Sunday, August 3, 2008

Should Voters Consider the Technology Awareness of 21st Century Candidates?

Should the computing habits of today's Presidential, Senatorial and Congressional candidates have any bearing at all on the candidate's credentials as voters decide which candidate they should elect on November 4, 2008? Here are a few considerations given in an article that discusses John McCain's lack knowledge on the 21st century computing and Internet tools that are already used by 73 percent of all American adults and an even higher percentage of young adults and teens. Excerpts from a New York Times article titled, "McCain, the Analog Candidate."

"“We’re not asking for a president to answer his own e-mail,” said Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley futurist who teaches at Stanford. “We’re asking for a president who understands the context of what e-mail [and blog] means.”

The [candidate's] “user experience,” Mr. Saffo said, brings with it an implicit understanding of how the country lives, and where it might be heading. As Mr. McCain would lack this, he would also be deficient in this broader appreciation for how technology affects lives [and the American economy.]

Computers have become something of a cultural marker — in politics and in the real world. Proficiency with them suggests a basic familiarity with the day-to-day experience of most Americans [and American businesses] — just as ignorance to them can suggest someone is “out of touch,” or “old.”

“There’s a certain tempo to the thinking of someone who [understands and] uses all kinds of new [technology] media,” said Mr. Saffo, who said he would anoint Mr. Obama, if elected, “the first cybergenic president,” just as John F. Kennedy was considered the first telegenic president."

There is, perhaps, more to this story than just using and understanding personal computers and Internet technology in the 21st century. Incumbents that have not kept up with the times likely do not understand other 21st century technologies that have the potential to benefit Americans and the American economy.

Case in point is the myriad of 21st century alternative energy technologies that stand poised to revolutionize how Americans, and the rest of the world, generate and use energy.

Republican incumbent for the U.S. 3rd Texas Congressional District, Sam Johnson, age 78, Republican incumbent for the U.S. 4th Texas Congressional District, Ralph Hall, age 85, Republican incumbent Senator John Cornyn and Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, age 72, all advocate drilling more oil well holes in the ground and coastal areas as America’s primary energy strategy.

All these Republican incumbents also downplay the impact that alternative energy technologies can bring to American and Texas. Do the Republicans advocate drilling more oil well holes because drilling holes in the ground is the most advanced technology they understand? Or, is it something else? Multiple oil company executives did give huge contributions to Senator McCain's campaign just days after his offshore drilling change of heart. (Until very recently Senator McCain was against offshore drilling.)

T. Boone Pickens may be an old Republican, he is sounding awfully like a younger generation Democrat these days. Watch his T. Boone's TV ad:

Younger candidates such as Tom Daley, Democratic candidate for the U.S. 3rd Texas Congressional District, age 44, and Glenn Melançon Democratic candidate for the U.S. 4th Texas Congressional District, age 42, do understand and do use personal computers and the Internet in the course of their daily lives and to support their respective congressional campaigns.

Both Democratic congressional candidates do understand the dramatic revolution to American industry, white and blue collar job availability and personal life style that 21st century clean alternative energy technologies can bring to a 21st century America. Both Democratic congressional candidates, whose districts meet down the middle of Collin County, stand with U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate for Texas, Rick Noriega, and the Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, for the deployment of clean alternative energy technologies for a better America and a better Texas.

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