We don't follow Republican politics in Idaho that closely but a couple years ago we stumbled on a fringe politician straight out of Hitler's bunker, Janice McGeachin, a militia-supporting psychopath who almost makes Marjorie Traitor Greene and Madison Cawthorn seem normal in comparison. First elected to the state House in 2002-- where she distinguished herself as an anti-Medicare fanatic-- her whole shtik is that government is tyranny. She was elected Lt Governor and has spent her time in office undermining pandemic efforts and promoting violent militias (and Donald Trump). She is generally regarded as the most extreme fascist in statewide elected office anywhere in America. She's running for governor against conservative Republican incumbent Brad Little and yesterday her candidacy was endorsed by Trump.
Since declaring her candidacy for the 2022 gubernatorial nomination, McGeachin has issued numerous executive orders while serving as acting governor when Little was out of the state-- only to have him rescind the orders, often while issuing a scathing retort.
Little has not formally declared a run in 2022 but has raised nearly $600,000 for a reelection campaign. Idaho’s primary elections will be held May 17.
In May, McGeachin attempted to ban mask mandates while Little was in Nashville, Tennessee, for a conference for the Republican Governors Association. Last month, McGeachin issued an executive order to ban “vaccine passports,” even though Little had already issued a similar order in April.
However, McGeachin’s order also included that all state agencies, including K-12 schools and public universities, could not require proof of a coronavirus vaccine or require testing. McGeachin issued the order while Little was at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
McGeachin’s repeated executive orders have drawn criticism from members of her own party-- including House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, who is running for lieutenant governor and called her antics “political theater” in May.
When examining the demise of the Republican Party, future historians will be able to look beyond the rise of McGeachin and look at the growing penchant for Republican book-banning. As we saw yesterday, it's a big thing in Texas, but it also helped the GOP sweep Virginia (where the book-burning is commencing now) a couple of weeks ago and it's now taking root in Kansas.
Reporting for the local NPR station in Wichita, Suzanne Perez wrote that the school district in Goddard (a Wichita suburb) has removed more than two dozen books from circulation in the district’s school libraries, citing national attention and challenges to the books elsewhere. The list of books includes several well-known novels, including The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It also includes Fences, a play by August Wilson that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1987, and They Called Themselves the K.K.K., a historical look at how the white supremacist group took root in America."
Julie Cannizzo, assistant superintendent for academic affairs in Goddard, sent an email to principals and librarians last week with the list of 29 books.
“At this time, the district is not in a position to know if the books contained on this list meet our educational goals or not,” Cannizzo wrote in the email. “Additionally, we need to gain a better understanding of the processes utilized to select books for our school libraries.
“For these reasons, please do not allow any of these books to be checked out while we are in the process of gathering more information. If a book on this list is currently checked out, please do (not) allow it to be checked out again once it's returned.”
Cannizzo said in the email that the district is assembling a committee to “rate the content of the books on the list” and to review the selection process. She did not say how long the process is expected to take.
The books had been complained about and challenged by a right-wing parent. Perez noted that "there’s an increase in challenges to library purchases nationwide. '“What we’re seeing in the publishing world is a lot more marginalized voices-- LGBTQ, Black experiences,' [Wichita’s director of libraries, Jaime] Prothro said. 'These are books that people have been yearning to read, and they're being published with more frequency. And when more diverse books are published, that is actually going to impact the collection makeup of any librar... That’s definitely something that’s kind of pushing on a nerve for a number of people who are more comfortable with more mainstream lifestyles.'... Prothro said she can’t speak specifically to issues at play in Goddard or other districts. But she worries that current debates over books could limit access to diverse stories and experiences. 'That one family may choose not to read something does not determine whether or not it’s appropriate for another family,' she said. 'We really do celebrate the freedom of choice. And in a library situation, if that book isn’t for you, just return it.'"
Here is the list of books ordered to be removed from circulation in Goddard school libraries:
“#MurderTrending” by Gretchen McNeil
“All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson
“Anger is a Gift” by Mark Oshiro
“Black Girl Unlimited” by Echo Brown
“Blended” by Sharon M. Draper
“Crank” by Ellen Hopkins
“Fences” by August Wilson
“Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel
“Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe
“Heavy” by Kaise Laymon
“Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison
“Lily and Dunkin” by Donna Gephart
“Living Dead Girl” by Elizabeth Scott
“Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson
“Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez
“Satanism” by Tamara L. Roleff
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
“The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” by Heidi W. Durrow
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
“The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel” adapted by Renee Nault
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood
“They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bertoletti
“This Book is Gay” by James Dawson
“This One Summer” (graphic novel) by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
“Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard” by Alex Bertie
Goddard is a small town with a population that is smaller than the number of students in my high school, about 5,000. Less than 1% of the residents are Black and there are 3 high schools in the district. Sedgwick County, in which Goddard is located, is pretty representative of the state. Last year, Trump won Kansas with 56.2% of the vote and won Sedgwick with 54.4%. Kansas is 54% vaccinated but Sedgwick is lagging with just 46% vaccinated.