Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was the keynote speaker at the ALA Conference in New Orleans. On the political spectrum, where would she stand? Certainly she is somewhere left of center. Those on the right routinely disparage her. But even as a Democratic Clinton-era appointee, she is still not left enough for ALA.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on her speech:
Attempts to condemn Castro's imprisonment of independent librarians and burning of books have been defeated at past ALA conventions, so for Albright -- who became the nation's first female secretary of state during the Clinton administration -- to criticize the Cuban regime before the group was potentially explosive. But she did not dwell on the history of the organization's attitude toward the Castro regime.
This is ALA today: such a strong defender of the Communist regime of Fidel Castro (Castro!) that it will refuse to support Cuban librarians abused by him!
What percentage of Americans support Communism? One percent? Three percent tops? Is there really no one who thinks it strange that Madeleine Albright's support of librarians under Castro's thumb would be "potentially explosive" to ALA librarians??
We are in the Twilight Zone.
But she won her loudest applause for oblique slaps at President Bush.
Castro yay; Bush nay. ALA librarians, circa 2006.
Other bloggers have reported on Albright's speech, including the antics of members of the so-called "Social Responsibilities Round Table" who distributed a flyer against Albright's appearance!
I'd like to see ALA sponsor a survey on the political persuasions of its members. Clearly, communists, socialists, and liberals are represented in faraway greater numbers than in the general population. Supposedly there is a push afoot to bring more "diversity" into the profession, but so far as I've heard, that doesn't include political diversity.
And as I've said before, it is not in the best interests of libraries or librarians for the national library association to be skewed so far in one direction. A moderate political course should be charted to keep doors open on both sides of the political aisles. This would benefit not only the profession but the people libraries are paid to serve as well.
The ghastly current situation of a pro-Castro (Castro!) library association needs to be immediately addressed.
I defy any ALA official to make a logical case for a politically unbalanced association as it stands today. I'm up for a few more laughs.
tags: libraries, librarians, ala, ala2006, madeleine+albright, fidel+castro