So much for limited government Republicans in Congress! Criticized for years as “do-nothing” legislators, now the anti-immigration wing of the GOP has awoken to begin a thought war, by ordering librarians to categorize immigration as ‘illegal aliens’ or ‘alien’ in your library’s card catalogue systems. Tennessee Tea Partier Rep. Diane Black told Glenn Beck’s miserable conservative hate rag The Blaze about her proud accomplishment, in striking boldly at the impartial duties of librarians across the United States, now trampled in her thought war. And the worst part is that it all seems so innocuous on first read:
“The Librarian of Congress shall continue to use the terms ‘Alien’ and ‘Illegal aliens’ in the Library of Congress Subject Headings in the same manner at they were in effect during 2015.”
No less a source than the Associated Press – the arbiter of all things journalism – deemed the term “illegal immigrant” as more an insult than a description. Illegal alien is a harsher form of the pejorative term used by hard-line Republicans to de-humanize the tired, poor and huddled masses, many of whom might be Latino, and who may arrive in America seeking a better life. The changes won’t affect the old massive wooden card catalogues, but rather the meta-data every American who reads a book or uses a library needs to search for books and information, as the Daily Kos notes:
In order to fulfill this mandate, catalogers maintain library catalogs. Nowadays, of course, the “catalog” is not a single physical unit, say, a piece of furniture filled with catalog cards, but a distributed network of carefully structured bibliographic metadata that enable users to discover books, either by bibliographic criteria (e.g., “I’m looking for a book by such and such an author”), or by topical criteria (“I’m looking for a book about such and such a thing.”)
The Republican Party – especially its southern members – are in a perpetual state of whine about Federal overreach by applying equal justice and the laws of the constitution to protect minority rights, voting rights and free speech. But here’s a Republican congresswoman in a do-nothing congress, bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers without anything else to better to do, than lay her government hands on your free information, and just to poison the discussion from above about immigrants. If the Republicans have their way, they’ll cripple the free speech of librarians, who are a group of primarily public servants, and whose catalogue choices impact the freedom of all information in all of America.
We can’t let them win this “thought war”, because aliens are from outer space – if they exist – and immigrants are people too, my friend.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition