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Censorship is a destructive force

There are many famous quotes about history, but one that should resonate deeply with every patriotic American states the following, ” History is the torch that is meant to illuminate the past, to guard us against the repetition of our mistakes of other days. We can not join in the rewriting of history to make it conform to our comfort and convenience.” — Claude Bowers.

Last week in the West Virginia Senate, Education Chair Patricia Rucker introduced SB 498 which would essentially punish teachers for teaching about or discussing historical events in regard to race and gender identity.

The bill would limit our educators from the teaching of such topics as the Tulsa Race Massacre, Jim Crow laws, chattel slavery, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The so-called anti-racism bill is exactly the opposite of what the name implies. The purpose of this legislation is to limit, if not eliminate, free and open discussion of difficult, but necessary aspects of our shared history.

The First Amendment protects the right to share ideas and receive information and knowledge be it comfortable or not. We should not hide from our history but embrace it and learn to be better.

Full history is not unblemished half truths but it’s respectful to all people and truly democracy in action. Censorship is un-patriotic and un-American.

Not all of our history is roses; there are weeds as well. But if we ignore the weeds, they’ll surely choke out the roses. I would urge you to contact Senators Rucker (Chair) and Rollan Robert’s (Co-Chair) and stand in opposition to SB 498.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Cindy Stemple

Elkins

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