This is a moment when values we see as core to our American democracy are under frontal assault. Freedom to worship. Freedom to vote. Freedom to choose. Freedom to think, to read, to learn real history — not the white supremacist version of our country’s complex, soiled and joyful history.

And the fear-fueled minority being exploited by twisted MAGA leaders are winning battles, for the moment, in way too many places.

But this is our place. Forest Park. And it is beyond gratifying to see key institutions in this small town stand up for values of freedom and expression. 

That is why the Forest Park Review is heartened to be part of a partnership this September with the Forest Park Public Library and the Forest Park Arts Alliance to speak up during the national Banned Books Week about the power of ideas and their free expression.

As Tom Holmes reports in today’s Review, the three groups are sponsoring a “Use Your Voice” writing contest for young people and adults. The theme of the contest is “What does your freedom as a reader mean to you?”

Organizers urge you to think about the book that has most shaped your thinking and the author whose works you have turned to for challenge and inspiration.

The details of the contest and its various elements are in the news story. We’d note the Review is looking forward to publishing the top entries in both the youth and adult categories. 

As we see public and school libraries elsewhere bend to outrageous and bigoted demands that books — often focused on sexuality and gender, forthright telling of history — be removed from shelves and cut from reading lists, we are so grateful to see the leaders of Forest Park’s vital public library step up and declare that banning books is a small-minded assault on American freedom.

Glad also to see the Arts Alliance, Forest Park’s evolving and growing arts community, stand up to those same forces in the name of artistic freedom.

Welcome to the race

It has not exactly been a secret that John Doss was going to run for mayor in 2023. It has been rumored over several years. We reported the likelihood back in May. And before August closes, Doss will celebrate the news at a campaign event at Doc Ryan’s.

In an interesting interview today with our Igor Studenkov, Doss begins to make his case. He talks up public safety and community development. He starts to create differentiation from Mayor Rory Hoskins who will run for re-election next spring. 

There is still time for others to join the race. We’re glad though to see two credible and thoughtful people ready to compete (we trust in a civil manner) for votes. A competitive race for mayor — and, we hope, the village council — is only good for the future of our village.