Where There’s A Will, There’s a Way

I was watching Fox Sunday when Chris Wallace brought up Obama’s “McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer” campaign spot to strategist Karl Rove. Rove, who regularly advises the McCain camp, took the position that the critique was offensive and “over the line”. The argument goes that McCain is incapable of using a computer due to his injuries suffered as a prisoner of war – he can’t raise his hands above his chest and his fingers lack the dexterity to type on a standard keyboard. Rove felt Obama owed McCain an apology for such an out of bounds attack.

I’ve got news for Mr. Rove. There are millions of people in this country who do not have the use of their arms, hands or even their body and who use a computer every single day. One such man is Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, England. Hawking suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease and does not have use of the majority of his neural functions. He communicates via a computer system attached to his wheelchair which is operated via an infra-red ‘blink switch’ clipped onto Hawking’s glasses. By scrunching his right cheek up, he is able to talk, compose speeches and research papers, browse the World Wide Web, and write e-mails.

So when Karl Rove and says John McCain “can’t” use a computer because of his war injuries, what he really mean is that John McCain “won’t” use a computer. There are plenty of ways to do so besides standard input devices, as is evidenced by Professor Hawking. No, this isn’t about physical limitations, this is about mind set. John McCain doesn’t see the need to surf the web, organize thoughts and send emails. He has staff that does all that for him. He lacks the will to do these basic tasks for himself. Why does this matter? For me it makes all the difference.

All during George Bush’s Presidency we kept hearing about how American’s wanted a President they can relate to, a man they could “sit down and have a beer with”. I don’t drink, but I sure as hell use a computer, and so do millions of Americans every single day. I want a President who is curious enough about the world to use the World Wide Web on his own. I want a President who has an intricate understanding of technology, where it’s heading and what challenges we are likely to face. I want a President that computer users can finally relate to.

How can I expect John McCain to really understand the threat of anti-Net Neutrality legislation when he doesn’t deal with his own Internet providers? How can McCain fathom the threat of anti-spam laws getting struck down if he doesn’t send and receive his own email? Now more than ever, we need a President that is in tune with the world we live in, not one that makes excuses about why he can’t click a mouse.


  1. Yes, well said even if it didn’t say very much. Your looking for nits to pick and as such you’ll always find them. If you looked as hard at ANY candidate you’d fine ’em. But whatever… I can see you’re not all there after your post calling your parents idiots. No, no, of course you didn’t… but you did.

  2. Geoff,

    FIrst, I don’t consider being computer literate a “nit”, especially when you consider it’s the year 2008 and not say, 1932. I’m sorry if you don’t think the leader of the free world should have an intimate understanding of how technology effects our lives, but I happen to think he/she should.

    Second, I didn’t call my parents idiots and I take offense that you think I did. The entire point of my post obviously went right over your head, so I suggest you go back and read it again. Do it slowly this time and maybe the underlying thesis will actually sink in. It’s okay, I have time to wait. Let me know when you’re done.

  3. It’s truly amazing how Ged can psychoanalyze another person from 1,000 miles away or so. Once again you demonstrate how you think you know everything.

  4. Curious,

    I’m not psychoanalyzing anyone. I’m simply stating a fact that I want my president to be computer literate. Its not too much to ask in this modern day and age, and certainly not to much to ask of John McCain since other people with less motor function than him can use a computer just fine and dandy.

    And for the record, I don’t profess to know everything. I’ve been wrong lots of times and will be again in the future. Please don’t pretend that you know me, because you don’t.

  5. But at the same time there is a big part of me that wonders where the “compassionate” part of my conservative parents went.

    no, you didn’t call them idiots. you did, however, infer they are cold,callous and uncaring.
    and it seems to me,that a sitting president would do well to contact world leaders via phone or teleconference. the e-mail thing just seems alittle “cold” don’t ya think?

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