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.