What if the Founding Fathers had Social Networking

Posted: July 14, 2013 in General, Rants
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So I am going to forgo the fact that our powdered wig wearing Forefathers would have been appalled that there are citizens of this great nation who can waste their money on an I-phone while forgoing the basic necessities in life like, decent housing, food for their children or the ability to pay their other bills in lieu of the ability to remain connected 24/7/365.  Let us also put aside the fact that the 1st Continental Congress and the representative leadership of the country prior to succession of hostilities and the surrender of General Cornwallis wrote most of their wise words anonymously and under pseudonym and would have definitely balked at posting their picture as an avatar in order to be taken seriously, not to mention having to check in with their location and tagging all their rebellious friends in a group photo.

Way back in the good old days of our country we did not have the instant connectivity that has invaded our lives today.  Back when the Declaration of Independence was finally signed, official copies of it were sent out by dispatch and read aloud to the gathered crowds in town squares all across the land.  Each and every person present was read the exact same thing as all the others across the 13 states.  Retweeting was accomplished by the local printer and handed out via hard copy to those who could read.  Imagine how much simpler it would have been to accomplish a revolution using some collaborative tools, whipping up a power point of key facts,  cutting and pasting it all into a nice neatly formatted document (Olde English font of course for authenticity) and publishing it up to www. yeolderevolution.gov (pretty sure I just made this up, but truth in lending I did not check).  Combine that with a viral video and sharing on Facebook, and we may have been successful before the British had known what was happening.

Imagine how easy it would have been for Paul Revere and his poor tired horse if he could have just Tweeted out that the British were coming, then another to say where he saw them and another as to where they were going.  That whole “one if by land, two if by sea” thing would have been an unnecessary risk and chances are he would not have been arrested that evening as well.

Instead of waxing eloquently as the Widow Silence Dogood, Ben Franklin could have blogged out instantly his thoughts on country and leadership and the rights of man (of course he would update that for the medium he was using and been much more politically correct).  He could have held honest discourse and been able to respond to remarks on his blogs, kicked off the trolls and leveraged his celebrity to a spot as a talking head on one of the 24 hour news outlets.

George Washington and his Continental Army could have waged a major psyops campaign leveraging social networking technology.  Imagine a few good videos going viral of the guerilla warfare waged by Francis Marion down in the Carolinas.  Or, how much more effective his staff would have been coordinating attacks with Power Point and video teleconferencing.  Of course he would have to exert some draconian measures as there will always be someone who wants to pose for a pic with the body of a dead Red Coat.  That is nothing compared to the embarrassment of giving one of your Generals (Benedict Arnold for those of you who like to quote the FF’s but know absolutely nothing about our history) unfettered access to your secure files and he turns them over to the enemy while handing them the keys to one of your forts as well.

Long before the advent of the internet, social media and the ever-present, ever-sensational 24 hour news networks we had people that could inspire us with their words.  Words they backed up with deeds.  They provided leadership at a time when we had none.  They grew a nation of free Americans from a populace subjugated by a monarchy and its representative corporations.  They spoke through word, printed under anonymity until such a time when they had to show themselves to the people.  In their day, our Founding Fathers were the Anonymous of the time.  They saw what was believed to be wrong and acted out upon it.  When felt unfairly taxed, they stole away in the middle of the night and dumped the commodity in the sea.  When faced with violence from soldiers who would be quartered among the populace without their consent, they rose up and fought back.

Our Founding Fathers would not have been the men that we often misquote today if social media were available to them.  Their eloquent words would not have inspired a generation and it they would not have provided us with a foundation of principles.  The only sweeping and all encompassing reform they were willing to stand behind and risk their lives for was revolution.  They knew and understood from the point of declaring our independence it would require  concise, incremental change as the problems arose.  They did not stand up to create a utopia for the world to emulate, they wished to create something that our own citizens would both embrace and emulate for as long as we are a sovereign nation.  My personal opinion is that they would be mortified to know that there are whole segments of law and education dedicated to interpreting their words some 230+ years after they spoke them rather than giving voice to their own voices and inspiring our people to achieve greater than we have.  We have taken opportunity provided by the blood of patriots inspired by the words of leaders and squandered the opportunities.

I would like to end with a few quotes from Edmund Burke :

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting

Try to come up those quotes today and put them into the colloquialisms that are present.  Take those new words and use them on your favorite social networking site, but do so with the intent of effecting change rather than just running off at the mouth.  Be prepared for the consequences of your actions.  It is our right as Americans to determine our own destinies, but with that comes the risk of upsetting the apple cart.  A successful outcome as a result of that upset does not absolve you from the consequences of doing so, but good for good sake is its own reward when you know you have done so for the betterment of all.  After all in the words of the immortal Mark Twain:

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.




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