Regular readers of this blog know that I am a Jane Austen super fan. If someone were to ask me to describe a character or a scene, I could do so with a reasonable amount of detail. The same could be said for anyone who has regularly the Bible, or any book that is the foundation of a religion.
While on the campaign trail back in 2016, you know was asked to refer to his favorite passage in the Christian Bible. As he often does when asked a direct question, he found a way to not answer the question.
Yesterday, in response the protests in front of the White House and around the country, he did not address the nation as any other President would. Sending police to clear the crowd, he took a walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The church has been a site of Presidential worship for over 200 years.
Instead of speaking of the multiple crises that the United States is experiencing in a meaningful manner, he picked up a Bible and used it as a prop. There was only one reason for this, a photo op and a message to his base.
He is not the first, nor will he be the last to invoke the name and image of G-d (in whatever form G-d takes) for questionable purposes. But given what this nation is going through, the last thing we need is a hypocritical President who says one thing, does another, and only prefers those who blindly support him.
America is at the moment of reckoning. This nation has two choices. We can vote for Joe Biden and move forward. Or, we can vote him in for another term and go down a rabbit hole that I don’t want to think about.
Yesterday, I met two friends for lunch. We had not seen each other for a while and it was time for us to catch up with one another.
Between the three of us, we have read and/or own quite a few books.
One of my friends had never been to the Stephen Schwarzman Building, which is the main branch of the New York Public Library. My other friend and I had been there many times, mainly to pick up or return books. To be honest, I don’t think about the experience of visiting the library, my focus is the books that I either need to check out or return.
But my other friend had never been to that library. The look on her face was of pure joy and wonder. It reminded me that a new perspective on an old favorite can be an unexpected surprise. Looking at the library through her eyes, I was reminded of the majesty and beauty of this temple dedicated to books, knowledge and learning.
If a book is a treasure, then the public library is a temple with countless and priceless treasures.
Paul Dorr is a Christian activist from Iowa. Displeased with a local Pride event last week, he burned several library books that belonged to the Orange City Public Library. The books were burned because they encouraged the reader to see beyond the stereotypes of the LGBTQ community.
While freedom of speech guarantees that Mr. Dorr can say what he likes without fear of repercussion, he cannot just burn books just because he disagrees with the subject matter. Especially books that are not his.
History has taught us that when books are burned, bodies come soon after.
It’s one thing to disagree with the subject of a book, it’s another thing to destroy it because it does not fit in with your personal beliefs.
200 years ago today, Jane Austen breathed her last breath. No one could have predicted that her immortal afterlife has long outlasted her short 41 years on Earth.
Jane Austen is and will forever be a genius. Her writing is full of human characters who still resonate with readers and audiences 200 years after they were introduced to the Regency era reading public.
Sense And Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are adored the world over. Reading her books is like visiting an old friend, the experience never gets old or dull.
As a woman, a writer and a feminist, I look to Jane for comfort, for solace and for strength. She lived in an era when a woman’s only choice was marriage. Marriage in her time was more about income and status than love, companionship and mutual interests. She could have easily given into the pressure and married to keep a roof over her head and food on her plate. But she chose to not marry and instead, she created her own path. 200 years later, we still walk on the path that she created and we still admire her for being strong enough to create that path.
Thank you, Jane, for your strength, your courage, your wit, your intelligence and your amazing ability to craft a story. My world would not be the same without you.