Nathan Crabbe: Book-banning law is another way to keep voters focused on culture-war distractions
Nathan Crabbe is opinion editor for the Gainesville Sun. Here he observes that Florida’s debate over banning books is just a distraction from other pressing issues.
Any parent should be thrilled when their child is reading an actual book rather than being mesmerized by any of the electronic distractions available today.
But Republican leaders in Florida are acting like books are turning children gay, socialist or whatever group they’re marginalizing or villainizing this week. The GOP-controlled Legislature passed a bill making it easier to ban books from school libraries.
In signing the measure into law last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis said “it’s going to help give parents a lot of confidence that they can send their kids to school and they’ll get an education but they’re not necessarily going to be indoctrinated into things that are very, very questionable.”
Given the governor’s track record, “very questionable” might mean books on the effectiveness of vaccines in public-health campaigns or anything about slavery and other race-related topics that could make white people feel bad.
The book-banning law is just another way to keep voters focused on culture-war distractions. That way, they won’t question why the governor and Legislature have failed to do anything about skyrocketing housing costs, our broken health-care system or any of the other real problems facing Florida.
The law gives members of the public — not just parents — a greater opportunity to remove school library books that they find “inappropriate.” The state Department of Education will be distributing a list of banned books to school districts throughout the state “for consideration in their selection procedures.”
Get ready for school board meetings to be further dominated by right-wing activists hostile to public education. And once a book gets banned in one district, the statewide list will ensure others follow suit.
A member of Moms for Liberty, a group started to fight COVID-19 mask mandates, spoke at DeSantis’ bill-signing event. Rebecca Sarwi said she pulled her children out of Volusia County’s public schools to be homeschooled due to concerns involving the pandemic as well as library books.
Apparently, what really set her off is that her elementary school-age daughter read “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” a book about a blue crayon mislabeled as red.