My son's football practice has a striking view of downtown Denver from the outlying suburbs. As I looked across it this afternoon, I couldn't but help think about the above paragraph knowing that the DNC started today. So where are each of these presidential candidates at in terms of absorbing and adopting technology? Is there one ahead of the other? Will the iron law whisper a winner's name?
There is an iron law in American politics: The party that most quickly absorbs and adopts the latest technology dominates politics. FDR dominated the radio through the fireside chat; JFK triumphed over Nixon in televised debates; Republicans rose to power on talk radio; and Karl Rove mastered the use of direct mail and computerized databases. The next technological political model will revolve around the power of community and individual uploading. In this model, the public officeholder will no longer be the one who promises to solve the problems of the many. Rather, he or she will become a hub of connectivity for the many to work with the many, creating networks of public advocates to identify problems, solve them, and get behind candidates who are ready to mobilize the government and the people in the right direction."
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century,
Release 2.o, by Thomas Friedman
Never having "felt the need to email", McCain openly admits to his computer ignorance and reliance on his wife for tech assistance as seen in an earlier interview with Yahoo/Politico. I can hardly fathom this. In this day and age, a political candidate not really understanding the power of the ever interactive Web? Wow. Unless, of course, there's money to be raised thru it. Then it might get a casual head-nod. But if that is as far as you can see using this incredible medium, then the boat's been missed.
Our country has no national broadband policy, to the worry of many tech experts. This is the same broadband that is quickly becoming a mainstay for education, for how we communicate, and most importantly, for how we conduct our work day. If it's digital, it's ubiquitous. McCain did recently release a technology policy, but I cringe when I read...
John McCain is uniquely qualified to lead our nation during this technological revolution. He is the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The Committee plays a major role in the development of technology policy, specifically any legislation affecting communications services, the Internet, cable television and other technologies. Under John McCain’s guiding hand, Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology that enables Americans to surf the web while sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge, or public park."
He's the same man that doesn't know how to use email! How can you understand the immense power of this thing we call Web 2.0 if you don't use it? It' not about being able to surf at coffee shops or the airport. Here's what it is really about:
Democracy in America is changing...Networked voices are reviving the civic conversation. More people, every day, are discovering this new power. After years of being treated like passive subjects of marketing and manipulation, they want to be heard. Members expect a say in the decision-making process of the organizations they join. Readers want to talk back to the news-makers. Citizens are insisting on more openness and transparency from government...Personal democracy, where everyone is a full participant, is coming."
Manifesto of http://www.personaldemocracy.com/
Does Obama's side get it? We have 120 credentialed DNC bloggers this election compared to a measly 30 credentialed bloggers in 2004. That's an improvement to take note of, but wait. Don't give the credit to the organizers of the DNC. According to Micah Sifry,
Not only are these gatherings (the DNC) still completely geared for television … they're designed for television circa 1990," Sifry said. "Think of it: All they need to do is put up a big banner behind the speakers each night saying, 'Join the conversation -- go to https://www.democrats.org/page/contribute/JoinUs or http://www.rnc.org/ and set up an interface to involve people in live chats by state or ZIP code.' State delegations could be enlisted to participate."
Those who understand this medium, the users, are making it happen. Not a party, the people. There will be many in the days ahead that will continue to participate as never before via the Web. The word is politics are no longer a spectator sport. But still, wouldn't it be nice to have a nominee that really gets this?