Keep an eye on your freedoms
Last week was a vacation week. Hmmm. Multiple household chores, ten blog posts, two classes at Loyola, a guest appearance at Professor Stacy Spaulding’s new media class at Towson University, and a little chat on evil at Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson. Oh, and I read eight murder mysteries. Back to the paragraph factory tomorrow.
Took to my bed yesterday afternoon to fight off the first cold of the season rather than post here. Had I posted, I would have mentioned that yesterday was the anniversary of the day on which the Congress approved the Bill of Rights and sent those amendments to the states for ratification.
Our constitutional rights are admirable in theory but touchy in practice. For example, Park51, the Islamic center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center in New York, opened last week. You will recall the torrent of opposition and ill-disguised anti-Muslim prejudice from people operating under the impression that freedom of religion is restricted to religious beliefs and practices they agree with. Fortunately, others rose above ignorance and bigotry, so perhaps the First Amendment still means something.
As we take notice of our freedoms, we should also be aware that this is Banned Books Week, when we are reminded of all the petty authorities who attempt to restrict access to information to control how people, particularly students, think and understand the wider world.
For my contribution to Banned Books Week, I would like to pay a short tribute to Raymond and Marian Early McIntyre. My parents, recognizing my voracious appetite for reading, made sacrifices and efforts to get me books, which we not in plentiful supply at the time I was growing up. (There was no public library in Fleming County, Kentucky, until 1964.) And not once did they ever make the slightest attempt to control or restrict what I read. I was grateful to them then, and I honor their memory.
One last item for this post: Today’s word of the week is quixotic. I hope that it is not quixotic to uphold the Bill of Rights and to advocate the freedom to read.