Mar 14 • 2M

Texas: What the Hell? Get Ready for Roving Bands of Book-Banners Coming to Your Town

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Author, agitator and activist Jim Hightower spreads the good word of true populism, under the simple notion that "everybody does better, when everybody does better."
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Not so long ago, book burnings were considered a festive group activity by assorted right-wing zealots. Today, though, burning seems so old-fashioned, and well… crude.

Yet, the concept is burning hotter than ever among a gaggle of testosterone-driven Republican leaders eager to show voters that they will go to extremes to incinerate progressive ideas and people’s personal liberties. Rather than lighting bonfires, though, the new fad for GOP politicians is simply to use government power to ban the offending books (thus saving the expense of matches and lighter fluid).

It might not surprise you to learn that our Lone Star State’s extremist political operatives are leading today’s book-banning frenzy. One Jonathan Mitchell, for example, is going from town to town pushing Texas Republican officeholders to pass local ordinances he labels “Safe Library Patron Protection.” Yes, patrons, censoring what you can read is necessary to “protect” you. The GOP ban prohibits libraries from having books, videos, etc. that contain “immoral content,” which he defines as depictions of nudity, sexual behavior, mentions of masturbation, LGBTQ life, etc. It’s also autocratically homophobic, making it illegal for librarians to display LGBTQ flags or even mentioning “LGBTQ Pride Month.”

This repressive monomania stabs even deeper into our freedom of expression by concocting a “right” of right-wing vigilantes to enforce the ordinances. Yes, self-appointed bands of bounty hunters would be authorized to roam the countryside suing local libraries (and individual librarians) for having “banned” books on the shelves. To spur this political malice, Wallace’s scheme provides a $10,000 reward for every violation a vigilante finds (or fabricates).

This is Jim Hightower saying… Well, you say, thank God I don’t live in Texas! But – Hello – repression doesn’t recognize state borders, so the pernicious idea of paid library marauders is spreading across the country. To help defend your freedom from them, go to the American Library Association:

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