Week 2, Day 3 of Calling on Washington: Book Banned, History Repeated, and Voting Now on the First 100 Days

To Kill a Mockingbird 1 by Sew Technicolor. From Flickr. Labeled for reuse.

To Kill a Mockingbird 1 by Sew Technicolor. From Flickr. Labeled for reuse.

What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.

-Lord Melbourne

How many of the people reading this port have also read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman? It predates To Kill a Mockingbird temporally, but post-dates it chronologically. When she submitted Watchman for publication, Harper Lee’s editor asked her to re-write the novel focusing more on the childhood of the main character, Scout Finch. She did just that. The result is the classic, pulitzer-winning novel that was banned from schools and libraries across this country for being “immoral.” Lee’s response was that her book had been banned not because of morality, but of illiteracy. She sent a donation earmarked for the relevant schoolboard to “attend the first grade of their choice.”

Courtesy of RFI, Romania. http://www.rfi.ro/tag/tiin

Courtesy of RFI, Romania. http://www.rfi.ro/tag/tiin

The moral of this story: this country, like all countries, has needed help from time to time. Not help in the abstract, but actual, compassionate, patient, physical and ethical assistance. That’s the point of Watchman: true devotion is not to continuing on in a circumstance that is easy, but in one that is difficult, because that’s the thing that is needed from you personally at this time, and there is no substitute for either your love of your people or your desire to help them live in a better world. We needed people to read banned books. We still do. Similarly, your country needs you to voice your opinion on whether or not you support these measures being vetted for the first 100 days of the next presidency.

Words of caution: some of these issues, as written, don’t actually mean anything. While, “Begin constructing the wall along the Southern border” is self-evident, no one knows what, “Introduce an infrastructure package to modernize our country,” would look like under this plan. Many of these proposals have no details or clear proposal. So please: vote only on the things you understand clearly or believe that you do. Some additional information that you may want:

  1. In terms of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification, according to nonpartisan sources such as the Annenberg Public Policy Center, this act is “not a blanket reduction for ‘middle-class’ families or ‘working people,’ as the claims imply.” Taxes will increase for families with 3 or more children, the personal deduction will be eliminated, and the deduction for a child of any age will end at 13 years. 
  2. The TransPacific Partnership is a multi-billion-dollar trade deal that was written behind closed doors over the last decade. Who will assume risks and who stands to benefit is therefore largely occult, which makes it difficult to know what we should think about it one way or the other.
  3. Nobody knows what, “Renegotiate NAFTA into terms that protect the American worker” would entail.
  4. The Restoring Community Safety Act in order to reduce crime, drugs, and violence in our cities, and provide funding for programs that train and assist local police will cost $70 million in the first year, and not, according to the national taxpayers union, provide a clear improvement over what currently exists.

There are a lot of unknowns here. Please focus on what you know, and what you want, and ask questions about the rest.

Incidentally, To Kill a Mockingbird is still banned in some parts of the United States of America. Please read it if you haven’t for your own sake. Then, please read Watchman for all of our sakes.

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