A US Republican candidate in Missouri is literally playing with fire in her quest to rid local libraries of books she claims are nefariously attempting to “groom” children.
Valentina Gomez, a 24-year-old running for Missouri’s secretary of state, shared a video of herself Tuesday using a flamethrower to torch a stack of library books about the LGBTQ+ community, the New York Post reports.
It’s a scene starlight out of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 where in a dystopian Amercia firefighters set fire to books that the government outlaws. Nazis in German also burned books.
“This is what I will do to grooming books when I become secretary of state,” Ms Gomez said in the video, which was posted on X, as intense rap music plays in the background.
After torching the two books Ms Gomez notes, “These books come from a Missouri public library”.
“When I am in office, they will burn,” she adds before the video shows a picture of her holding a large gun.
One of the books Ms Gomez burned was Naked: Not Your Average Sex Encyclopedia written by Myriam Daguzan Bernier.
Naked is described on Amazon as “essential reading” that will provide “answers to questions about sexuality that teens have always had but have been afraid to ask”.
The other book propped up for Gomez to burn was Queer, 2nd Edition: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens.
MS Gomez’s post had been viewed over 800,000 times and garnered thousands of responses, mostly negative, by Wednesday afternoon.
“I at least enjoy that Valentina Gomez is on the record as being an awful candidate/human,” one X user wrote.
“I’m not sure ‘if I’m elected I will burn books’ is really the flex that you think it is,” another commenter chimed in.
Others were quick to make comparisons to Fahrenheit 451 as well as Nazi Germany.
Book burnings were commonplace in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, where any titles deemed “Un-German” or subversive were torched.
Visibility on the video was limited by X as it violated the social media site’s rules against hateful conduct.
MsGomez’s platform of book banning — which many took issue with in response to her video on X — is a stance many Republican leaders across the country have taken up in recent years.
In both Illinois and Massachusetts police were called last year when teachers were reading books about gender identity and sexuality in middle school classrooms.
In some states, like Iowa, federal judges have blocked laws that ban some books from school libraries and prevent teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues. Meanwhile, Florida has blocked in-class discussions of gender and sexuality.
Over 1600 books were banned during the 2021-2022 school year, according to a report from PEN America. More than half of the books that were either banned or challenged had LGBTQ+ themes.
In 2022, efforts to ban books in the US hit a record high, according to a report from the American Library Association.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission.
Originally published as ‘They will burn’: US Republican candidate torches LGBTQ books with flamethrower