Last updated on April 3, 2023
Letter to the Editor:
When I moved to Macon County a few years back, one of the things that stood out to me is what a wonderful place it is to raise a family; we could finish raising our daughter in a small town without many of the concerns we were facing at the timewhile living in a larger metropolitan area. There is an exchange. The healthcare system is a bit lacking, services like heat, air, cable etc. called for more of a wait time than we were used to,but it was worth the move for us. We have loved every minute.
We noticed right away children’s needs in the community were very important. There has been a big push for the skate park, we need a new high school, the sports programs are top notch and community members are so passionate about advancing and involving themselves the many subjects surrounding our youth! When the issues arose concerning the health and well being of our kids regarding inappropriate books being available at the library, many people stood in the gap for our children. Parentsare concerned and have that right. Sexualization of children is not a partisan issue. No matter what party you belong to, what your personal beliefs are, how you identify, sexualizing children is wrong and should be regarded as such.
I don’t believe the majority of people realize what’s in these books. Many are literally depicting child pornography, which is illegal by the way. Unless you have researched these books and read them, there is no way you will understand any of what’s being discussed. These aren’t traditional ‘banned’ books; not even remotely comparable to Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Color Purple… I completely understand how imperative it is for people to get the information they needon all subjects, but this literature is universally depraved. There are many counties, cities and states removing the books in question from circulation for a variety reasons; some are deemed inappropriate for the age range they were written for, some because they are pornographic. Many of the books in question (multiple graphic novels depicting sex between children and/or sex between children and adults) are available in the adult/ young adult section of the library, and more books sexualizing children are being added to those sections, as well as the children’s section on a regular basis. If you weren’t aware, young adult is considered 12 – 18 years old.
Have you wondered why nobody will add pictures, descriptions, or excerpts of these books when they write articles?
The citizens showing up to our meetings and writing in aren’t against any person or group, we’re against an agenda we know to be threatening our families. Most of us have friends and family members that we love dearly and identify in many ways who are also appalled at the materials being geared towards the sexualization of children. We’re not against the library. Our library has some amazing people and programs!! We are concerned about the constant push to put sexual material into the hands of children, and the library being used as a vehicle to do that. This is not an acute situation. When parents went to voice valid concerns to the library board, time and again they were ignored or brushed aside and consistently made to feel as if their voice didn’t matter over the last few years. Their concerns were not addressed at all. Parents demand transparency, and when they were denied that they started digging and educating themselves about what they were up against. We are but one of many counties going through the same thing.
There is a plan being directed towards children that spans the nation. I believe many parents are concerned about the local library furthering this agenda with drag queen story hour, kinky boots, and many other ‘family friendly’ events, and are trying to stay ahead of it so this doesn’t become an issue in our town. These events are regularly happening in most states already, including NC.
So much is being done behind closed doors that we don’t know about by people in power that affect every aspect of our lives. If there’s anything we’ve learned the last few years, it’s that you must hold those people accountable. Who we vote for in local government is just as important, if not more important that who we vote for nationally. We want citizens in office who care about the people, uphold our values and work toward the things we desperately need in Macon County. Our County Commissioners and other local government are voted in by a majority of voters. One glance at their last agenda shows they are discussing fiber options, budget, skate park, senior center, transportation, and more. The Commissioners and leaders in our community canwork on multiple issues simultaneously, this is one of so many.
I think sometimes we forget it’s okay to disagree on things and not hate each other. The polarization at play on every level in our nation is just incredible. We can have discussions instead of arguments; I believe we have more common ground with one another than we realize.
There are fundamental issues we all agree on and keeping our children from being sexualized at any age should be one of them.
God what a dork. Your kids are growing up in an under resourced area where the median income is less than half the national average because you didn’t want them to see gay couples living happy lives. Congratulations. You moved to a rural area where the LGBTQ I a plus community is forced to live in the closet out of sheer terror and the amount of self medication people do around here with things like crystal meth and tobacco is really shocking. My best friend grew up in Austin Texas and she is 36 years old and has never been in the same room as crystal meth. Good luck saying the same thing about your kids in 10 years. When your kids reach the teen years and don’t have anywhere to hang out or any way to pursue their passions and talents, they might be less grateful for your idea of a wonderful place to raise a family. I’ve spent the last decade living in downtown Austin, Texas and when I came back to Franklin I was shocked at how everything has gone downhill during the last decade. It’s not just a lack of medical services and things like that. Kids growing up here truly do not have many opportunities, and being surrounded by religious extremists who lost their minds during the pandemic and started accusing librarians and doctors of being evil doesn’t help.
While I don’t live in the community anymore, that’s where I grew up, I still have lots of family including siblings that are still growing up there, and I still spend my money there every time I visit monthly so I feel I have more of a say than someone like you who has moved into this community and now wants to change things up by promoting your own agenda of hate towards the LGBTQ+ community and through censorship. So I don’t think you came to Franklin with the right intent of helping nor bettering the community, I think you did what a lot of Republicans do; picked a red state so you could be amongst people who are a carbon-copy of you. Unfortunately for you, there are still people in the community who don’t look and think like you, that’s going to be anywhere you go so I don’t understand where the confusion of why you wanted everyone to be in the same little box as you. There is a bigger LGBTQ+ community in Franklin than you think, including frequent visitors who fall under that umbrella (me). We are also in the surrounding cities as well like Sylva, where a pretty big Pride Festival is now held on Main St every year despite the fact there are still ignorant people in our communities like you who want to other us just for being who we are, or make us seem like we are predators with no accurate reasoning other than Fox News told you we are. My advice to you is to get in touch with reality; that the LGBTQ+ people in your community are not going to hide themselves like you want them to and are going to celebrate who they are however the see fit in our community (that includes representation in the library or a drag story hour etc.), that you are privileged to be among the majority of Republicans in the county so this “woe is me” act is nothing but a delusional and clueless marginalization of a minority, and that censoring and banning books is the same thing communists and Nazi’s did/do.
Get a grip, lady.
Amen, Kylie! It’s funny how most of the people so up in arms about public libraries moved to Franklin (Danny Antoine, Jim and Leah Gaston, the unhinged lady who wrote this letter to the editor, etc.) just so they escape reality. Unfortunately for them, it’s 2023 here too and even Macon County is part of America, where we have a little thing called the Constitution which is pretty clear about the role religion should play in affairs of the state (it’s literally the very first amendment, folks)
Justin, do you have any earthly idea how much Danny Antoine has done for bettering this county before he became a commissioner? He has literally saved so many kids from destruction and has a genuine heart for them. Danny and his wife have dedicated their lives to children and teens, so I’d dare say he knows their hearts much better than you. Have you even met the Gastons (who have lived in Macon Co. a lot longer than you think) as if the length of time someone lives somewhere gives them more speech rights or something? Your divisive spirit and personal attacks are proof positive that your camp has no desire to find common ground and is filled with rage. The whole argument of these “morons want to ban books and hate LGBTQ” is ridiculous. Nothing could be further from the truth. I would suggest you refrain from public comment until you get more facts about this complex issue so you don’t embarrass yourself further.
Hey, Nathan. I’ve literally never even heard of you, so you must not be very popular around Franklin. You sound a real rube though, so that’s not surprising. Danny and Mary are two of the dumbest and most immoral people on the plant and neither of them would be involved in politics now except for having their minds melted by the Qanon brain worm. Playing cobra Kai isn’t being some kind of superhero, no matter how you want to frame it. I guarantee any kid who comes into contact with somebody like Danny worse for it. It’s going to be really funny to see him in court, so go ahead and keep pushing against the library. He’s really confident when he’s ranting from his seat during a county commissioner meeting, but he’s going to be a lot less cocky when a lawyer gets ahold of him. If you think Danny is such a great person, ask yourself why he broke up at least one family with an affair and that’s the one I just happen to know of because it happened to a church family I grew up with.
And I cannot wait until the first time I get to meet Jim Gaston. He’s said a lot of stuff in his written rants that I’d LOVE to see him say to my face.
And as far as bettering this community goes, Nathan? I don’t know who you are or where you are from, but this community was a lot better off 10 years ago than it is today. If you want me to start listing things that I have noticed have completely vanished from this town or services that have gone dramatically downhill just in the decade between my leaving here and my returning here, I would be happy to do so but it’s going to take a long damn time.
Kyle, you said “I do not live here anymore”. So maybe you do not know the whole issue and need to do more research.
There is a significant difference between banning books and what they are trying to do at our library. There is no attempt to ban books. Their is no attempt to prevent adults from obtaining adult materials. They only want to prevent minors from accessing pornographic materials. I am all for being inclusive but if you are showing children engaging in sex with one another or with adults it is dangerous for those children. I think the library board is terrified of being seen as non-inclusive. So in an effort to demonstrate their inclusivity they are unwittingly sacrificing the safety of children. They need to stand up and do what is right for our children.
Are you trying to say that you believe the first amendment does not apply to high schoolers? If so, there is a whole lot of caselaw you might want to look over. Danny has been pretty clear about his reason for wanting to pull out of Fontana. There’s literally video footage on YouTube right now of him ranting about how this is all an ideological issue in his mind. You guys are welcome to keep it up and see what happens though. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t recommend most of the lifestyle choices people like you tend to make.
Luke thank you for clarifying some points on this issue.
This was a really well written article from someone who you can tell cares about our community, our kids and loves living here. I agree it’s so sad that people can’t agree to disagree respectfully or find common ground on some points, if not all. Some of the other comments above just proved her point by the way they responded with name calling. I absolutely agree that these over sexualized materials have no place in our Kids and Teen sections at the library. We absolutely love the library and the ladies who work there are so amazing. Let’s keep our library a neutral place, safe for all kids, with materials that are age appropriate.
You call the librarians great people while defending a letter with the headline “books in the library are illegal”…so which is it? Either they are wonderful people, or they are pushing “perversion” on children. Maybe you’re just a lot smarter than actual librarians and authors and people who actually read books though. The level of cognitive dissonance you conservatives live with is really wild. By the way, there is no such thing as an illegal book. there are books that you might not like and books you forbid your children from reading, but there is no such thing as a book that is against the law.
Justin, who created the headline for this article? The headline for the article was created by this particular online publication. The headline was not created by the writer.
Read the letter, doofus.
I personally watched two teachers who were also very influential in the athletic program groom two girls my age from the time they were freshman in high school until they were legal marrying age, at which point they both got married to these teachers. These teachers are still running the athletic program in Franklin high school while their brother, a convicted pedophile who paid teenagers to have sex on camera after grooming them, lives in Franklin. Neither of these guys spend much time around public libraries and probably couldn’t name more than four or five authors if their lives depended on it. So please go ahead about how you are trying to protect the children from getting groomed by librarians.
So nobody wants to comment about the groomers running your athletic program? Ok…
While I agree with these two writers it’s based on the first amendment not because of political beliefs. I am a conservative but registered Independent. I believe there are problems with both parties. The old Democrates believe the party is the same as JFK but it is not. The Republicans believe it is the Reagan era party… it is not. I think you should leave the politics out and focus on the issues of constitutional rights. Neither party in Washington or here in local politics are taking their oath of office to heart. I don’t care what you believe, but your rights do NOT trump (little “t”) my rights.
Great to see the other side of this issue on the site.
1. In response to the writer stating their belief that we haven’t actually seen what’s in the books, I OWN THEM. So I know exactly what is in them.
2. I was told these books were moved to the adult section, so the issue should be resolved.
3. The librarians aren’t babysitters and your kids need your permission to get a library card. They are YOUR kids. Be a parent and take some responsibility here.
4. I completely agree with the comment about constitutional rights. I have tried explaining that to people, but am instead called a “groomer” and other really vile things. Seriously, look up the 9th amendment and learn it.
Jennifer, there are many many reasons why this issue is not resolved yet. Again, it is not about banning or censoring books.
Kim, I fully agree! You cannot reason with those who do not understand the full issue. They are operating on pure emotion without the full facts. The majority of WNC is like you and does not want to ban books nor do we want impressionable children indoctrinated with an agenda that just became fashionable in the last 2-3 years. While people like you and me are happy to agree to disagree with the haters, they will not relent. They foam at the mouth with their virtue and self righteousness, when the other side of an argument wants to find middle ground while fully upholding the Constitution. Can’t we all unite around our kids? I dare say no one wants minors to get STDs, unwanted pregnancies, crushed relationships, and mental problems. If we want youth to normalize sexual things before they understand the potential dangers, then we might as well offer little kids alcohol and a set of car keys in 4th grade. Both alcohol and driving can be potentially harmful, thus the reason why there are restrictions on minors. No different with this recent movement to groom children to be hyper sexualized. Why weren’t the do-gooders so rabid about the 1st Amendment when Youtube, Twitter, etc. were banning speech just like the Fontana Library System recently banned speech at their tax funded meetings? So, it must be great for the library itself to attack the 1st Amendment, but not for the taxpayers to request a few simple reforms??
Hey Nathan do you honestly not know which population gets teen pregnancy and STI’s in higher concentrations? Do you really believe it’s the kids who are sheltered from everything their entire lives, or are you informed enough to know for a fact it is the kids who receive comprehensive sex education throughout their childhood who grow up to practice sex responsibly and avoid the issues you listed? Ask Lauren Boebert how abstinence only education works…
I meant to point out that the kids who receive sex education and aren’t raised by weirdos like Nathan who have objectively lower rates of teen pregnancy and STIs than kids who receive abstinence only education. It’s 2023. How do you morons not know this!?
And also Nathan the social media platforms you just named our private companies that are privately owned. Public libraries are public institutions that are protected by the constitution. If you start a company tomorrow like YouTube, are you going to platform every video I bring to you? No matter what it is? Good to know… but it is your right as a private company to platform whatever you choose. Caselaw long ago settled the issue as to whether or not small groups of idiotic parents can come into public libraries and start dictating what is on the shelves. I’m sorry that you have such a hard time accepting facts like that. Your life really must be a very frustrating experience.
Not sure if this will be posted or blocked if comments are turned off, but this issue started as LGBTQ in nature because that was the type of sex books that were promoted on display 2 years ago. If it had been celebrating heterosex, then people would be just as upset. The problem was not gay or straight, but the library specifically choosing to promote a proven national movement from far left groups who actually do push an agenda. You can research how GLAAD and many other LGBTQ groups partner with the ALA to promote messages that are divisive. THAT is the heart of the controversy. Not parents waking up one day to pick on LGBTQ. Most of us don’t care if someone is gay or queer or whatever or care what books are on shelves. Being gay or transgender is a choice no different than choosing to like SEC over Big Ten. We need to recognize that SEC fans are not required to have their choices pushed onto others or celebrated for no reason. All Americans should take issue with others thinking for them as the library foolishly chose to do 2 years ago. They would do well to live and let live when it came to their personal choices of what to promote to the public who funds them.
No. It had nothing to do with frustration over the library promoting a “national movement.” The library has displays monthly. All types. No one ever protested the Christmas display. Or Easter display. Or healthy food display. You can claim whatever you want, but there is way more honor in honesty than standing up for something while trying to paint it in a different light.
I feel so sorry for anyone who has to put up with Nathan. His poor kids…
Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.