Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Michael Bissell's Blog

Politics and instantaneous communication

2011-03-29 08:31:42
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Obama gave a speech last night about Libya explaining what we're doing and why we're there. It was a fairly defensive speech because he'd gotten a lot of heat for not telling the American people about what we were doing in Libya quickly enough. He went over the timeline, and pointed out that our push to do something started about a month ago and that we put planes in the air less than a week ago.

The response in the news has been Obama is late with his explanation.

Maybe that's true, but let's go back to 1775 for a moment. The revolution began, they say, with "The Shot Heard 'Round the World." Only the sound of that shot would have taken about a month to reach Europe in 1775 by sea. And then, another month, or more, before a message could have returned to the colonies. Two months or more, at breakneck speed, just to get word back from England that they knew we were fighting them.

With communications delays like that, you could sit on your reply for a long time, think about how you want to phrase it, run it by a few advisors, and then relax for a couple months after you shoot off your reply.

I got really pissed off yesterday when I realized that the IT guy for one of my clients has screwed up their email server and my emails are being deferred for a day or two. Hell, I get pissed off when I can't send email for an hour. An hour -- can you imagine? Being out of communication with someone on the other side of the planet for an hour? Unacceptable.

So, back to politics... Modern politics are built on practically medieval delays and obstructions. It's built on secrets and the Machiavellian timing of releasing those secrets.

Only now we know everything as it happens. Between the 24/7 news cycle, social media and Wikileaks, it's impossible for a politician to quietly go about his or her business and figure out the best way to tell the public about what they're just figuring out in private.

While everyone seems to agree that the US did the right thing, the right way, at the right time, what Obama gets in trouble for is being slow to give a speech... I'm sure our next President will get in trouble for being too slow to post a blog.

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Bruce Dickson: Re: Michael Bissell: Politics and instantaneous communication
2011-03-29 10:25:16

Even if Obama instantly tweeted his decisions and thoughts on everything, he would be accused of making rash judgements without giving issues proper consideration time.

The problem lies with the quality or lack of it with what now passes for news commentary and supposedly rational public discourse on just about any issue, big or small.

John Bissell: Re: Michael Bissell: Politics and instantaneous communication
2011-03-29 15:17:40

So there's a new problem - that communication is so fast we don't allow enough time for rational judgment. Bruce is right - either you took to long, or you were rash. But it's all what it has always been in politics. you need reason to call the other team leader wrong. Everyone seems to agree taht Obama is doing the right thing with Libya, so that can only complain that he has done it the wrong way. It's just amazing that all the other side really can complain about is that he was too slow in giving his speech. He must have really gotten this one right.

Bruce Dickson: Re: Michael Bissell: Politics and instantaneous communication
2011-03-29 15:26:32

You are right John, the conservatives' game in politics is take the opposite position no matter what you say and no matter what the merits of your position! Sometimes true of the more ideologically inclined liberals too. Farcical and very damaging to decent public discourse and access to the 'truth'. As Denny Crane so aptly put it - "There are no facts anymore, only good or bad fiction."

Jane Blue: Re: Michael Bissell: Politics and instantaneous communication
2011-03-29 15:27:08

And if Bush had said the same thing, the right would be flying flags and saying, "Support our troops! The more the better!"

Bruce Dickson: Re: Michael Bissell: Politics and instantaneous communication
2011-03-29 15:27:46

Too true Jane, and of course they would have added to that statement that you and all the rest of us are guilty of being unAmerican for whatever comments we may have made ...

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