Target: Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House
Goal: Protect First Amendment rights by making it illegal to ban books.
The First Amendment protects our freedom of speech, yet each year hundreds of books are banned from libraries across the nation. Most of these books are banned for trivial reasons, and it deprives people from seeing different perspectives and ideas. If we continue to allow the banning of books, we will be no better than the authoritarian regimes that we fight against.
While the federal government is not known for banning the sale of books, libraries — especially school libraries — often have books yanked from their shelves for being “inappropriate.” The majority of the books banned are young adult novels, since they usually explore controversial themes such as sexuality and defying the status quo, all while using “vulgar” language. Angry parents will argue that these books are not appropriate for children, and children should not have any chance of being exposed to that kind of content.
On the surface, it sounds harmless. Parents want libraries to be stocked with books of literary merit and to not have their kids reading obscene material. However, if you read the books that are often banned and then see the reason for why they are banned, you will see just how ridiculous these bans are. For example, the most challenged book is the Harry Potter series because it “encourages kids to practice the occult.” If you have ever read Harry Potter, you will know that it is mostly about friendship and bravery, and it just so happens to be set in a magical world. To deprive a child of such a great reading experience just because his/her parents are overprotective is ridiculous and should not be allowed to happen.
Real life is controversial, and to shield children from books that explore these controversies is harmful to their social development. This practice is also shutting out the voices of people who have every right to speak. Sign this petition and demand that it be illegal to ban books of any type.
Dear Speaker Ryan,
As Americans we cherish our freedom of speech, yet hundreds of books each year are banned from libraries across the nation. The American Library Association tries to encourage people to read banned books by creating Banned Book Week, but the very practice of banning books should not even be a concept in America. In order to preserve our First Amendment rights, banning books should be illegal.
Banning books deprives people of seeing different perspectives and ideas, which is something many people should learn to do. These books are also often banned for trivial reasons, mostly because parents are overprotective of their children. It is more important to protect people from having their constitutional rights violated than to protect a kid from reading about sex. Please help make it illegal to ban books of any type.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kennedy Library