“Truth and hypocrisy cannot exist in the same room.”

Matthew 23

Think of the irony, one political party claims to champion “parental rights” and a “less intrusive government.”  Yet, that party’s most visible politicians have no problem advocating for and enacting laws restricting the rights of individual citizens who may not share their political, social, or religious values.

Legislation restricting a woman’s reproductive rights many states have passed since the Dobbs decision aside … assaults to ban books from school (and even public) libraries, often responding to complaints from just a few individuals, have soared in recent years. 

This summer, a North Carolina school board cowardly bowed to the complaint of a single parent who was irate her daughter had been assigned to read, "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, And You" in an AP Language and Composition course … alleging the book was “anti-American.”  Such pressures from “parental rights” groups, typically ultra-conservative activists, have resulted in demands more than 3,000 books be removed from school libraries across the nation. 

However, what is “anti-American” is not the content of the materials they want to ban but the willingness of local and state governments to disenfranchise the rights of parents who believe their children should and must be exposed to such controversial materials.

In our hyper-partisan society, too many adults only listen to, read or view information which supports their currently held opinions, rather than openly exploring and entertaining other points-of-view.  They forget education is more than learning a series of dates, mathematical formulas, scientific theories, and sanitized American history and that exposure to controversial information is not indoctrination.

In order to preserve our democracy for future generations, today’s youth must be exposed to a wide spectrum of materials, some of which might make them or their parents uncomfortable, while concurrently developing critical thinking skills to enable them to rationally question what they read, hear, and see and ultimately arrive at their own, well-informed opinions.