This is just too much. I’ve been trying to figure out all year how to get my name on the ballot for ALA President, and there were no opportunities. Sure, I could nominate myself, and did! Did anything happen? Absolutely not. So I started exploring other options. Could I petition? Could I have a thousand voters sign to get me on board? I couldn’t find any rules about it. So, finally, I offered myself up as a write-in candidate. It turns out they don’t allow write-in candidates!
Yesterday I went down to the ALA polling station at my local public library to cast my ballot for the Annoyed Librarian as President and about 4600 other people for ALA Council. The poll monitor handed me my ballot and I secreted myself into the curtained booth, only to find there were no spaces for write-in candidates. I went out and asked her about it. She said of course there were no write-in candidates. I asked just who decided the candidates on the ballot, because there sure wasn’t a primary process. She said she assumed there was a cabal in Chicago that decided all these things. "You know Chicago politics!" Seeing as how I was the Annoyed Librarian and the people deserved a say in the election, I offered to expose myself. She said if I did, she’d call the police.
This is a scandal! Does the ALA allow third party candidates for President? They don’t seem to. This is even worse than two party politics. This is one party politics! The American Library Association? They should call it the Soviet Library Association, because that’s how these elections are run.
The ALA likes to prattle on about democracy (and if they don’t, they should), but what kind of democracy is this? The cabal decides who gets on the ballot for President. We don’t have any parties. We don’t have any primaries. We don’t have any caucuses. We don’t have any say! We’re blocked from running the sort of third party campaign that has made this country strong. Think John Anderson in ’80! Ross Perot in ’92! And Ralph Nader in 2000! (On second thought, forget that last one.)
Where were the opinion pollsters trying to figure out how we all stood on important issues of ALA policy so that the candidates would know what we stood for and pretend to agree with us to get our vote? Where were the stump speeches where the candidates mouthed the results of the opinion polls and promised us the moon? Nowhere, that’s where!
It’s no coincidence that ALA is based in Chicago. Typical machine politics. Were we not so apathetic, we’d rise up in arms against the machine.
If it mattered one whit who the President of ALA was for any given year, then I’d really be steamed. As it is, I think I’m just going to have a massage and a strong martini after work.