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Opinion | Stop trying to steal our kids’ learning

Books provide us with an opportunity to grow and learn. Some people are determined to steal that from our kids.


There’s this story in one of the books at the Prattville Public Library – a sexually explicit story – about an incestual relationship between a father and his two daughters. 

It’s terrible. Goes into great detail about how the daughters get him drunk. They talk about his “seed” and how proud they are to become pregnant. 

It’s truly disgusting. 

And it’s just right out there for any child to read. In fact, there are no restrictions at all on the book. 

But it gets worse. 

This book contains multiple – MULTIPLE – explicit stories of incest, of brothers sleeping with each other’s wives (sometimes by force, other times by trickery), of group sex, of “whorring” and “whoredom” and the making of sex toys out of gold and silver. 

Disgusting, isn’t it? Kindergartners could read that filth.

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The library should be forced to remove this book, and it should be forced to remove all books with such graphic sexual content. 

If you agreed with that, congratulations, you just banned the Bible. 

Do you feel stupid? I hope you feel stupid, because all of you running around from library to library, with your insane social media crusades, sure do look and sound stupid. 

And I mean that sincerely. 

In every public debate on the issue of banning books – in America, in 2023, God help us all – there is one side that behaves rationally and calmly and uses multi-syllable words (probably because they’ve read a few of them before) and there’s this other side of absolute raving lunatics. 

Last week, an Alabama mayor went on an extended rant about his lesbian pickleball partner before threatening to sue a citizen for disclosing public messages to the public. Messages that revealed a library board member suggesting burning books. 

Why did that little portion of insanity come oozing out? 

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Because the mayor heard about – not read, mind you – some books in the town library that dealt with LGBTQ+ sex and sexual situations. And that was enough for the Prince of Pickleball to decide he and his simple-minded brethren should get to decide just which books are worthy for the town library shelves. (Spoiler: there will be lots of pics.)

This stupidity will not end, it seems. Because somehow, the rightwing propaganda machine has managed to convince the people within its bubble that they’re saving the children. It would be nice if they would save them from the guns that are their leading cause of death, but I reckon books are just a more obvious threat … to those who don’t read many of them. 

And so, here we are in Prattville now, where a group of timid city leaders, who either lack a spine or all share the same mushy one, are on the verge of ceding oversight of the library to the lunatic fringe, which calls itself “Clean Up Prattville.” 

Make no mistake about it, this mission they’re on is all about them. It has absolutely nothing to do with protecting kids.

As best as I can tell, Clean Up Prattville is a group of tens of people who know how to send emails and attend meetings and make phone calls and generally make public spectacles of themselves because they like attention. But because library folks are typically quiet and timid and handle themselves with professionalism and decency, the lunatics get the attention they seek. 

Make no mistake about it, this mission they’re on is all about them. It has absolutely nothing to do with protecting kids. But don’t take my word for it, here’s how you can know I’m right: Read the books they find offensive. 

Now, APR’s Jacob Holmes has already provided a breakdown of all the books on their “explicit excerpt” list, but let me just take one. Probably the most recognizable book on the list – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky. 

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The excerpt is a very mild description – the most risque word is “penis” – of a child witnessing what is essentially a date rape. The child, “Charlie,” later on realizes that what he witnessed was a rape and he struggles with how to deal with it. 

Yeah, no young adult – which is the section where this book is located in the library – ever has to deal with date rape or pressurized sexual situations. How dare they allow a book in the library that confronts the very real and very lasting effects of such a situation? The monsters!

These books have value the same way the Bible does. They present readers with the opportunity to consider various situations, to confront fears and biases and our very human reactions to the behaviors of those around us. Those situations are sometimes difficult to read, hard to understand and shocking to consider. 

That’s where our learning comes from. 

Stop trying to steal that from children.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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