On Wednesday, July 13th, Carla Hayden was elected Librarian of Congress. She is the first woman and African-American to ever hold this office, as well as the first professional librarian to hold the office in over 60 years. Although her election was a clear victory, it wasn’t without some drama from Republican side of the aisle.
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An overly vitriolic article was written claiming that her election is President Obama’s attempt to, “divide America by race and gender.” And that the library will be, “a monument to political correctness.” The article argues that Hayden is not being chosen because of her status as a scholar, but because of her status as an African-American woman.
At first glance these points may make Carla Hayden seem like the wrong choice. But there are no real arguments to suggest she is not fit for the job. For example, Hayden has a doctorate degree in library science and has served as president of the American Library Association. Currently she works as chief executive of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and has been widely praised for her performance. What more do Republicans want from the potential head of the Library of Congress?
Despite her experience, an anonymous Republican placed a hold on Hayden’s nomination. This type of behavior from social conservatives is harmful to democracy. Fortunately, the hold was lifted on Wednesday and Hayden won the election 74-18. That fact that one anonymous Republican could potentially sabotage an election is the exact opposite of what we seek as a Democratic nation.
Despite the political drama, Hayden secured her seat as 14th Librarian of Congress. Like all political figures, she will receive the appropriate scrutiny depending on how she performs in office. We should judge her based on the content of her character, and not the color of her skin. It is a shame that our leaders need to be reminded of that important lesson.
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