A Small Town and a Larger Controversy

I might suggest to Dr. Remakus that the role of parents is to love their children, nurture them, and guide them, and an integral part of this is not to trust them. Children naturally explore their boundaries and try to exceed them, with deceit being part of this at times: “I’ll be at Jimmy’s doing homework” when the truth is “I’m going to hang around with the guys and smoke cigarettes.” Would Dr. Remakus allow a minor girl to visit an adult male’s apartment without checking out who this guy actually is, or would he “implicitly trust” her judgment? He makes a grandiloquent claim that, “This responsibility (of parenting) cannot be abrogated or delegated,” but then advocates it to be delegated to either the child his or herself or to an institution, in this case being the library. Does he think it’s quite a good and necessary thing that an library worker knows a “secret” about a child that the parent is not allowed to know?

One of Dr. Remakus’ most tiresome and predictable assertions falls in the category of they are going to do it anyway: “If a child's curiosity about any subject is great enough, they will find a way to satisfy it – one way or another.” This trite truism gained cultural authority in the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and has crescendoed unabated to this day, yet is is mostly limited to things sexual: “They (children) are going to have sex anyway so we might as well facilitate it in a safe manner.” The premise of this claim was never established, but has inexorably led to where we are presently, a world of free condoms in public schools, child-friendly books graphically detailing the mechanics of sex and, of course, institutions and policies designed to keep parents ignorant; a minor could be pregnant and have an abortion fully known to bureaucrats but never known to parents. Likewise, a child could contract a sexually transmitted disease from an adult, be diagnosed and treated for it, and the parent might never be apprised out of it “confidentiality,” an obsession that has taken on an almost sacred aura.

What Dr. Remakus fails to understand is the realization that, “Yes, kids might well do it anyway,” but that they not only need to know boundaries but want to know them; this is in fact the way children develop into moral and compassionate beings. Parents are not their kid’s BFF; the children certainly don’t want that type of relationship and nor should the parents.

I will offer my own guide to parenthood: not the Utopian vision of Dr. Remakus, but a little more down to earth. First, don’t hesitate to let your kids know you love them. Second, read to them everyday, beginning before they have any idea what they are experiencing and until that wonderful day several years into the future, when the child says, “Dad, can I read the story to you?” And lastly and perhaps most importantly, say “NO” a whole lot more than you say “Yes.” This pertains to material things (“No, I’m not going to buy you those new shoes because everyone else has them”) and behaviors (“No, you can’t watch TV anymore, please turn it off”). This is increasingly and especially critical in regards to “screens,” as pretty much every physical and mental health metric is yelling at us as a society. The key to happiness, self-esteem, success, etc is not having the latest Iphone, it’s NOT having it.

My intention is certainly not an ad hominem attack on Dr. Remakus, whom I have never met. He is a long-standing physician in the Hallstead area and a published author of several books of fiction. I do think he demeaned himself a bit in attempting to demean concerned parents: “So, while a large group of parents have stormed the entirety of Susquehanna County's library system...”

Here is the “*see” below part mentioned above. On Nov. 6th I called the Montrose library looking for further information for this Letter, with the initial question of what, if any, affiliation the library has with either the American or Pennsylvania Library Associations, both unabashedly leftist activist organizations. I was put through to Kris Ely, the director, who was clearly on guard, asking if I was a reporter ( before I go further, I should mention she proved to be a delightful person). I assured her I was nobody important, just preparing a letter to the Transcript. In answer to my question she said the library is a paying member of the PLA but not directly part of the ALA, membership fees being in the 100s of dollars a year. I read to her the boldly highlighted introductory statement on the PLA website, as follows: “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: The Pennsylvania Library Association will actively and intentionally pursue, promote and champion equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization and within the profession so that our association, libraries, librarians, and library staff will all thrive.” I asked Kris Ely if she could define the three words Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (often abbreviated DEI), and she responded with a kind of feckless and generic, “It means the library available to everyone.”

In reality my question was unfair, because DEI is a mindless political slogan not amenable to definition, kind of like of asking a serious person to seriously discuss which comic book superhero is the greatest...a silly undertaking. DEI is not designed to elevate people, but rather it is a soothing chant for some and a means to wealth and power for others. For upper-middle-class to hugely wealthy white people, those who are steeped in privilege but like to perceive themselves as elite and enlightened, embracing the endless DEI statements (all seem to be written by the same spoiled and selfish rich college kid pursuing a degree in gender studies) is a way to feel good about their privilege without having to actually do anything. To the celebrity and professional race hustlers- for example, attorney Ben Crump, BLM founder Patrisse Cullors, pseudo-academian Ibram Xolani Kendi (formerly known as Ibram Henry Rogers during his middle-class and private school upbringing)- DEI is a means to multiple millions and a way to make sure their marks are spineless enough to comply with their shakedown demands, especially wealthy corporations with CEOs who are happy to give away other people's money to preserve their privilege and status. There is a maxim that is completely true: the demand for racism well-exceeds the supply.

Ultimately, the irony is that the policy regarding issuing library cards to minors that caused such controversy, misstated by Dr. Remakus and misunderstood by the “storming” parents, is quite sane and reasonable: a child under 18 cannot be issued a library card without the consent of a parent, and the parent can decide at the time if their child will be issued a card allowing or disallowing the parent to monitor the minor’s access. The parent may have the minor’s card revoked at any time.

Many thanks to Kris Ely for taking the time (perhaps an hour) to discuss library policy and even some literary and philosophical matters.

2 thoughts on “A Small Town and a Larger Controversy

  1. Carole Ann Milljour

    Good one Alfred!

    That was a fantastic article again, Reid. It is so refreshing to hear there are parents, a number of them anyway, that do stand up against some of the most pathetic attempts to make their children not accountable to them. If more people stood up against this crazy nonsense that's been proposed and promoted, then more than likely, it could very well come to a halt. We can only hope and pray! It is so scary for children out there now. We didn't have all this access to so much devastation and filth from John Q public 60 years ago. Being an adult, I don't appreciate a lot of what I see and hear even on the news, let alone the internet and the like.

    Your letter was well done, Reid, I wish more people were in tune to what's really going on to this countries' children. From abortion to sex education, not teaching cursive in schools (how do young adults maneuver us older folks handwriting if they can't read it!??? ,,,that happened to me recently when a 19 year old asked me to read something for her because she
    didn't learn cursive!); Transgender to no gender (???? how does that one grab yah, unbelievable!); from taking our history books and changing the course of history by liberals who want to destroy this great nation, brainwashing those innocent minds to a point they don't know what real truth is. We have a lot of work to do to straighten out this mess. Children are too young to understand what's really going on and when they're of reason, it seems they have been so brainwashed, they end up taking things for face value instead of questioning what they've been forced to learn/believe.
    I always looked at Obama as being the pied piper, taking innocent minds and leading them down the path of destruction and/or no return. He is still in charge I do believe. Scary world, but I think more and more people are on the side of justice and good will and those who will certainly have a lot to account for. We never know in life what we will be faced with, but there is still a lot of good in this crazy world and nothing bad lasts forever. On that note, Happy thanksgiving. We are still, for the most part, the land of the free and the home of the brave! We need more courageous people, and I pray they find their voice! ...and I believe we are on the upside of that happening ...it is just a matter of time!


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