As a high school English teacher, how could I be anything else? Allow me, to list a few classics that have been banned: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, for its pro abolishionist agenda. Huckleberry Finn, for its “coarse language”–not swear words (Mrs. Clemens edited those out, but for slang coarse words. Of Mice and Men, for using the Lord’s name in vain, morbid depressing themes, and alleged anti-business attitudes. The Catcher in the Rye, for being obscene, with vulgar language, sexual scenes, and moral issues.The list could go on to include The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, and a number of Dr. Seuss children’s books. In addition to literature, history, science, and math books are being censored and rewritten to correct their inaccuracies. Really? We don’t like the outcome of that war or the result of that law, we will just change the narrative? Imagine our children learning that some of the US Presidents had clay feet!
However, the ultra-right is marching ahead in its continued attacks. Their newest bane is LGBTQ and drag shows. In the Arizona legislature a number of bills (SB 1698, SB 1026, and SB1030) are aimed at protecting children from drag performances. In fact, SB 1698 would criminalize anyone who exposes a child to such a performance–a Class Four Felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison, and automatic registration as a sex offender. Now this would certainly be laughable if it wasn’t true. Consider these: Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Yentl, Mulan, Hairspray, M.A.S.H. , Victor Victoria. Everyone of these productions has a drag character. In fact in Shakespearean times, all female roles were played by male actors. Yet when the ultra-right darling, Kari Lake, ran for governor last fall she had been known to invite drag queens to perform at parties. where her children were present.
So, even though the legislature touts educational choice and parent empowerment, they want to prosecute/persecute parents for taking their child to see Mrs. Doubtfire? Talk about speaking out of both sides of their mouths under the guise of protecting children.
If the ultra-right was truly committed to protecting children, they would outlaw the sale of AR-15’s and other “spray and slay” weapons. They would adequately fund the public schools, instead of supporting wealthy privates. They would enhance the Department of Children’s Services to ensure kids live in a safe environment. Yes, I know. These are taboos for the ultra-right. They would much rather declare me a sex offender for taking my kids to see Hairspray. Have at it! We saw it in NYC.
Next up, watch for the ultra-right to severely restrict internet, cell phone and other forms of social media usage to protect us all.