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Opinion | The paradox of Susan DuBose’s call for “less government”

DuBose’s push for censorship and control reveals a hypocritical approach to her call for individual liberties.

State Rep. Susan DuBose

During her ascent to House District 45, Hoover Republican Susan DuBose proudly echoed a call many conservatives have made: “We need less government in our lives.” However, scratch beneath the surface of her well-worn slogans, and it’s clear that her rhetoric clashes sharply with her actions.

DuBose, who claims to stand tall as an advocate for “less government” and “individual liberties,” oddly, is also among the most vociferous in urging for censorship and curbing the autonomy of libraries. It’s puzzling how a self-proclaimed pro-liberty lawmaker can vehemently advocate for state control to reflect her personal values. If she truly believed in her motto, wouldn’t she allow individuals and parents the freedom to choose which books they or their children read?

When DuBose declares, “I will fight for parents to have the right to make decisions for their children,” does she genuinely mean it? Or does she simply imply that parents should have rights only within the confines of her particular worldview?

Like others who want to censor library collections, DuBose speaks about “inappropriate material,” but she, like others, never defines what that term means. From the books that have been criticized, it’s easy to discern that what they deem inappropriate are books on race, racism, sexuality and gender.

DuBose and her peers still believe in the superiority of their white Christian ethos that seeks its domination, even if by stealth.

There is a glaring oversight in DuBose’s conception of a diverse society. To her, the existence of gay parents, transgender youths, and the broader LGBTQ community is something of an inconvenience. Not to mention how she may privately feel about Black Alabamians and other marginalized Americans.

Recently, DuBose took a jab at the American Library Association (ALA), mistakenly implying it is taxpayer-funded and that it controls Alabama’s libraries. One would hope that a state lawmaker would be better informed, but the biggest flame-throwers often relish their ignorance and that of their followers.

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An incident at the North Shelby Library further showcased DuBose’s penchant for false narratives. Her claim of “multiple complaints” about a Pride display in June was directly refuted by the library board. And yet, despite such attempts of harassment by DuBose, the library remains resilient in its commitment to celebrating diversity.

In a recent fiasco, the Huntsville-Madison library was dragged into the quagmire of baseless culture war library controversies. But the community saw through the smokescreen and rebuffed attempts to reshape knowledge through biased lenses.

Across the state, those who would censor library collections have been defeated by individuals and families who actually use their local libraries, not those who want to exploit them for political gain.

But DuBose and her ilk aren’t done. The new battleground? Pushing for legislation to defund libraries that dare defy their narrow vision of the human experience.

Perhaps DuBose rather than pushing to defund libraries should heed the words of American broadcast journalist, Walter Cronkite, who said “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” But it could be that ignorance is DuBose’s goal.

Alabama often finds itself caricatured as being stuck in an outdated era. Regrettably, figures like DuBose seem bent on reinforcing this stereotype. They claim to champion liberty while simultaneously deciding who gets to enjoy it and under what conditions.

In communities like Prattville, Cullman, Ozark and others throughout the state, the divisive rhetoric that DuBose hopes to legitimize through state authority has been firmly rejected. We must bring to light and halt the plans of such radical extremists. It’s essential to recognize that dangerously regressive lawmakers, who exhibit behavior akin to soft-terrorism, are detrimental to the state’s future.

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It’s crucial to decipher what’s said and done. And in the case of Susan DuBose, actions seem to resoundingly betray her words. So when someone declares they want “less government” and more “liberty,” let’s remember to ask: on whose terms?

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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