The cancel culture phenomenon literally hit home for me last week when a neighboring school district in Northern Virginia announced it would no longer associate March 2’s annual Read Across America Day literacy event with the beloved Dr. Seuss. Why? Because the overlords of Loudoun County Public Schools decided that six early Dr. Seuss books contained “strong racial undertones.”
Days later, the company that manages Dr. Seuss’ publishing interests joined this reckoning of their namesake, announcing they would no longer continue to publish those six books. EBay likewise bent the knee and will no longer sell those Dr. Seuss titles.
This chain of events was amplified by the national media, spotlighting the take-no-prisoners tactics employed by the culture warriors of political correctness.
Such an ambush on a cultural icon cuts deeply. After months of lockdowns and school closures, American families need Dr. Seuss now more than ever.
Over the past year, parents have had to make the difficult decision when it comes to their children’s schooling. We’ve quickly discovered the futility of virtual learning, where kids learn virtually nothing.
Many parents with younger kids, like myself, have opted to keep them at home and try to teach them ourselves. Whichever option parents have chosen—online or homeschooling—they’ve undoubtedly found themselves reading more with their young children. And Dr. Seuss remains, for many, the book series of choice.
In our home, we’ve often returned to the high jinks from a silly cat in a hat who somehow managed to reverse domestic disaster before mother came home. Eating nutritiously green food—of all things, eggs and ham—suddenly became more realistic to my 4-year-old with a rhyme scheme that even his toddling brother enjoys.
Just the other day, my fellow mom friends and I were chatting about the top 10 books our preschool-aged kids enjoy reading the most. For all but one of us, a Dr. Seuss book was on that list.
Sadly, COVID-19 has meant my children have seen only sparingly their little buddies, a reality many families have faced. That makes the unforgettable characters in books like Dr. Seuss’ even more important and real for kids.
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They have become, in some ways, friends who children can see and enjoy without having to wear a mask or socially distance.
Dr. Seuss became even more prescient during the COVID-19 Christmas season. In his Christmas Day homily, our priest spoke of the uplifting lesson we can glean from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Just as the Grinch robbed the joyous Christmas trappings from the Whos of Whoville, COVID-19 cut us off from the season’s pleasantries. And yet, as in the book, those absences couldn’t stop the true meaning of Christmas from coming. It came.
And just as the Grinch’s heart grew two sizes after his Yuletide epiphany, the true meaning of Dr. Seuss is arising in the hearts of Americans. As of Friday morning, 15 of the books on Amazon’s top 20 list for bestsellers were Dr. Seuss works.
Should the staples of our culture like Dr. Seuss be left without critique? Of course not, and the whole of Dr. Seuss is not being banned—at least not yet.
But the attempts to muffle Dr. Seuss when parents and kids need him most are unconscionable.
The goal of these attacks is to vilify yet another American icon and shame anyone who buys his books. Now, we must step up for Seuss by keeping the woke left’s would-be medical-malpractice lawyers from revoking the good doctor’s license.
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