Books Set Us Free. Republicans Want to Set Them on Fire.

Jun 11, 2023 | PDA News

Support Free Speech and Education: Anti-Intellectualism is a Tool for Fascist Control
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An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.“—Thomas Jefferson

The key words in Jefferson’s observation are “educated” and “survival.” From its beginnings, America has been a complex endeavor, requiring much more than simple acquiescence and passive participation. To be self-governing, we must think critically, be open to compromise, and call out charlatans and bad behavior in elected leaders. These skills are developed through exposure to knowledge and evaluation of different and often competing perspectives.

Exposure to knowledge and various perspectives brings us to libraries, where all manner of materials are kept and shared with the public. And this realization brings us to Ta-Nehisi Coates:

The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free. Slowly, I was discovering myself.

Today we celebrate Illinois’ first-in-the-nation legislation rejecting book bans in public institutions. PDA stands with all who celebrate knowledge, who welcome civil disagreement and debate. We keep our Republic strong by engaging with others and listening to different perspectives.

Help us continue our efforts to celebrate and protect differences in thought and perspectives. Freedom lovers do not fear books; we entrust our fellow Americans with the breadth of knowledge and culture contained in writing present and past.

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In solidarity,

Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team