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It's Still Not Enough

BY Tracy Russo | Tuesday, June 17 2008

Last week I spit out some thoughts I'd been having on the issue of John McCain's admitted inability to use a computer:

Every day the internet and new technology are changing our worlds. People are living their lives online, and it has made a difference in the way we consume goods and services, the way we communicate and the way we interact in this global village.

I can’t comprehend electing a president who doesn’t get that. I can’t fathom a president who doesn’t have the everyday understanding of what it means to hear “You’ve Got Mail” or doesn’t have the frame of reference to laugh at the unending spam in our inboxes. These are small things, but things that seem as regular to me as knowing the price of a gallon of milk.

How do you lead a people forward when you are stuck in the past? How do you inspire, elevate, and imagine the greatness that is ahead if you don’t understand the world we must navigate to get to those places?

It seems I wasn't the only one who'd been having those thoughts. Markos and Atrios both chimed in as well with similar assessments.

Now the Politico says John McCain isn't ready to acquiesce the tech vote, claiming in an interview that he understands technology because he has young children:

"As the father of young men and women ranging from 16 to 23, I understand from them not only their issues but how important and vital a role the Internet plays," McCain said.

The thing is - that still isn't enough for me. The internet isn't like taking a space walk or performing brain surgery. You need not be a rocket scientist nor a brain surgeon to "get" it. It's readily accessible and not something that you need to experience via a third party.

Understanding that your daughter is addicted to posting pictures of herself and her friends taken while riding in your private jet or knowing someone who is an eBay fanatic doesn't really translate if you don't have the frame of reference to understand the way in which that connectivity matters and the broader implications it has for the way in which we live our lives each day. It doesn't translate into understanding the incredible possibility of large-scale social change organized because the tools were freely available online and anyone could step up and use them.

But it was a nice try.