I have been in some discussions lately about censorship and freedom of speech, mostly because of those Time and NYT articles about Sarah Palin and banned books and I am not getting into all of that here because that’s not really what this blog is about. You should just know that I do care passionately about freedom of speech, about keeping books on the shelves. I care because those things enable me to freely say what I believe, and because of that, I defend the rights of others to say things I deeply disagree with.
In one of the classes I am taking, we just read the ALA Freedom to Read Statement. It ends with the following words, words that gave me goosebumps because I found them so inspiring:
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
Somebody get me that on a t-shirt. (Or maybe just that last part if the rest is too long.)