Despite what the name says, Banned Books Week isn’t just about the banning of books, or even attempts to challenge certain books’ places on library shelves or in school curricula. Those are important factors to consider, sure, but they’re by no means the end all, be all of Banned Books Week and other efforts like it.
What it’s really about is intellectual freedom.
And being able to express yourself in ways that the Constitution of these here United States allows.
And the ability – the right, really – to think unpopular thoughts.
Do you have to agree with any of these words or thoughts? Of course not. And in some cases, it’s probably best that you don’t. But still, if we’re to live in an enlightened, informed society, we need access to all of the ideas possible in order to figure out up from down, right from wrong. The second someone steps in and says “this should be gone because I don’t agree with that” is one of those times in our lives when our liberties and truly threatened in a real and, frankly, pretty terrifying way.
Read what you want. Think what you want. Expose yourself to new ideas once in a while, even if you don’t agree with or like them. Sometimes that’s actually healthy; it lets you know what you’re up against.
I’ll get off my soap box now. But I’ll keep “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” playing for a bit longer if you don’t mind. It really sets a mood, don’t you think?