Commentary: Why Didn’t I Think of That…


By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Earlier this month, social media and other news services reported: “School Board President Trolls ‘Moms For Liberty’ By Using Stack Of Banned Books To Get Sworn In.”

Given what we have seen recently in Davis and the Moms for Liberty jabs at a school board member for promoting certain books?  I found this story irresistible.

Apparently: “Pennsylvania Democrat Karen Smith decided to take her oath of office as the new Central Bucks Board President on a stack of banned and challenged books instead of a Bible.”

The report notes, “Pennsylvania Democrat Karen Smith earned social media plaudits after she decided to take her oath of office as the new Central Bucks Board President on a stack of banned and challenged books instead of a Bible—a direct jab at the far-right organization Moms for Liberty.”

It continues, “Over the last couple of years, the group has infiltrated school districts as part of a larger campaign by Republicans to energize conservative voters, particularly in school board elections. The organization has actively worked to remove books from school libraries and campaigned against school curriculums that mention LGBTQ+ rights, race, and discrimination.

“Smith, among the five Democrats who secured victory in the elections, emphasized their collective stance against the previous Republican majority’s policies of book banning and anti-LGBTQ+ measures. This electoral victory transformed the board’s dynamics from 6–3 Republican to a 6–3 Democratic majority.”

The story went on to note: “Smith expressed her commitment to students’ freedom to read by choosing a stack of books challenged or banned in schools across the country. Her gesture signified a stance against censorship and a pledge to uphold open access to diverse literature.

“Among the six books she placed her hand on were novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes, including works by Donna Gephart, George M. Johnson, Mike Curato, and Susan Kuklin.”

That’s right, the infamous book by Mike Curato which people are wanting to ban despite not having read it…

Also of interest is that Smith “originally served on the school board as a Republican before changing her party affiliation in 2021, cited a pivotal moment when she disagreed with fellow conservatives on matters regarding transgender issues. This disagreement led her to switch parties, feeling that the Republican Party had strayed from her values.”

The article noted, “The new board, under Smith’s leadership, has overturned controversial policies enacted by its predecessors, including bans on specific library books, Pride flags, and restrictions on transgender student athletes.”

Those who believe that Moms for Liberty represents a silent majority in Davis might consider fielding a candidate on the ballot so we can see how they will perform.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Keith Olsen

    I think it’s time to bring this back again.  David wrote this in an article months ago.

    How many articles has David written about Beth Bourne and M4L since then?  A dozen?


    My suggestion to the rest of the community is, once the event is held tonight, simply stop responding, stop engaging.  

    1. Walter Shwe

      I think I might know why right wing extremist and prude Keith is regressing back in time. He is still mad that he was shouted down yesterday for wanting to ban certain books he deemed to be in inappropriate just like the Moms for Liberty and other right wing groups have done nationwide.

      1. Matt Williams

        There you go again Walter “ad hominem” Shwe, you can’t resist attacking the messenger when simply addressing the message will do.  What “greater good” do you serve by personally attacking Keith?  He and you are mirror images of one another … both desperately clinging to the far fringe of your respective left and right political directions.  Doesn’t the world have enough nastiness for you?

        ad hominem

        ad ho·​mi·​nem (ˈ)ad-ˈhä-mə-ˌnem 


        : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
        an ad hominem argument


        : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
        made an ad hominem personal attack on his rival


        1. Todd Edelman

          Matt: I find distasteful your hint at a false equivalency of “fringe” right and left in the context of a discussion about Trans rights and related. It’s clear which one stands up for equity human rights in this issue.

          Further it’s not actually clear what you mean by “fringe left”.

          (Note that I am not saying that you are untasty… just that your words are…. so hopefully no ad hominisms here, yes?)

        2. Matt Williams

          Todd, I’m not sure where there is any confusion.  In a bidirectional reality, a fringe is one of the two outer edges … and there are only two. Nothing more, nothing less.

          You are inserting/injecting the element of correct and/or wrong into what I said.  That is a unilateral inference on your part.  Nothing that I said explicitly stated, or even implied, anything about right or wrong.

          Fringe left is the furthest left (in aggregate) that you can go from center and still be in the playing field.  Just as fringe right is the furthest right you can go from center and still be on the playing field.


    2. Matt Williams

      Keith Olsen asked … “How many articles has David written about Beth Bourne and M4L since then?  A dozen?”

      I’m not sure what your point is Keith.  Beth in her own words has clearly said that she is on a public relations campaign using the media and in person events to call attention to her firmly believed message.  If we can take her at her word, wouldn’t she see the copious amount of coverage provided by the Vanguard as a plus?  Donald Trump certainly would see it that way.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Matt, I’m not the one who wrote:

        My suggestion to the rest of the community is, once the event is held tonight, simply stop responding, stop engaging.  

        David is.  So Matt, why has David written about a dozen articles since then about M4L and Beth?


        1. Matt Williams

          Keith, you have asked that question several times, and David has replied each time with the same answer … that the news cycle has provided new information or a new event that rises to the level of being worthy of comment.

        2. Keith Olsen

          I think it’s more David knows that even though he’s doing exactly what he told the rest of the community not to do he also knows that engaging M4L and Beth on his blog will draw more readers.

          1. David Greenwald

            A lot of assumptions here. A key one is that this is driving readership, and really, other than the bomb threats back in September, it’s not. I think you need to understand that my job is different from activists in the community. Also I think you need to understand I think I was wrong to suggest that back in September – the problem is continuing unabated. Private people are getting dragged into this. There is a huge amount of community harm occurring. Beth and Moms for Liberty are not gaining anything by this, but they are succeeding in making people miserable.

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