Chatting with Debby Preiser, the events lady at Oak Park Public Library, yesterday, I got a glowing account of a recent session with Iraq and Viet Nam war vets, all but one of whom (five in all) regretted their and our participation in those wars. Interesting, she said with a smile, and I smiled back. She had glimmed my No Obama ‘08 cap (my Rohrshach test of tolerance levels) before recounting the vets’ session, held I assume in the library’s Veterans Room.
I felt somewhat buffeted by the account, but Debby is a sales person, and selling gets that way sometimes. In any case, it put me in mind of a trend I have been noticing and storing in the back of my crowded, cluttered mind, that our library serves its supposed constituency a steady diet of progressive (let no man say liberal) programs.
In this case, the vets endorsed an anti-war position, and that could have been merely the luck of the draw, reflecting Oak Park and literary Chicago’s widespread firmly held convictions. A similar program in Mississippi or Oklahoma would have produced a different response, I imagine.
Nonetheless, assuming it was accidental in this case — pure chance, let us say — we cannot help notice that library programs tilt heavily to the left. That’s us in Oak Park, yes, but we are also literate, urbane, highly educated, and keenly interested in intelligent, even intellectual debate and discussion, are we not? Including conservative ideas in a debate atmosphere.
Why not a debate, to give an example, between an Al Gore acolyte (Al would be great, but he declines debate) and a nay-sayer, each of some professional heft and platform style. Sounds like money to me, and not available from the Great ATM in Washington probably, but who knows? Stranger expenditures have happened and will happen, now that happy-go–lucky times are here again. Meanwhile, our library movers and shakers might give it a thought. After all, why be left all the time?