The Man Behind The Book Witch Hunt

Imagine a society where government authorities seize schools and confiscate any books that they deem “inappropriate”.  Sure this may seem like science fiction similar to the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury where a  fireman is employed to burn outlawed books, along with the houses they are hidden in. In the novel, the tyrannical government believes that burning books will make everyone happier because there would be no way to retrieve data- no way citizens could stand against the government and its fixed views of how their society should live. And, here in 2021, Matt Krause, a Texas representative, is trying to bring Fahrenheit 451 to reality by demanding schools statewide tell him whether they currently hold any of around 850 books on a list he’s compiled. Krause sent a letter on Monday to the Texas Education Agency and superintendents of school districts around the state, asking each official to acknowledge if their schools possess any book on his list, along with a detailed report of where the books are and how much money was spent on them. He is targeting books that according to him: “Might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.” Krause expressed he wants to remove books from libraries and classrooms if they focus on issues from transgender identity to critical race theory.  Fiction Stories on Krause’s list  include:  The Great American Whatever, a young adult novel by Tim Federle  “Pink is a Girl Color”… and the other silly things people say, a children’s picture book by Stacy and Erik Drageset. Non-fiction book titles include:  How Prevalent is Racism in Society? by Peggy J. Parks We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures by Amnesty International Some of the books on Krause’s list explain puberty and reproduction, others describe pregnancy and abortion. How our own schools respond to Krause’s book witch hunt will tell about our moral backbone as a country. Are we going to even consider Krause’s approach to raising our youth in a society where they’re deprived of education on topics such as transgender identity, historic racism, and female reproductive rights? Perhaps the more disturbing part of this story hinges on the fact that Krause himself is a father of 5 children- five children who will be told by him to close their eyes and mind to all these important topics. His children will grow up thinking there is no identity such as transgender, that racism has never existed in American society, and that we as people all are not born free.             Perhaps this is a public stunt by Krause to gain media attention as he’s one of several Republicans challenging Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is seeking reelection in next March’s party primary.             When Krause’s office was contacted, nobody of course was available for comment. Maybe he’s trying to grow his list to reach 1,000? Maybe he’s afraid that just like in Harry Potter, pages from the novels he’s trying to ban will come flying into his home through his mail slots and chimneys? If only we could make that happen.  Krause has given school officials until November 12th to reply to his book witch hunt. I say we give him till the end of October to resign from representing our country, and then force him to sit in a room to read all the 850 novels he’s told schools to ban. Then, only maybe then, will Representative Krause emerge somewhat enlightened.

National Coming Out Day

Did you know yesterday, October 11th was National Coming Out Day? For many young adults, coming out publicly can be one of the hardest life challenges. There is the constant worry, What will my mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparents, friends, teachers think or say? In an official White House Briefing Room release, President Joe Biden said the following: “Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self. Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.” Within Joe Biden’s own administration is Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation. Not only did Mayor Pete shatter a glass ceiling by being the 1st openly gay cabinet member in a US president’s administration, he and his husband Chasten also welcomed two adopted twins,  Penelope Rose and Joseph August, into their family. Mayor Pete also served from 2009 to 2017 as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He was mobilized and deployed to the War in Afghanistan for seven months in 2014 and was quoted as saying, “People who got into my vehicle to serve their country didn’t care if I was Republican or Democrat, straight or gay.” Mayor Pete hasn’t been the only one whose shown immense bravery in adverse situations. In a conservative Oklahoma community, one dad, John Wyatt, supported his gay son named Caden with a Pride flag outside their home. The flag-hanging moment with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” playing in the background was captured on TikTok and received over 1 million views and 400,000 likes.  In the past, John was not supportive of the LGBTQ community due to his conservative and religious views, Buzzfeed reported. That all changed when he and his wife realized early on that Caden might be gay.   “That’s when we really started embracing [the community], because we knew our son was gay, and at any time he could come out,” John told Buzzfeed.  Making in-roads to coming out has even made its way into DC Comics as they announced that Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, will be the “Superman of Earth” and become romantically involved with reporter Jay Nakamura in an upcoming issue of the series “Superman: Son of Kal-El.” Sports athletes have become more comfortable with coming out. Going back to 1981, women’s tennis star Billie Jean King was outed as a lesbian and defied her publicists who told her to deny the claim. She said, “I’m going to do it. I don’t care. This is important to me, to tell the truth.’”  List of other Notable Athletes Who’ve Come Out Over the Years Michael Sam became the first openly gay man to be drafted in the NFL and came out during his interview with ESPN. He was then was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Ryan Russel became the first openly bisexual person in the NFL in 2019 and in any major pro league Robbie Rogers in 2013 was the first openly gay soccer player in a professional league Jason Collins became the NBA’s first openly gay player in 2015 Adam Rippon, a figure skater, became the first openly gay American to qualify for the Olympics Greg Louganis is an accomplished Olympic diver announced he was an out, gay man in 1994 And Megan Rapinoe, US Women’s soccer team captain, has always used her strong voice of support for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.  Yet, despite the in-roads and progress, we have made, the United States has proven it can better represent LGBT +women and LGBTQ+men in the general workforce. According to a 2019 William Institute, UCLA School of Law, and McKinsey study, LGBTQ+ women and men struggle at every stage of the management pipeline with very low percentages of making it even entry-level. Joe Biden said on National Coming Out Day yesterday, “Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abound, diminishing our national character.”  We want to hear from you, our readers: What do you think we can do in our communities to promote full equality and provide great opportunities to all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation?