I get annoyed when conservative commentators get hostile when a musician or an actor takes a liberal political stand. Whenever that happens, the Limbaughs and O'Reillys are sure to fulminate about the perverseness of celebrities daring to have political opinions. The irony that their political opinions make them celebrities seems to escape them. And it almost seems like cheating to point out that Ronald Reagan was a professional actor who would never have achieved the prominence he did if he hadn't leveraged his celebrity. Actors are as entitled to be passionate about politics as anyone else -- but because they're individuals, not as actors.
Same with librarians. As Marcus notes in a recent post, we tend, as a group, to lean left. I don't know why. One might speculate, I suppose, that a commitment toward freedom of information is bundled up with a host of other beliefs that push one toward a more liberal political bent. But "liberal" and "conservative" have become such confused hot buttons these days that I'm hesitant to take that very far. Leave it as an empirical fact.
But it isn't universal. Individual librarians run the full gamut of the political spectrum, and I know Republican-leaning librarians who have found themselves in uncomfortable situations when they're with a group of their peers who are enjoying some convivial Bush-bashing without realizing that not everyone at the table shares the same views.
How we deal with that is complicated. Politeness among colleagues demands that we be sensitive to the views of others when we gather together. It doesn't mean, however, that we don't get to express political views -- as individuals. We just shouldn't be surprised if everyone at the table doesn't feel the same way.
As librarians, it's a different issue. We may have a professional stake in the Patriot Act or copyright legislation. It is probably not an issue for librarianship whether or not Sam Alito is confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.
But the lines aren't always clear. When we gather at conferences, we gather as librarians, but that doesn't mean that we check our individuality at the door. If my president were to be impeached (let me indulge in fantasy for a moment), I would oppose any attempt on the part of the Medical Library Association to take a position on whether or not that was a good thing. But if I were in the audience when a speaker made positive comments about it, I would certainly cheer. Those opposed are more than welcome to boo.