First lady Jill Biden made a remark in an interview on the "Today Show" on September 13th that earned kudos from the liberal journalist back in the studio, yet should send shivers down the spines of any American who values the First Amendment and free speech.
When asked by reporter Sheinelle Jones, in what was a gushing puff piece about Biden’s take on schools, including controversies related to what books should be allowed in school libraries, the first lady’s adamant response was: "All books should be in the library. All books, This is America, we don't ban books."
Madame First Lady, does that include E.L James’ sexually explicit “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the “Kama Sutra” (the centuries old book from India detailing every possible sexual position) for our elementary school libraries?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the First Amendment permits students to read or say whatever they would like in our schools.
They incorrectly think it gives a reporter the ability to get a story in the newspaper on anything they deem newsworthy.
The mistake being made by these folks is that they don’t distinguish the writer, speaker or reader from the editor.
Editors, and more specifically, the publishers to whom they report, have First Amendment rights as well. They have a right to publish or not publish what they wish in their newspapers. The reporters who work for them do not.
The reporters have the constitutional right to write or say anything they want and stand on the street corner to present it to the public without interference from the government. They do not have the right to force an editor to publish something he or she does not wish to in a paper he or she owns.
Forcing the publisher/editors to do so would be a blatant violation of their First Amendment rights.
In the case of our schools, the administration is the editor. Of course, it is accountable to the school board, which is accountable to the state legislature that signs off on acceptable curriculum. And the legislature is ultimately accountable to the voters.
The students do not have the standing to say that they have a right to demand that any book they desire be made available in a school library, or to write anything they want in a school newspaper.
Individuals have a right to buy any book available in a bookstore or off the internet that is age-appropriate, or to write any pamphlet they wish and distribute it to the general public on their dime.
What they don’t have the right to do is dictate to the editors in that school what books will be on the shelves. A large swath of the population falls into this trap. Dr. Jill Biden, a woman who insists that we acknowledge her Ph.D. by calling her doctor — should not have.
Getting back to the good doctor's comment that “All books should be in the library,” we must ask whether she believes that anything goes when it comes to stacking the shelves at the local elementary school library.
The public expects their school boards to use discretion to indeed vet what books are appropriate for 7-year-olds. Does Jill Biden believe they are acting as un-American censors when they determining it’s inappropriate to push pornography on an 8-year-old?
Would we want Saul Alinski’s Rules for Radicals or KKK leader David Duke's writings within reaching distance of a fourth-grader?
Unfortunately, there are now lunatics in charge of the asylum, injecting critical race theory and inappropriate sexual content into our grade schools throughout the country.
We expect this kind of nonsense to come from some radical fringes within the teachers unions. It is absolutely appalling, however, that such a deranged perspective is endorsed and promoted by the first lady of the United States of America.
Hopefully, she misspoke. If she did, she needs to backtrack on it, pronto.
Steve Levy is President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show." He is the author of "Solutions to America's Problems" and "Bias in the Media." www.SteveLevy.info, Twitter @SteveLevyNY, [email protected] Read Steve Levy's Reports — More Here.
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