I Read Banned Books in FL and Did Not Become a Pervert (unlike the Florida GOP and Moms for Liberty)

Banned books at the Writer's Block in Winter Park, FL
Banned books display at the Writer’s Block in Winter Park, FL

It was an eye-catching headline:

Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, husband of Moms For Liberty cofounder, accused of sexual assault by alleged menage a trois lover

Moms for Liberty, founded in Florida, has worked with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to ban books in public schools. Novels by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jodi Picoult, Art Spiegelman and, of course, Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale.

In America, it’s said that everything not forbidden, is allowed. The new laws in Florida flip that on its head: only books approved by Moms for Liberty are allowed. Everything else is forbidden.

Teachers can be charged with a felony if they shared an unapproved book with a child. This has had a chilling effect, where many schools have responded to the new law by removing all the books from classrooms.

The Minivan Taliban, as they are known, will not be satisfied with banning books for kids. They also plan to target public libraries, so that they can take books out of the hands of adults, lest they be exposed to progressive ideas.

I went to high school in Florida.

And read many of the books now banned, including Slaughterhouse-Five. This brilliant novel by Kurt Vonnegut is filled with real horror, not the macabre kind, containing the truth of what men with access to fleets of airplanes and high explosives can do to helpless civilians. There are also some sex scenes, as well as time-jumps and other features of experimental literature. It changed how I looked at fiction, teaching me that novels didn’t need to be linear and orderly. They could be as chaotic as the real world.

The sex scenes did not turn me into a rapey Republican who preaches morality while breaking his marital vows to be in a throuple. Being exposed to Slaughterhouse-Five did not make me a book-banning hypocrite who wants to use the power of big government to restrict choice.

I read Slaughterhouse-Five as a senior in AP English. Not surprisingly, Ron DeSantis and the Minivan Taliban want to end Advancement Placement courses in Florida, too, the “champions of freedom” seeking to prevent exposure to liberal ideas while they engage in gross, tanned Sarasotan perversion. Sunshine State kids will receive an inferior education due to the work of this tiny group of hypocritical Christian fanatics.

Books will not make you a pervert. Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, and Moms For Liberty cofounder Bridget Ziegler, did not get the idea for a throuple from Slaughterhouse-Five or any other novel that they may have read in high school. Their twisted, violent hypocrisy came from another source: the Republican Party.

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is a writer, photographer and web person from Washington, DC. The author of several novels, Joe won the City Paper Fiction Competition in 2020. In his free time, he enjoys wandering about the city taking photos.

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