“The culture war has eaten America. Everyone is to blame and everyone will suffer for it,” the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last wrote this week of President Trump’s ongoing feud with the National Football League.
Truer words have never been spoken.
The ongoing conflict between red and blue escalated this week when the librarian of a Massachusetts elementary school rejected a donation of children’s books from first lady Melania Trump.
Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge, Mass., is one of 50 schools in the nation chosen by the White House to receive donations of Dr. Seuss books, including the Cat in the Hat, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“Getting an education is perhaps the most important and wondrous opportunity of your young lives. Your education will be a lifelong pursuit that will sustain and carry you far beyond your wildest imaginations,” the first lady said in a note that accompanied the donation.
The books, which are being provided as part of a larger push to promote National Read a Book Day, are meant to call attention to the recipient’s higher standards.
Surely, no one would think to politicize this simple gesture from the first lady, right?
Meet Cambridgeport Elementary School librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro, who made headlines this week after she penned an extraordinarily condescending and ungracious open letter to the first lady.
“[S]chool libraries around the country are being shuttered. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school “choice” with no interest in outcomes of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools,” she wrote on the Horn Book’s Family Reading blog.
Soeiro, who works as a library media specialist, added, “Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? … [M]y school doesn’t have a NEED for these books.”
Hold onto your hats. It gets wilder from here:
And then there’s the matter of the books themselves. You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature. … Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see…