Warning: This blog may challenge your complacency, stir your conscience and cause you to stand up and do the right thing
I don’t get political. Perhaps it’s because for fifteen years I was a congregational rabbi and understood politics divide communities, wound friendships and ruin families. Perhaps it’s because I’m from Nebraska, have as many conservative Christian friends as I do liberal Jewish friends, don’t live in an echo chamber, and can hold the tension of opposites. Or perhaps it’s because I don’t believe that spewing politics on social media is anything more than antagonizing, baiting or shaming the “other.” Or perhaps it’s because I like to save up my social capital to speak out when it matters most, to defend the “other,” moments like this when that other is none other than Dr. Seuss!
Cancel Culture Strikes Again
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”Dr. Seuss
As everyone knows, the cancel culture has claimed its most recent victim in Dr. Seuss. Six of Dr Seuss’s books were cancelled, albeit self-cancelled, by his foundation. However, let’s be honest – his foundation doesn’t believe he is a racist, nor do they believe his books foment hatred.
It’s just another example of a terrified and cowardly organization cowering in fear to the vicious woke mob. A group of people, as Bill Maher says, that should start standing their ground! Instead, they betrayed this great man, throwing him to the ground faster than you can say, “green eggs and ham.”
Bravo Dr. Seuss Foundation, bravo. Way to stand up to irrationality, insanity and bullying. “Courage doesn’t always roar,” taught Dr. Seuss. “Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” Well, courage definitely didn’t roar today, but maybe you’ll try again tomorrow. However, we will speak up and speak out on his behalf today. After all, Dr. Seuss spent his life standing up to injustice. It’s the least we can do.
Social Justice Warrior
This was no bigot. He was a true social justice warrior, not going after “the racist” Abraham Lincoln or “the anti-semite” Shakespeare, but true evil, creating hundreds upon hundreds of cartoons and illustrations taking on actual racists, anti-semites and haters – the ones he’s accused of now being.
This was a man who went head to head against Hitler in the pages of his art, such as in a Dr. Seuss book called Adolf the Wolf, a book which described Adolf as, “And the Wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones…” and over 400 publications targeting Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini abroad, and racial bigotry here at home.
And yet, here we are, having to defend a man who spent his life fighting Jim Crow and Nazis. His good name tainted. His great art burned. His tremendous legacy questioned.
Why? Because he is judged by impossible, utopian standards. He is being held to today’s consciousness of what is deemed woke and what is deemed racist. He is being tried by a hysterical woke mob that believes in burning books. And be warned: this is a mob that will be coming for you, too. Just wait. Someday your grandchildren will cancel you for driving a fossil fuel powered car, or sitting on couches made of animals, or throwing away plastic, or building nuclear weapons, or watching The Kardashians (fine, for that we should be judged).
Today’s action against Dr. Seuss is nothing less than a witch hunt. What has transpired regarding his books is simply today’s version of a good old fashioned book burning. There are no bonfires involved, but it’s book burning nonetheless. With the push of a button, books disappear right off your virtual shelf, up in virtual smoke. In the words of Heinrich Heine, however, burner beware, “wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.”
Do you know who also burned books? Adolf Hitler.
Guess what he burned next? That’s right, millions, upon millions of innocent human beings, up in real smoke in the ovens of Auschwitz. And of those millions human beings, 1.5 million of them were children. Burnt alive by real evil, by a real villain, a monster who should really be cancelled. But guess what? He’s not.
Guess whose book you can find on Amazon? No, not Dr. Seuss’s, If I Ran the Zoo, that one has too much hate. For $10.99 you can purchase your own copy of Mein Kampf. Yes, that’s right, Hitler’s manifesto on how to eradicate the “other.” The book about a fictitious zoo that celebrates diversity is banned. The book about real death camps which eradicated diversity is available. So let me get this straight, tonight you won’t be able to read to your child a heart-warming story about young Gerald McGrew who ran a zoo, but you can read an “oven-warming” tale of vile hatred, bigotry and evil – the real kind, not the stuff of children’s dreams, but children’s nightmares – 1.5 million nightmares to be exact.
Show Me One Child
Show me one child, just one, who became a hater because of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Now show me one child, just one, who became a better person because of Mein Kampf?
In either case, you can’t. You won’t find her. She doesn’t exist. Why?
Because Hitler was evil. And good never comes from evil.
Because Dr. Seuss was good. And evil never comes from good.
Because the woke mob, once again, has burned the wrong book, come for the wrong man, and cancelled the wrong culture.
Yes, there is real bigotry in the world. Yes, there is real hatred in the world. Yes, there is real evil in the world. Bigotry, hatred and evil that needs to be fought and cancelled…
But it probably isn’t’ Sergeant Mulvaney in And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. And it definitely isn’t Gerald McGrew in If I Ran the Zoo. And it absolutely, unequivocally, is not Theodore Seuss Geisel, a man who devoted his life to fighting bigotry, hatred and evil. Dr. Seuss, a person who gave his lifeblood to delighting the imaginations of children, teaching them that “Sneetches are Sneetches, and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.” Inspiring these little souls to get out into the world and build a more beautiful, diverse, imaginative and loving reality, reminding us all to, “Stand up and cheer, saying ‘WOW! What this zoo must be worth! / It’s the gol-darndest zoo / On the face of the earth!’”
Stand Up And Cheer
Stand up and cheer for this man – don’t throw him under a car, a bus, a train or a plane.
Stand up and read his beautiful books – read them here and there and everywhere.
Yes, stand up and cancel true evil wherever it exists – when we do we all win.
However, when we cancel good men and women, when we cancel their good works, when we cancel their good books – we all lose.
As this good man told us, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
It’s time to choose!