I don’t Twitter.
As such, Emily Emken has made it clear she doesn’t want my vote in the Republican June primary or the general election for that matter since I am disconnected from her reality.
Emken last week sent out a letter seeking funds for her uphill battle to unseat Senate Dianne Feinstein who is seeking her fourth term.
In the letter Emken in no uncertain terms implied Feinstein was disconnected from voters because she doesn’t use Facebook, Twitter, or presumably doesn’t get involved in flash mobs and whatever social media du jour is sweeping the cultural landscape.
Emken’s exact words were, “If you want to know what she’s doing in Washington, you’ll have to mail her a letter or send her a telegram to ask.”
Besides being snarky, it wasn’t true. Feinstein has a website and she also responds to e-mails. But apparently since she’s not the political queen of ultimate sound bites broken down to 144 characters or less, she is somehow unworthy of being trusted with the nation’s business.
One would hope those who take an active interest in this nation’s challenges and issues want a conversation longer than 144 characters. Twitter works well if someone like Emken wants to say what she’s eating for lunch, or whether she supports a specific position. There is no way 144 characters can provide an explanation of why one supports an issue, ramifications of one’s position or any thorough understanding of what a person is thinking unless one believes governing is best done in slogans, absolutes, and sound bites.
Government needs brevity and interaction. Even so, the U.S. Constitution that uses sparse language to give birth to and grow this nation has 4,400 words. Abraham Lincoln - praised for his highly eloquent Gettysburg Address - had 270 words. Try reducing the Gettysburg Address down to 144 characters.
As for interaction, had Lincoln and Douglas used Twitter instead of their oratory skills in face-to-face meetings with voters, would Douglas have been elected instead? Douglas - for his day - had a Newt Gingrich tendency to deliver one-line zingers in the debates that would fit better with a Twitter format when compared to Lincoln
Whether one is “with it” and uses Twitter, Facebook, or whatever is no indication that they are the best choice to serve in office.
The most telling thing about the whole episode is it underscores the fact Emken doesn’t have a whole lot she can use to convince Californians that Feinstein doesn’t deserve a fourth term.
The entire concept of ridiculing opponents to try to gain the upper hand whether done by Democrats or Republicans is demeaning to voters and does nothing to advance meaningful political dialogue.
As for being out-of-touch, given the flurry of indiscreet and vulgar postings by politicians of late - think ex-Congressman Wiener - I’m glad when politicians can keep their narcissism in check and concentrate on serious stuff besides posting pictures of themselves and Twitting aides to entice them into extra-curricular activities.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.