Librarian refuses free Dr. Seuss books from Melania Trump, makes it the latest politically divisive issue

Liz Phipps Soeiro, librarian at Cambridgeport School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, took the occasion of the donation of 10 books by First Lady Melania Trump in recognition of National Reading Week to make a political statement.

The librarian, who superciliously noted that, “My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science,” rejected the books.

Why, you may ask? Because Dr. Seuss is racist, of course. Or, as she put it, “Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

OK, we get it. Soeiro hates the Trumps and has a leftist ax to grind. We also understand that she is using her position as a librarian to influence the children in her charge to leftist ways of thinking.

But, look. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know how divided and filled with anger we are as a nation. Is using Dr. Seuss books as a political wedge helpful?

Is it good for us – any of us – to continue to hate one another? We may dislike someone’s political point of view – and even see it as destructive – but can we please stop making, literally, everything political, as the librarian seems to want to do?

In her public repudiation of the books, which was filled with various jabs, she acknowledged the praise her school received in the letter accompanying the books and found it necessary to emphasize the acclaim by touting “diversity”: “Our beautiful and diverse student body is made up of children from all over the world; from different socioeconomic statuses; with a spectrum of gender expressions and identities; with a range of abilities; and of varied racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.”

Congratulations, Ms. Soeiro. You ought to take pride in the fact that those particular children’s parents happened to moved there.

She went on to tout the government:

“Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an amazing city with robust social programming, a responsive city government, free all-day kindergarten, and well-paid teachers (relatively speaking — many of us can’t afford to live in the city in which we teach).”

I wonder if Ms. Soeiro realizes that the majority of people can’t afford to live in the city in which they work – hence, rush hour.

Alas, even her amazingly well funded school, populated with students who check the right politically correct boxes falls horrifically short, according to her:

“Even so, we still struggle to close the achievement gap, retain teachers of color, and dismantle the systemic white supremacy in our institution.”

And finally, she found it necessary to haughtily teach the First Lady a lesson as to, not only where she can stick – er, where her books ought to have been sent, but also whose fault it is that we have run down schools in the first place:

“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?”

Of course, the Secretary of Education who was installed this year is to blame – not federal, state, and local education policies which have been contributing to these problems for decades.

She even added at the end of her public castigation of free books a list of books Mrs. Trump ought to have given instead, which was mostly a Who’s Who of various “oppressed” groups.

The Cambridge responded, noting that “the employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district.”

“We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes,” the district said.

I’m fairly certain the left had its “jump the shark” moment a while ago; only history will determine precisely when that was. But regardless of how much those on the left – or right – hate Donald Trump, can we please recognize that this does nothing but further weaken us as a nation? How do we hope to survive if we despise one another?

As Abraham Lincoln, who was quoting Jesus, said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

There was a time when we could disagree with one another with civility. Is it possible for us to get back there again?

I think it is. But we have to stop seeing one another as “the enemy.” Enemies need to be destroyed. Does your neighbor who holds a different political position need to be destroyed?

About the author

Heidi Munson

View all posts