From Publisher’s Lunch:
“Milwaukee’s Next Chapter Bookshop has taken fire from some people after announcing an appearance later this month by Karl Rove as he tours for Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.
The Journal-Sentinel reports on owner Lanora Hurley responding by explaining the mission of a bookstore: “I just wanted to say to you that the whole point of an independent bookstore is to be a place that protects the First Amendment and allows the public to have access to whatever (legal) materials they would like. I do not agree with every author that comes to my store, nor do I feel it is my right to restrict what books my customers want to buy. I am hoping that my store can be the host to ideas from all over the spectrum.””
Now, I am in no way a fan of Rove. I think he’s done more to damage legal and moral foundations of the United States than just about anybody not fully employed by Fox News. But I’ve got to go with the bookstore on this one. He’s got a right to got a right to write and speak his mind, just like the rest of us. The store is making a valid choice in allowing him space to get up on his particular soap box. I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, but in this case, the store owner is not the appropriate target.
If people want to speak out against Rove’s ideas, I’d suggest showing up for the appearance. In fact, I’d suggest packing the audience, and when the time comes, asking questions. Lots of polite, firm, questions. Blog about your opinions. Tweet, retweet and text. Or even go old school and stand out front with a sign (don’t block the entrance though, that just annoys people who might otherwise be willing to listen). Let Mr. Rove see that despite his best efforts while George W. was in the White House, free speech in the USA is alive and well.