I missed Obama's Twitter Town Hall last week - the first ever held. I actually love Twitter, but I like my discussions about substantive policy issues done in complete sentences.
While Twitter's immediacy and randomness make for a perfect communication medium in our world right now, it also shines a bright light on our inability as citizens to roll up our sleeves and work really hard on things like policy. Politics just doesn't lend itself to quick keystrokes.
In this wired world of instant gratification, we want what we want when we want it. We’ve got fast food, automatic teller machines, instant messaging, on-demand movies, GPS, express mail, jiffy lube, speed dial, an app for everything and a million other conveniences to satisfy our desires and whims.
But our ability to communicate faster and with more people at the same time will never be a substitute for problem solving and work. I'm beginning to doubt that we have the patience and perseverence we need to solve the complex issues we're entrenched in right now.
With the debt ceiling crisis looming over our heads as a nation, a flailing economy and millions out of work, the time for blame is over. It's frustrating watching our leaders sit around a table being inflexible and unimaginative. They need to work on the problems and find solutions.
Thanks to some outlandish statements by GOP candidate Michelle Bachmann recently about John Quincy Adams, I went back for a historical refresher course and became intriuged by some things I had forgotten about his father, John Adams.
After the trying times of separation and revolution of which he was such an integral part, Adams served in a diplomatic capacity in Europe away from his family, his native state of Massachusetts, and his newly born country for 11 long years. He nearly died during a bout of consumption in the Netherlands, struggled with loneliness and alienation in Britain, and worked tirelessly on difficult treaties in Paris while desperately longing for his home, family, and beloved wife. But he stayed and persevered. When he finally returned in 1788, his children were fully grown adults, barely recognizable to him as he made his way off the ship. That's commitment.
The Twitter Town Hall was a perfect example of how far we strayed from knowing what true patience and hard work are when it comes to finding solutions to the complex problems in our world. And while I will always applaud government's efforts at improving public outreach and simplifying communication with citizens, I have intense doubts about our ability as leaders and citizens to participate effectively in our democracy.
Are we willing to substitute quick fixes and instant gratification in order to make the sacrifices and well thought out decisions we need to create a better, more equitable country for all?
Twitter certainly isn't the answer. What's more - it just may have been the most effective method of extracting a viable presidential campaign fundraising database ever executed. Twitter time is over. Now get back to work!