Finding My Way
Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
— Abraham Lincoln
The presidential election is history, the President and Vice President have been duly inaugurated and the members of the new administration are setting up their offices in Alabaster House and going to work. I was travelling from my home in the Ozarks to beautiful Lincoln, New Mexico for a mini-meet at Asteroid Lil's when the results of the election were announced. I was hoping to win, of course, and believed I would finish in the top three. But I was still a bit surprised to be greeted in Lincoln with the words, 'Hello, Madam President'. I won't tell you how I replied, as it would look unseemly for the President to be moderated. My first thought was, 'Oh no! What do I do now?' But after getting used to the idea, I came to the conclusion that it's good to be the President.
I had a wonderful, energetic running mate and a great campaign staff. I wouldn't be in this position if Jodan hadn't worked so hard to make it possible. He told me going into the campaign that he could deliver the sheep vote, and by golly he did it. Asteroid Lil is the best campaign manager anyone ever had. She was joined by several other very hard-working individuals. My thanks to Spynxxx, LLL Waz, Ormondroyd, Marv the Grate and EvilClaw for all their hard work during the campaign.
I also want to thank Croz for all of his efforts setting up the election. He put in many, many hours on the project. And my thanks to Reefgirl and The Post for their work promoting the election and giving all of the candidates a venue for their Party Political Broadcasts.
The biggest thanks, however, must go to the voters. I thank each and every one of you who voted for the Ozark Party, whether in first or second position. I had some very distinguished opponents and I realise that making a choice was difficult for many of you. So thank you one and all.
One question I have been asked is why I wanted to run for President of h2g2. Well, the obvious answer is because it was fun. I enjoyed the campaign. I got to chat with lots of researchers I hadn't met before. I made some new friends, which is always a nice thing to have happen. And I finally got top billing over the sheep.
I did not run for the power of the office, because there isn't any. Those of you who are students of world governments realise that there are two kinds of power: de facto power and de jure power. On h2g2, de facto power belongs to the italics and their bosses. They run h2g2, not the inhabitants of Alabaster House. One might make a case for the President having de jure power, since I was legally and properly elected by a vote of my peers. But then the question becomes, elected to do what? Unlike the royal family, I don't have a job. There is no list of Presidential duties. I will not be invited to meetings. I will not be consulted for my opinion. I will not be asked to have my picture taken so it can hang in the h2g2 office at the BBC. The President has no more influence than any other researcher. What to do? What to do?
Does the Presidency mean nothing at all, then? After some thought and several glasses of Uncle Harvey's cider it struck me that if the Presidency is going to mean something, it is up to me to make that happen. Since I am only the second President there is no reason why I can't create duties for myself and establish precedents.
It's settled, then. This is a situation most people only dream about: the chance to write my own job description. Life is good. Okay, here goes. (I'm being serious, by the way. No mention of badgers or ham(p)sters.) This is what I think the President's job should be.
The President of h2g2 should be a cheerleader for the community. That doesn't mean dressing up in a short pleated skirt and shaking a pompom in your face. It means staying positive, encouraging our Researchers to write for the Guide, the UnderGuide and The Post, encouraging our community artists, promoting intelligent conversation and trying to get everyone to realise that h2g2 is greater than the sum total of its parts.
The President should also foster community spirit. This might sound strange to those of you who view h2g2 as just another website where anonymous people assume phony identities so they can behave badly without having to suffer any consequences. I am living proof that h2g2 is a community filled with real people who come together, develop real friendships and share their lives. And when there is friction, it is real people who are hurt and discouraged. That's why it is important to enforce community standards. I believe that the President should set an example of civility, should be friendly and welcoming and should be responsive to the concerns of the community.
The President doesn't have any authority. But I can step on stage and remind people what's good about h2g2. This will be my way of giving something back to a community that helped me through a very difficult time in my life.
Vice President Jodan and I plan to use this column to keep you abreast of the happenings in Alabaster House and to discuss whatever topics are on our minds. So look for us whenever you read The Post.
Today (if you are reading this on Thursday) is Thanksgiving Day in the US. A lovely custom is for each person present at a celebration to tell the group one thing for which he is thankful. My reply is the same this year as every year. I am thankful for family and friends. I wish each of you good health, a warm hearth, a full stomach and a day filled with companionship.