too glad to wield it! "Government" and "politics" do NOT reflect the "will of the People" because the "People" are AWOL down at Walmart! I was not one of his supporters, but Michael Bloomberg suggested in 2019 that the Democrats fire all the expensive paid political "consultants" and hire some vicious comedy writers INSTEAD! I thought it was a great idea.

The notion that ALL political philosophy and thought can be legitimately distilled down to an "either/or" choice is crazy. I am personally no longer willing to support or defend the wretched, stupid, absurd "two-party system." There are humorless bigots and jerks on "BOTH" sides, and I don't want to be confused with any of them.

I realize the US won't likely ever become a "parliamentary" democracy, but I was so frightened back in 2020 I HAD to pinch my nose and vote for a turd like Joe Biden to get that fetid slug Donald Trump out of the White House! What a choice! Ugh!

H. Watkins Ellerson

PO Box 90

Hadensville, VA 23067

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