Opinion: Extremists want to restrict access to books


We often talk about what matters to us, but are we putting our money where our mouths are? Do the ways we allow others to govern us reflect the values we claim to have?

For example, there’s a reason the First Amendment is the First Amendment. It’s the most important amendment to our Constitution.

If that’s the case, if speech and access to information are so important, why do some of our so-called representatives insist on trying to ban books?

You can find almost anything if you’re looking for it. Folks asking to restrict information and ban books are, in many cases, reaching. They claim kids are just randomly “coming upon” information that’s not appropriate for their ages. But when you look just a little deeper, you find that many of these would-be book banners are specifically going to sections of the library and looking for material they find objectionable and then claiming that librarians are somehow pushing these books on children.

We know that’s a false narrative, but it’s one we have to keep dealing with because these folks are loud. In some cases, as we saw in Meridian, they might even try to shut down entire library systems. We’ve also seen extremists showing up to library board meetings, brandishing weapons in an effort to intimidate.

These are folks trying to push their own narrow views on the rest of us, using the government to enforce their will. It’s one thing if you don’t want to read something. Don’t use the government to keep the rest of us from accessing materials. Just because you can’t seem to parent your children doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t monitoring our children and interacting with them.

We’re lucky here in Idaho. The terrible library bills suggested up to this point have so far failed. But what happens the next time the Legislature is in session? This loud minority of voices seems to have out-sized representation in our Legislature.

They’re perfectly happy to tell you that the rights granted in the Bill of Rights come with limits — except, of course, the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner. I like to think I’m responsible. But I also don’t skip over “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment, and I haven’t forgotten that the Heller decision is younger than I am.

These extremists claim they want small government and freedom. But they’re also the same people who are telling us the government should be banning books and dictating what the rest of us are “allowed” to access. Rather than speaking with their children and teaching them how to discern, they are instead trying to force the rest of us to conform to their personal views.

We say we value education, access to information and free speech. But do the people we keep electing to represent us truly have those same values?

Miranda Marquit, Master of Business Administration, is a nation ally recognized financial expert, writer, speaker and podcaster. She is the chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.