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Reflections on a House Divided

Who They Are

If You want to know who they really are - i.e. all-too-many on the left-wing of the Democratic Party, the "Progressives" who idolize Barak Obama and yearn for complete control of Congress by the Democratic Party - look closely at the American Library Association (ALA). And look at the story below - about how a couple of librarians expressed the teachings and policies of that group and put them into practice.
That might tell you all you need to know - about them, how they see the world, and what they intend for America and its children.

On June 26th of this year there was a tragic confrontation between a librarian steeped in the ideology of the "Progressive" Left and a group of Vermont state-police detectives bent on finding a missing girl before she could be killed.

Five state police detectives wanted to seize Kimball Public Library's public access computers as they frantically searched for a 12-year-old girl, acting on a tip that she sometimes used the terminals.

But the librarian - Judith Flint - would not budge.
In her own words  --

"The lead detective said to me that they need to take the public computers and I said 'OK, show me your warrant and that will be that,'" said Flint, 56. "He did say he didn't need any paper. I said 'You do.' He said 'I'm just trying to save a 12-year-old girl,' and I told him 'Show me the paper.' " (emphasis added)

A week later the girl - Brooke Bennett, 12 - was found dead.
She had been murdered.

Ms Flint's supervisor - Amy Grasmick - had this to say about what she saw of the standoff between the other librarian and the law enforcement officers --

"What I observed when I came in were a bunch of very tall men encircling a very small woman," said the library's director, Amy Grasmick, who held fast to the need for a warrant after coming to the rescue of the 4-foot-10 Flint." (emphasis added)

Others though may have understood the situation differently --

Far from bullying her, the cops--although they were bigger and more numerous than she--deferred to her, slowing the investigation by crucial hours in order to comply with her demand. You can describe their treatment of her as impressively chivalrous or as excessively obeisant. In either case, it was far from domineering.
Judith Flint: Heroine or Jerk? - Best of the Web WSJ

Some time later the local branch of the American Library Association decided to commemorate this event, and to honour the person they thought of as its central figure --

From the newsletter of the Vermont Library Association, an invitation, to  --

Celebrate Judith Flint

Arthur Milnes, guest commentator on Vermont Public Radio, celebrates Judith Flint of the Kimball Public Library in Randolph for her defense of patron confidentiality when the FBI appeared. Milnes:

Judith Flintís example gives me hope - despite the challenges on both sides of the border and in the wider world as our necessary war on terror continues.  While I have never met her - and probably never will - I am confident that to the children and families in Randolph she is a true friend.
(emphasis added)
Vermont Libraries.com

It is doubtful though if the parents and friends of the murdered girl - Brooke Bennett, who was 12 at the time of her death -  consider Ms Flint to be "a true friend" of theirs.

What we learn from that incident is this:
we have in this country a cadre of people who are capable of looking at a situation where the possibility of saving the life of a child is weighed against the infraction of a institutional policy - and who will come down in favour of the policy instead of the child. And, who will also have and believe a story about the incident that places themselves - and any other persons who obstructed the authorities - at the centre of the story - as its tragic figure(s) and triumphant heroes - instead of the child who died.

And, that these persons - and others like them - are primary amongst those to whom we give our children for teaching, guidance, and...
safe keeping
"Children's librarian Judith Flint was getting ready for the monthly book discussion group for 8- and 9-year-olds on "Love That Dog" when police showed up.

Fortunately though, not all librarians feel compelled to follow Ms. Flint's example. In Florida a librarian named Kathleen Hensman thought she recognized some of the men then suspected of bombing the WTC as former patrons of her library - ones who had used the computers there. And, she immediately called the police. She did that in spite of a Florida state law that prohibits disclosures of that kind - and does so in order to protect the privacy of library patrons. She knew about the law, but thought her duty to try and protect the lives of her fellow citizens took priority. Her action though did not escape notice from officials of the American Library Association --

Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association's office of intellectual freedom, said, ''I would have felt better if she had followed the Florida law.''

There is no indication that Ms. Hensman received, from her colleagues, the kind of celebration and praise  bestowed upon Ms Flint.
But issues related to privacy are far from the only areas where the official views of the ALA differ from those of main-stream Americans. For starters, they have spent millions of dollars in legal fees attempting to overturn common sense restrictions on the availability of pornography to kids online. And, their stated reasons for doing that seems reminiscent of a manifesto of some group of self-styled revolutionaries - proclaiming  --

..that intellectual freedom was an unalienable right and that age is not a morally relevant factor and that adults have themselves no right to determine for youth access to ideas."
What's Wrong With the ALA?

In other words - if you are a parent and are also exercising your judgment concerning the material your children are allowed to access, in the eyes the ALA - you are violating their "unalienable rights."

But their political commitments do not stop outside the library doors.

The ALA not only seeks to influence the field of librarianship, but their official MANUAL OF PUBLIC POLICY POSITIONS states that their membership is expected to support the ERA, the concept of a nuclear freeze, gay rights, opposition to mandatory AIDS testing, national health insurance, and minors' access to sexual resources both in and out of the library. The ALA has even publicly lobbied against the Boy Scouts' policy of not allowing homosexuals to be Scout Masters. Further they threaten that any Masters of Library Science program "is in violation of [ALA] standards" if school policy includes any discrimination against homosexuality or other "lifestyles" or orientations.

So pornography is in. It is to be available to children as a right, and assumedly, it is also quite alright for adults to come right in and sit next to those children while also perusing pornography. But, "the Boy Scouts? That might be going a bit too far, don't you think?"

As the case of the Boy Scouts of America indicates, the tolerance of the ALA has its limits in other areas as well --

Karetzky found himself frequently ostracized from [library'] jobs because of the political indoctrination found in his field. He said: "I was asked, 'What did you think of censorship in the Gulf War?' or 'Why did you live in Israel?' If I told them I believed in a Jewish state, I was refused a job."
Librarians for Terror

Also: Chicago Librarians Block Information Access
        On an article questioning library neutrality
        The ALA's Double Standard on Censorship
And, apparently, even the "inalienable right" of "intellectual freedom" may not be for just anyone --
        The ALA Defends Book Confiscation Worldwide by Communist/Terrorist Regimes?

As for simple safety, it seems as though - in practice - application of the agenda of the ALA has lead to a circumstance where public libraries are   no longer the safe havens for our nations kids that they used to be.

From all the above, it would seem clear enough that the positions, resolutions and political agenda of the ALA on many issues could well stand in for those of the left-wing of the Democratic Party, as well as for those  subscribed to by self-described members of the "Progressive Movement" generally.
And, that those positions, resolutions and that agenda are not in keeping with the values shared by most Americans, the values they want conveyed to their children, or would find appropriate in the teachers and care-givers that they themselves would choose to guide their children and keep them safe.

My proposal then is simple enough - for all who care about such things to take the American Library Association, Judith Flint and Amy Grasmick at their word and as indicated by their actions. And, to begin to think of them as "standing in" for the left-wing of the Democratic Party, and the "Progressive Movement" in general. And to do so when we go to the polls in November, in regards to candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as for the presidency. That, then and ever after, when we think of left-wing Democrats and the "Progressive Movement" the words, beliefs and actions of those two women and their professional organization should come immediately and vividly to mind. Visual images of Ms. Flint and Ms. Grasmic would be helpful in gaining and sustaining that frame of mind, but, sadly, I've found no pictures of those "stalwart" ladies online so far. Perhaps though, this might do instead:

Brooke Bennett


All uncited quotations in the text from:
Best of the Web Today - Judith Flint: Heroine or Jerk? 

(C) David Aronin 2008  
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