Yes, Republicans are burning books
In their book ban crusade, GOP politicians have claimed liberals were exaggerating in making comparisons to Nazi book burnings. Then came a Missouri candidate and her flamethrower.
Back in September, Missouri GOP State Senator Bill Eigel, while running for governor, claimed he was going to take “woke” books and burn them at the governor’s mansion.
He said this as he and right-wing state Senator Nick Schroer posted a video on X in which they use flamethrowers, setting fire to empty cardboard boxes, with Eigel stating that this is “what I am going to do to the leftist policies and RINO corruption of the Jeff City swamp.”
When he was accused of engaging in actions similar to those of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, when the German Student Union held book burnings as it purged libraries, he attacked the critics for engaging in falsehoods. He claimed they were “promoting lies," stating that “no books” were “targeted.”
SA officer burning books in Berlin, May 10, 1933 (United States Holocaust Museum)
Governor Ron DeSantis, who spearheaded book bans in Florida and was similarly criticized for censoring books and backing the same kind of Nazi purges of books, defended against the attacks and said the criticisms of him and comparisons to governments that engaged in censorship were a “hoax."
But now we have a MAGA-crazed Republican secretary of state candidate in Missouri burning actual books on a video that she posted on X and Instagram, which has gone viral.
Valentina Gomez incinerated two books: an LGBTQ guide for teens and a sex education book.
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In the video her voice is tinged with violence as she blasts flames on books she claims are used to “groom” kids. The vicious lie about LGBTQ people:
This is what I will do to the grooming books when I become secretary of state. These books come from a Missouri public library. When I’m in office, they will burn.
Gomez’s campaign emailed a response to NBC News:
“You want to be gay? Fine be gay. Just don’t do it around children,” the statement said. “Stop putting books in libraries about sexualization, indoctrination and grooming of children….am against all drag shows around children, pride flags in classrooms, teachers with pronouns, people wanting to ‘change’ genders, and people that can’t even define what a woman is. If genitals don’t define gender, how does removing them affirm it. I only fear God.”
This is pure, unadulterated hate, coming from someone who not only wants to incinerate books but wants to incinerate homosexuality itself. “Don’t do it around my children" is telling people not to be LGBTQ, period. To keep themselves in the closet—while Gomez wants to be able to flaunt her “God” in front of children. It’s the epitome of Christian nationalism and MAGA extremism.
And Gomez’s actions show us how far this movement will go. Only months ago, they attacked critics who said they were hellbent on burning books. But here they are, doing just that, and Gomez received enormous accolades on X and Instagram from MAGA followers.
I have no idea if Gomez has any chance of being Missouri’s secretary of state. She’s 24 years old, and has no experience in politics. Her website describes her this way:
Valentina is a real estate investor, financier, strategist, former NCAA Division I swimmer, relentless achiever, and a fierce advocate for the principles values we hold dear as Americans battling for a better future.
It doesn't exactly sound like someone who is ready to be secretary of state. But whether or not she will be successful in getting elected, Gomez is speaking the MAGA base’s grievances—her “mission” calls for removing “electronic voting machines to successfully transition towards universal paper ballot hand counting”—and simply by running and using violent imagery, she is promoting hate.
She’s fanning the flames, if you will, of everything the Trumpists and the Christian nationalists have been trying to normalize as acceptable in both rhetoric and actions. And she’s young, at 24, just like those in the German Student Union, all deeply committed to the Nazi movement and galvanizing many more young people.
Ten years ago, nobody thought we’d be at the point where books about history, slavery, African-American life, LGBTQ equality, and classic works of fiction, from Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” to Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” would be removed from libraries and banned from schools. We shouldn’t be surprised that they’re now moving to mainstream the act of burning books.