The Digital Divide


Well, this is both revealing and hilarious:

Once, in the spring of 2001, I was invited by then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to address the Senate Democratic caucus. I outlined the three digital divides facing the Democrats:

1. The fact that Republicans were outspending them on technology and out-organizing them: you could give $50 once to a Republican congressional candidate and thanks to their brilliant use of databases and their willingness to share data, every Republican candidate in the country would have your name. (Meanwhile, it was only a few months ago that the DNC reached an agreement with the DCCC and DSCC to share voter data.)

2. The fact that Democrats were voting against bills to increase spending on broadband infrastructure, which was like voting against a subsidy for their own base–since it's the less well-off who are less likely to be online.

3. The fact that no one was thinking about measuring the technology quotient in any piece of legislation: Would this program be made obsolete by new technology, could it be enhanced, etc.

Here are two responses I got. First Senator Dianne Feinstein raised her hand and said, "Senator Daschle, the Internet is full of pornography and pedophilia, and until that's clean up [sic], I don't think the Senate should be on the Internet." (And she represents Silicon Valley!) Afterwards, another senator came up to me and said, "Andrew, I get 10,000 emails a day into my office. How do I make it stop?"

Hat tip: Atrios.

NEXT: Atlas Fugged

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  1. You’ve got to be kidding me.

  2. Ah yes, reasonnumber two trillion why the Democrats are a dying party. Seriously, before I use the Internet, it will have to be cleaned up. That’s what I’m understaning she said. Beautiful. Hey, Feinstein, better not use the library until all the books with naughy bits i them are removed. You never know what might twist your pwecious wittle mind.

  3. Well, it’s clear that she cares more about the children than you do.

  4. Afterwards, another senator came up to me and said, “Andrew, I get 10,000 emails a day into my office. How do I make it stop?”

    That’s pretty funny. How about, stop voting like a jackass?

  5. I actually worked with a guy that wouldn’t let his young kids use the interweb (even email) because he got some goat-fucking spam and he thought that if his kids ever saw something like that, they’d gouge out their own eyes with spoons… or something like that. I’m not exactly sure what he thought would happen, but he was determined to do whatever it took to make sure it didn’t.

  6. for a minute there, my brain combined Daschle and pedophilia, to make it look like “Senator Drosophilia” like the fruit flies. what a wierd freakin day…

  7. Feinstein not knowing anything about a technology she wants to try to regulate via the DMCA and the repealed CPA??? Duh. She’s not exactly the sharpest tack on the board, here.

  8. They left out the fourth digital divide: males turning age 50 go “digital” at their annual physicals.

  9. It’s always astonishign to me that democrats are even stupider than republicans. Then I read about Santorum and I re-evaluate. It’s a horse race to be sure.


  10. The more I know about how congressmen actually are, the closer I get to feeling it’d be a good thing if on one election day in the future there was zero turnout.

  11. Well, at least it looks like there’s hope on the horizon–the Dems in Henry Hyde’s district are falling behind a computer engineer:

    So at least we may have ONE congresscritter who knows something about computers or even, God forbid, science.

  12. Just a sad ending comment for this thread. i was sharing this with a hard-core Democratic friend of mine. She and I work in the IT field, and I thought it was another funny “old people and politicians don’t get politics” story.
    Because she thinks of me as a Republican (read: I don’t hate the GOP enough), she accused me of lying and thought it was a red state/GOP-planted story to make the Democrats look bad.

    I can’t think of a better ending to a story on the digital divide than to run into a perceived red state/blue state divide when trying to share it.

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