Daily Archives: September 14, 2008

My fellow Democrats

I just visited the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon today and the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.

Those experiences, among others, have led me to this note.

To everyone else, sorry, this is one of those times I’m going to get into politics. If you don’t like that, come back tomorrow when I’ll be at AT&T and talking about the cool technology they are showing me.

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My fellow Democrats,

I keep seeing you, and the press, taking pot shots at Sarah Palin. I’ve taken a few myself, if you’ve been over on FriendFeed the past couple of weeks.

You also know that I’ve been demoralized lately and believe that John McCain and Sarah Palin have, through the changing of the framing of the imagery presented to the American people, have already won the election.

But today I’m calling on you to be better than the Republicans.

Instead of aiming at Palin’s groin, let’s aspire to be better.

This is America. When we aspire to be better than we are, we change the world.

When John Kennedy asked us to go to the moon, we did. When Martin Luther King said he has a dream we’ve made his dream happen. When Ronald Reagan told the Germans to “tear down this wall” they did.

When we try to make the world better, we often do!

It’s time, my fellow Democrats, to start living that change.

Instead of blogging about our political opponents, can you learn about one issue that you care about and blog about that?

My issue is that I’m seeing high tech jobs leaving America for a variety of reasons.

1. Our education system. Today’s CEOs say they aren’t seeing the quality of graduates that they need to make the next big scientific and technological breakthroughs. After the cameras are off I keep hearing about the better graduates in places like Israel, China, and India.
2. Our taxation and infrastructure. When I went to Israel I interviewed Gil Shwed, CEO of CheckPoint. They have offices in California and Israel. You should listen to the video because he tells how it’s easier for him to get stuff done in Israel than in California.
2b. Our infrastructure is wacked. When we’re 19th in the world in broadband and way behind even China in the use of IPTV and other technologies that can be used to wire new R&D workers together, that tells me we’ve lost leadership and that it’ll take a concerted effort to get it back.
3. Our health care costs. CEOs are telling me they are drowning in the costs of our health care system and that’s pushing jobs overseas. Not just those manufacturing jobs, either (many of the people reading my blog are geeks and can’t relate to people who work on factory lines in places like Detroit, let’s just be honest) but the jobs going overseas are our R&D jobs that pay $150,000 a year. Lose rafts of those and you see entire economies changing.
4. Our immigration policies. It used to be that our best workers and best ideas came from people who moved here from somewhere else. But in today’s America we’re angry about immigrants who come to America to take our jobs. That anger, while justified, is causing us to close down our borders to even the smartest who come here for an education and then are forced to leave to go back home. Guess what, our globalization can’t be stopped, so every job that leaves our shores is $150,000 that will never come back (and probably more, because of the trickle down effects of our economy).
5. Our anti-science and anti-technology discourse and beliefs. In the Republican America today we are seeing a debate, not about whether science should drive our national debate, but whether religion should and, let’s just be honest, religion is winning. Stem cell research is being forced off our shores. That research will still be done, albeit now it’s done over in some other country. More $150,000 jobs down the drain. Plus, will we really invest in the right energy technologies? Who is best suited to decide those? A scientist? Or someone who lives close to an energy pipeline? We need to do better and aspire to be smarter.
6. An anti-technology and anti-science stance by those who fear government. When I wrote about America getting a CTO, I was amazed at some of the pushback I got in comments. Driven by fear. An inefficient government is a good thing, quite a few said. After getting out of the Holocaust Museum today, I understand where that fear comes from, but it’s misplaced and misguided because that fear will cause policies that cause us to lose more and more of our $150,000 a year jobs.

So, my fellow Democrats, can we have a debate about what government should DO over the next four years? What, my fellow Democrats, can we do to be better than ourselves? To make the world a better place?

We have only a week or two before the debates to give Barack Obama some real, tangible things to call us to aspire to.

If he aims for the fences and calls on us to build a better world, then we have a shot November 2.

If we only aim for Palin’s knees we play into the Republican’s game and we’ll end up with more of the same for the next four years.

It’s all up to you now. Every post you make. Every conversation you have. They all add up to what will happen November 2.

Will you call on your fellow Americans to be better? Or will you point out what a wacky lady Palin is.

The more you point what a wacky lady she is, the more likely you are to help Republicans win. After all, we’re all wacky and we all love to vote for someone like us: unless someone is calling on us to be better.

So, my fellow Democrats, I hope you’ll join me in focusing totally on building a strong economy for the future for the next four weeks. That’s our only hope.

Thank you, your friend and supporter, Robert Scoble

UPDATE: Over on FriendFeed they are discussing this post and imran stated that the trillion dollar war with Iraq is also draining our resources and making it hard to compete on a global stage. Good point.