This is part follow-up to yesterday’s post and then something else. So bear with me please.
After yesterday’s post went live, I discussed the Missouri library “rule” with several folks over coffee. Each of them nodded as I detailed what I knew about the proposed rule. One, however, failed to see the point I tried to make and kept digging in. I understood why she did. Hell, I even agreed–to a point–with what she said. But her point of view failed to take into account the real danger of the proposed rule and that worried me. Not just because of the proposed rule but because I see this sort of blind spot with so many things, especially politics.
Here’s the point I was trying to make with the post and that I did make in the conversation: vague rules and laws are dangerous because they open the doors to the rules being changed with the changing of the political guard. For example, right now we have a group of people who want to remove books that reference X from our schools because X goes against their belief system. So what happens when there are those who believe Y, a basic premise of the first group’s belief system, should be removed? Under the MO rule, they would be able to do so even if they don’t live in the community or even the state. The challenge might not be upheld, but it would take time, effort and money for the librarians–or whoever the state designated to hear the challenges and determine their validity–to make a decision.
Then there’s the point of who makes that final determination. Are they from the community or is it a statewide group? Are they parents or educators or what? What are their backgrounds? Who decides who sits on this committee?
In other words, the pitfalls for this sort of too-broad legislation outweigh what we might see as the benefits.
Still, I understand my friend’s knee-jerk reaction yesterday. I agree our small kids should be protected from certain topics. But when I start seeing descriptors like “age-appropriate” applied to all minors, I hit the brakes. As I asked above: who decides?
This is similar to the Dems wanting to change the filibuster rules because they don’t like the Reps filibustering their pet bills. Do away with the rules and those bills will be passed.
Sounds good from their point of view but only if you look at it in the short term. It would work in their favor right now because they hold the majority. But what happens when that changes and the Republicans once again take control of the House and Senate? How long do you think it would be before the Democrats started crying “King’s X” and wanting the filibuster rules put back into place?
It’s the same with all their talk about expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court. There are those who want to do so while Biden is president so they can “pack” the Court. What they don’t look at are the possible consequences. Each of those justices will step down at some point. So what happens if there is a Republican in office then? That president would be allowed to “pack” the Court.
Then, something all too many seem to forget whenever a new justice is nominated, is the fact there is no guarantee how that justice will rule once sitting on the Supreme Court. A prime example of this is the late Earl Warren. Before being appointed to SCOTUS as its Chief Justice, Warren, a Republican, served as governor of California and ran with Dewey against Truman. Dwight Eisenhower, when running for president, promised to appoint Warren to the Supreme Court.
When Eisenhower made good on his promise, everyone pretty much expected the new Chief Justice to be conservative in his views and opinions. Instead, the country got the Warren Court, one that turned out to be much more “liberal” than expected. While I’m not going to criticize the Court–let’s face it, a number of those rulings were needed for our country to continue advancing and maturing–my point stands. Warren surprised both his supporters and his detractors with his rulings.
The same thing could–and will, at least eventually–happen if the number of justices is expanded.
In other words, no matter how good (or bad) something looks in the short term, we need to look at the long term as well. We need to ask if the language of the bill or proposal is so vague or so broad that it is open to interpretation that can be used by those the bill is aimed at silencing to silence someone else?
Look at the language of those introducing the bill as well. What is their explanation for taking this action? If they say it is to take the government out of our lives and yet continues to give the government more power over what we can and can’t do, something is wrong.
Ultimately, that is one of my two biggest issues with the MO “rule”. Ashcroft said this was to return control to the local level and to parents and yet it really leaves the real power with the state. How? By giving the state, specifically his office, the power to withhold funds for libraries that don’t implement his plan. It also is written in such a way that anyone, anywhere in the state, the country or even the world, could challenge a book for whatever reason. How does that give the power back to the parents on a local level?
Look at what the bill, any bill, says. Look at who is behind it. Don’t knee-jerk but take time to consider both short- and long-term consequences.
Moving on. . . .
Life is returning to normal here. The flood issues have been basically dealt with. There’s some minor repair that still needs to be done, but it can wait until the weekend. I’m saying prayers the rain due Friday isn’t such that we have more problems. That means I’m probably going to spend part of tomorrow checking the impacted side of the house and doing any trenching that needs to be done.
I finally came to the conclusion that part of my issue with getting the edits finished on Designation; Frejya is that my mental state is such that I need something fluffy and not serious. Life has enough demands right now with Mom’s rehab and recovery. When I finally have time to sit down with the laptop to work, my brain wants to go to a happy place. That makes it difficult to deal with a book like Frejya where most of it is anything but “light”. I’m pushing through, but . . . .
Anyway, it’s time to get to work. I should probably take some time to run the vacuum but not right now. Hmmm, cats are smart. Shouldn’t they be able to operate the vacuum or pick up after themselves?