Sunday, February 08, 2009

Obama's Blackberry, the Beginning of a New Era

Sometime in the 1950's, letter writing as a form of communication died. Instant communication via telephone was much easier than sitting down to write someone a letter, and rapid transportation made letter writing seem meaningless, anyway. Why write the wife and kids when you can see them the next day. This was especially true for Presidents of the United States and their appointees, assistances, subordinates, lackeys, and hanger-on's.

Historians wept.

Certainly the letters of John and Abigail Adams, Lincoln's letters, those of the Roosevelts and Truman flesh out their histories and humanize them in a way bills and laws and observations and memories cannot. But all that ended in the 1950's.

Yes, we have more reporters' reports, newsreels, and TV footage, but not the ruminations or expressions of those making policy. Somehow it seems like overcooked meat, dry and wanting of natural flavor.

However, that which taketh away also giveth. Technology made letter writing as a form of communication oh so last century, and email and texting makes it cool. Anyone from those doing corporate policy to those trying to organize an outing for the kids has seen communications that are forwarded and amended with comments as consensuses and plans develop and formalize.

Being a student of history, emails offer an opportunity to observe it in the making. I get emails that have been forwarded numerous times. I will scan the previous entries sometime because it is necessary to understand what is going on and sometimes just for the love of history. History is where you find it.

And now Obama has found a way to keep his Blackberry. The instant communication between him and his family, those in his administration, and whoever else is in his list will one day prove invaluable to understanding what is going on now. Knowing the government, it will all be backuped, and thus, preserved for posterity.

A small but significant event at the beginning of 2009. Just so you know.
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