Florida Governor DeSantis is Banning Books!

“Hi (blank). I pulled and read “House of Representatives Staff Final Bill Analysis” for CS/HB 1467 K-12 Education. As I understand it, this is the bill that prompted the DeSantis Book banning claims. I’ve printed out a copy for you to read. My internet queries led me to a banned book list widely disseminated in the media that was fraudulent. The list included such titles as “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Lord of the Flies”, and Of Mice and Men.” An example of a book that was actually banned by the school board as a consequence of the bill is a grammar school math text that used word problems to address and normalize trans ideology. I strongly object to this indoctrination in our schools. I also believe that exposing pre-puberty children to sexually explicit pornographic material by educators should be considered a felony on the level of pedophilia. To me, this is just common sense. It has absolutely nothing to do with discrimination, nor in my view does it conflict with the first amendment. On can get far astray from the truth by consumption of media narratives. If you can direct me to a responsible source that will refute my understanding of this issue, I’ll take a look at it with an open min. I have always been focused like a laser on finding truths rather than accepting medica narratives, and I abhor conspiracy theories. Cheers!”

If you read the section of this bill that addresses learning materials in schools, including what books are put in the library, you will see that the Governor and state government do not ban anything. The bill requires transparency in selecting reading materials and materials in other media, and does stipulate certain criteria for exclusion, which I submit any reasonable person would agree with, such as sexually explicit material and books that promote certain controversial ideologies and/or one group identity over another. I agree with my friend that these have no place in K-12 education. The bill puts the decision-making process in the hands of local school boards and allows parents to have a say in what is in the library. This has been the de facto process for many years and has worked quite well until the recent ideological battles on such issues as gender identification, race essentialism, and promotion of group identity made their way into the K-12 curriculum.

It is easy to be outraged by social media stories and main stream media stories which appear to be intended to spark outrage, and supposedly factual stories that are later prove to be misleading or blatantly false. The Covid pandemic yielded more of these than just about any other event in recent memory. Remember the Wuhan lab leak theory, which was almost universally debunked by nearly everyone, from Anthony Fauci, to the New York Times, to the most prestigious medical journals? Well, it turns out that a little research has produced enough indisputable, factual data to make this a scientific certainty. Where are the apologies and admissions of being wrong by those who ridiculed and smeared anyone who suggested a lab leak from the start as the most logical, intuitive explanation for the source of the virus and one that should be explored?

In the political arena, moderates can get pulled into extremist camps by radicals on one side who sell fear of the worst-case scenario from the other side. Political disagreements are now framed as existential threats. President Biden recently said, “Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.” Today, political adversary is an enemy of democracy. A win for my opponent will end the republic. My political opponent is going to destroy the country we live in.

If we are ever to solve the many problems in this country, from the acknowledged mismanagement of the pandemic to the issues of the economy, immigration, and energy affecting Americans daily, we need to move away from radical positions and moderates must speak up for common sense and a common cause.

Richard T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS

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