Sen. John McCain should have a tremendous appeal with voters over the age of 55: He’s old and he still has high aspirations. This should inspire those of us who are old enough to join AARP, yet find we have to continue working for another 1 to 15 years or even longer, the way the cost of living is going up.
Maybe it’s OK for us to not retire, considering a guy older than we are has enough energy left to be president. But does he have enough of the right experience? I think not. I just went to YouTube and saw John McCain admit he is computer illiterate. Well, how was he to know this would be important? When he started his career, personal computers didn’t exist.
They didn’t exist for me and my peers in nursing school in the 1970s either. But by the mid-1980s, computers had begun to creep into our work. It scared some of us — we were high-touch, low-tech people, but we learned to use computers because that’s what we had to do. As time went on, we learned to input test results, chart and schedule visits on computers. As the health industry became an industry in financial crisis, we learned to talk to patients on the phone and chart on the computer at the time.
I work now as a nurse in an insurance company. It’s a good job for an aging body. I work with nurses who are good nurses and dependable employees, but they really don’t want to learn anything new, certainly not anything like new computer software. We are old, we have paid our dues, our memories are shot and learning things other than compassion and patience at this age is difficult.
Nonetheless, every couple of months, we go to another training session on the software upgrades. We do this because we are working people with jobs in the 21st century. The economy being what it is, we thank this past administration for keeping us working so we stay current with the latest computer technology. Without our computer skills, we couldn’t email our kids and grandkids or use Google to find out if glucosamine helps arthritis or to make airplane reservations to fly to the Democratic convention.
Which leaves me wondering how McCain will manage his role as commander in chief when he’s illiterate? I can tell you how. He’ll do what he’s been doing the last 50 years; he’ll depend on his staff. He will depend on his staff to read and send his email, access Internet information, key in data, and advise him on which telecommunication company should control the Internet.
Dependency like this will leave him completely vulnerable to people who got close to him by being smart and ambitious — smarter than he is, perhaps. Do we want another old guy in the White House who depends on his subordinates for basic functions the rest of us old people mastered long ago? Just because he trusts his staff, should we? Do we want a president who embodies planned obsolescence?
Reva Rasmussen is a nurse and writer in the Twin Cities. She blogs about China at http://blog.revarasmussen.com.