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And for what we have left undone

As soon as the ALA election ended, I felt queasy. Sure enough, the results came in, and while I was pleased to see that Jim Rettig had won the presidency (though it still irks me that the race was between Jim and Nancy Davenport, two worthy individuals), I was ashamed that Jo Ann Pinder had lost for treasurer.

It’s not that ALA will be that much worse for having a different treasurer (my theory is that anyone who runs for treasurer right there has a leg up on the job, because who else would even want it?), or that Jo Ann couldn’t run on her own again if she wanted to.

It’s that I didn’t do my part to get her elected. I can come up with excuses–I was distracted by a tough job situation, new to Florida, blah blah–but I think about all the times people have helped me, times when quite often they have set aside their own crises and priorities for my life, and I feel that I had a chance to play my part in the karmic goodness of the universe, a chance that would have taken so little and done so much–surely I could have helped scare up at least some of the 178 votes she needed, at the very least by a couple of blog posts–and I didn’t do it.

(The ALA Council elections were also disappointing–a couple of good wins, but overall the Council continues to be composed of 20th-century librarians.)

Was I “busy”? We are all “busy.” I had time for Jo Ann. But I was distracted and self-absorbed, focused on Me on My Pity-Pot (a throne that looks very small when you consider the real grief life can bring). Jo Ann wasn’t the only person or thing I neglected (it is as if I suddenly went away on a very long trip, returning to unopened mail, unanswered messages, and unhung bird feeders). But I feel the sting of my inaction because I have always felt Jo Ann–beyond her sheer competence and her tremendous grit–is the kind of person who believes in the Golden Rule.

I can’t hit the undo button and fix this, but I can commit that I’m going to strive to keep my promises, my perspective, and my commitment to the well-being of others.

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