What does a lieutenant governor do? Stand in for the governor when they’re out of state, certainly, but the rest of the time it’s more of a Veep-esque listening tour full of corndog-eating, posing with horses, and riding in monster trucks with your bible and gun. You need to work to reach all your constituents but not take so much of the spotlight that you outshine the governor. It’s a narrow target! So we must tip our tricorn hats to Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, who is currently conducting a reading tour of banned books in the Green Mountain State.
At a recent event reported on by the Associated Press, Zuckerman read aloud And Tango Makes Three, a picture book about the real-life devoted pair of male chinstrap penguins at Central Park Zoo who tried to raise a rock as their own egg, and were subsequently given a real chick to parent. The book is frequently challenged for its representation of gay characters (penguins!), as are many of the books targeted by activists.
Zuckerman’s website notes that book bans “often target books that feature LGBTQ+ characters; talk about gender and sexuality; highlight racial disparities; or talk about difficult issues such as substance abuse and cases of police violence.”
There were 1,269 individual attempts to censor library books and other resources in 2022, per statistics kept by the American Library Association. Conservative projects like Moms of Liberty are targeting books at the district level, which means even Democratic strongholds like Vermont can feel the effects of the censorship movement.
“Students, teachers, and curious minds should be able to access materials that spark critical thinking, cover difficult topics, and appeal to diverse interests without fear of government interference,” reads Zuckerman’s statement. Hear, hear!
If you’re in Vermont and would like to catch your Lt. Gov, he has events coming up in Rutland, Essex, and Woodstock.