Monday, July 11, 2016

"For the night is dark and full of terrors."- George R.R. Martin

The title of this post could easily be "Why It Is Important to be a Librarian, Part II," but I will let you arrive at that conclusion on your own.

A friend of mine was just censored on Facebook.  I don't know what she posted that was found offensive (she is not the least bit vulgar), and that is scary, because the Facebook bar for acceptability is pretty low.  I am assuming her post was political in nature.

Ironically, I decided not to post a Canva I made yesterday for fear of a) inciting a political rant, and b) possibly being surveiled by the Secret Service.  But because of my friend's experience, I will post my Canva here, where I have a better shot at explaining what it means to me.

I am sure there are those who see this as a political shot at both candidates, and I suppose in a way it is.  The primary thing this means to me is that we have way too many problems for one individual to be accountable. We as a country as ridiculously polarized, and no one political candidate can put this country back together.  Congress might have some power, if we could elect people who would vote their consciences and not their pocketbooks, but no matter who is elected president, they cannot reasonably be expected to fix things that have been broken and that have been escalating for years.  It does not help that these two candidates are polarizing themselves.

So my friend and her friends are righteously angry that her Facebook post has been censored.  I suspect we don't know the half of what is being censored and how much we are being watched. I suspect that these activities are going to increase over the next decade as we move closer and closer to a military state.  You think not?

I wish I knew why there is a disconnect in so many places between the black community and law enforcement, but I don't. I am a member of neither subset and have no right to assert my views as a gospel of the disconnect I believe  exists.  Dallas, Baltimore, Ferguson, Tavon Martin.  Black Lives Matter.  So do the lives of the police officers that serve and protect us.  I honestly don't know what to say, what to think, what to believe, but I believe the media, including Facebook, feeds my angst and confusion.  The government cannot allow this slaughter to continue, and the answer to that is military intervention.

Folks walk into movie theaters and schools and open fire with semiautomatic weapons.  People argue that if more people were armed, the gunman wouldn't have got off as many shots.  Others argue that with more stringent gun control this wouldn't have happened.  Perhaps with better mental health care this wouldn't have happened.  Who knows?  Better mental health care takes time.  Military intervention, not so much.

Back to censorship.  I think we should be prepared for more and that we should seriously question everything we read, see and hear.  I would recommend re-reading Animal Farm, because I think like old Boxer, our civil rights are being metaphorically led to the slaughter.  Re-read 1984 and Brave New World while you are at it.  Big Brother is watching all of us.  And we participate in his watching daily.

Back to libraries.   There are two theories as to why public libraries were formed.  The first is the noble idea of the "people's university," where knowledge can be obtained in any doctrine or discipline.  The second theory is that public libraries were established by the elite to give the common folks the appearance of access to knowledge and power, while in fact keeping the most valuable of these among the chosen few.  I believe both of these theories are correct, at different places.

I leave you with the admonishment that more restrictive times are ahead.  Please don't believe everything you hear, see or read, but treat each piece of news you receive as a possibility to be investigated.

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