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PJStar - Letters to the Editor - Peoria Journal Star - October 22 and 15 of 2023

letter to the editorLetter to the Editor


Moms for Liberty chair responds to Journal Star letters to editor

Two letters to the editor published in the Oct. 15 Peoria Journal Star provide me with the inspiration to continue my efforts to establish Moms for Liberty of Tazewell County.

Judith Koren Shanahan and John M. Longmire Jr. submitted comments that represent precisely the opinions that we’ve organized to surmount.

I won’t attempt to refute the considerable misinformation contained in their remarks. Instead, with limited space allocated to letters to the editor, I would like to debunk the notion that Moms for Liberty of Tazewell County has any desire to 'ban books.'

A society which created the term 'micro-aggressions' is also ruining the English language by redefining terms in such a way that even the smallest discomfort becomes morally equivalent to history’s most egregious offenses.

Book banning once had a specific meaning: The Democrats* ruling the Confederacy removed Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 'Uncle Tom’s Cabin' from stores and libraries for the obvious reason that it made a strong moral reason to abolish slavery.  (*the PJStar altered Democrats in my text to then-Democrats in the published letter)

This is widely recognized as the first government-enforced book banning in North America.

Today, book banning means whatever the 'micro-aggression' crowd wants it to mean.

This un-beneficial dilution of the meaning of the term has led to a division within our society on the issue of book banning.

Book banning used to be repulsive, i.e., removing 'Uncle Tom’s Cabin' from stores.

Now, according to the 'micro-aggression' crowd, that repulsive, historic book banning is morally equivalent to parents demanding that 'how-to' books on sexual intercourse be removed from public elementary school libraries and classrooms.

I am proud to be a member of a group organizing in order to 'petition the government for a redress of grievances' to demand that government-run schools protect the innocence of children.

Virg Cihla, Chair, Moms for Liberty of Tazewell County

Sunday, 10/22/2023 Page .A04

Copyright (c) 2023 Journal Star, Edition 10/22/2023

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Letters to the editor

Spread of Moms for Liberty group to Tazewell County is cause for concern

I read with alarm and great chagrin the Peoria Journal Star article regarding the startup of a chapter of the misnamed Moms for Liberty in Tazewell County. This should disturb many readers because this group has been declared an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC has called out Moms for Liberty for spreading misinformation about COVID, denying the brutality of slavery, and advocating the banning of 'The Diary of Anne Frank,' which details the horrors of the Holocaust and the loss of an innocent young teen girl to the sickness and hatred of the Nazi Holocaust. Wouldn't want our kids learning about that, now, would we? Also, Moms for Liberty has pushed the notion that slavery was actually good for some Black people because they learned skills as slaves that they could use when slavery was abolished — wow, 400 years of brutal domination in which the Black man as cattle could be sold, beaten and, yes, murdered without consequences by his white owners. Come on, folks: These people in Moms for Liberty are just a bit ... disturbed, it appears.

Also, for those who want to dig a little deeper, Moms for Liberty might as well be called Moms for Trump because when you've got a group of anti-vaccine parents who dispute the brutality of slavery, ignore or deny the genocide of the Holocaust, the only candidate to support such views is our twice-impeached, 90-plus-felony-charged former president.

My hope is that this group stays in Texas, Florida and Alabama, where their right-wing extreme views are welcome, and stays out of the Land of Lincoln, where a Republican who accomplished great changes for the betterment of mankind once lived.

John M. Longmire Jr.


Don’t be misled by Moms for Liberty group

Don’t be fooled by the Moms for Liberty movement. This organization with an innocent sounding name is anything but innocent. The Southern Poverty Law Center has followed them closely and categorizes them as an extremist group. They were founded by three Republican women from Melbourne, Florida, and in spite of the new leaders’ claim that they are 'not political,' that is far from the truth.

They have been praised by Ron DeSantis, who, as we have read, has passed laws in Florida against most schools: They are now not allowed to teach anything which has to do with Black history, or the Holocaust, or even mention LGBTQ issues. They have banned books and targeted teachers.

They are supported by The Proud Boys (the same ones who are being convicted of crimes they committed on our law enforcement and Capitol police). They have been lauded on Breitbart, OANN, and by an antisemitic 'Goyim Defense League.' One of their chapters in Indiana printed a quote by Adolf Hitler on their newsletter and, days later at a conference, repeated it to cheers. They are a fascist- and Nazi-sympathizing group.

These people are some of the same ones appearing before school boards and screaming over the top of other speakers. There are news videos of these occurrences.

These people do not seem to understand the law about the separation of church and state. Many of them are anti-vaxxers, against all vaccines, and rabidly fought against masking or closing schools during the pandemic. (Measles has come back in a big way and is very dangerous in part because some are refusing to vaccinate their children.)

They complain bitterly because their children’s level of education fell as a result of school closings. But don’t you wonder, as I do, how many of them turned off the TV, limited their kids’ use of cellphones during those days, and how many tried to help the children with their classes? Now they scream at teachers who hold a high level of training and education far beyond what many of these parents hold. Did they read to the children from toddlerhood? Do they have interesting books in their homes, as well as better magazines, all of which are teaching tools? (Magazines like Smithsonian, National Geographic, etc., not the flashy, trashy ones.)

Schools are the proper place to help our children learn about past history which is factual, not whitewashed. Age-appropriate sex education can be delivered by trained teachers when we all know that there are too many parents out there who are too embarrassed to mention anything at all or answer their kids’ questions simply, depending on the age of the child. The parents are frequently ignorant and too shy to know what body parts are correctly named.

So we are facing a movement led by narrow-minded, biblical literalists, who are so afraid of their children getting a real education. They are driven by their own fears of 'the other' — racist, homophobic, misogynistic, they hold these beliefs in varying degrees.

They are fearful of their kids becoming 'woke,' which simply means aware, intelligent, empathetic, and socially conscious. We must stop referring to these people as 'far right'; they are actually 'far wrong.' Our country is in deep peril from these true believers.

Judith Koren Shanahan


Sunday, 10/15/2023 Page .A04

Copyright (c) 2023 Journal Star, Edition 10/15/2023

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