I see where Lindsay Graham–the new Chair of the Senate Committee on Technology–has never used email. And of course, I’ve posted before about James Inhofe, the climate-change denier and evolution skeptic who inexplicably heads up the Senate Committee on the Environment.
Shades of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who described the Internet as a “series of tubes.”
Perhaps the most penetrating description of John McCain during his campaign for President was “An analog candidate for a digital age.” It summed up a problem we encounter in times of paradigm shift, when people living in a rapidly vanishing world can no longer communicate with inhabitants of the emerging reality.
We have lawmakers who might just as well occupy different planets, so different are their frames of reference and worldviews. No matter how well intentioned, no matter that they have some abstract understanding that new technologies are creating new cultural norms, it is simply not possible for such people to make rational decisions about realities with which they have no firsthand experience. (Think Ted Cruz’ embarrassing comments about net neutrality–comments that clearly demonstrated his total ignorance of what the issue actually was about. Or Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who demonstrated his lack of comprehension by saying “The idea of regulating access to the internet with a 1934 law is one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard”–then multiply that cluelessness by the number of elected officials who are similarly rooted in another era.)
As a site called “The Big Blue Gumball” noted in a discussion of paradigms and paradigm shift:
Among the biggest paradigm shifts of the last 10 years have been the transitions from analog to digital, and from wired to wireless. These revolutionary technological changes have led to major sociological and behavioral modifications that impact our everyday lives – from the way we live and work, to the ways we entertain ourselves and engage with others.
But not the way all too many lawmakers understand the world.
We’re in big trouble.