May 15, 2009
BILL MOYERS: Finally this week, to Twitter or not to Twitter? To this immortal question, I surrender, and finally answer, unequivocally: Maybe.
As I just told Daniel Goleman, up to now, I have declared my home and office to be Twitter-free zones. This is consistent with my technical skills as a proud Luddite. That's Luddite...Google it.
I was the last hold-out to the computer out of respect to my old IBM Selectric, that reliable, DC-6 of typewriters, and the cell phone, out of respect to the ladies, God rest their souls, who operated the telephone party line and asked, "Number, please?" when I was growing up in Texas.
I resisted e-mail and Facebook, with deep regard for many of my dearest friends, some of whom seem to be recycling their old mug shots from the "most wanted" at our local post-office.
But to keep up with my teen-age grandchildren, who stubbornly refuse to correspond with smoke signals or semaphore flags, I may yet learn to Twitter. Thus I would join legions of politicians and journalists who never miss an opportunity to prove there is no such thing as an unexpressed thought. They type in their latest, fast food menu choices or precise geographic location with the breathless excitement of that radio announcer describing the explosion of the Hindenburg. Hindenburg...Google it.
For now, I am playing it safe, first considering what some of my heroes in history might communicate if Twitter had been at their thumb tips. Here goes:
George Washington: "Crossing Delaware. Way cold. Hope Brits don't hear chattering wooden teeth."
Alexander Hamilton: "Oh my God. Aaron Burr can't shoot his way out of a paper bag. Laughing out loud."
Abe Lincoln: "Where in Gettysburg? Lost address. Thanks in advance."
Teddy Roosevelt: "Returning to San Juan hill. Left charger." F.D.R.: "At inauguration. Must inspire country. How's this, people: Only thing we have to fear is stuff that hasn't happened yet."
On second thought, perhaps it's better not to tweet and be thought a fool than to tweet and remove all doubt.
That's it for this week. On our next edition, we'll take a look at the latest ideas for healthcare reform.
PROTESTERS: Healthcare, not warfare!
BILL MOYERS: These demonstrators were protesting that Congress and the White House are ignoring public support for single-payer, universal healthcare.
PROTESTERS: Single payer!
WOMAN: We have enough to cover everybody, to support everybody, as a nation. To be mutually responsible for each other especially those of us who are sick at any moment and our system is totally failing. The profiteering is robbing people of the best healthcare at the very moment that they need it.
BILL MOYERS: More on that next week, meanwhile, you can read dispatches from Juan Cole and Shahan Mufti on the crisis in Pakistan and you can find out more about how smarter consumers can help save the environment. Just log onto PBS.org, search "Moyers" and click on Bill Moyers Journal. It will guide you right to our website.
I'm Bill Moyers. See you next time.