13: The Trackball and the Touch Screen #LifeWideLearning16

13: The Trackball and the Touch Screen #LifeWideLearning16

My first smartphone was a blackberry. It was the kind with the little trackball in the middle and a physical keyboard that was an absolute joy to type on. In 2008, I would use this marvel of modern technology to catch up on the crashing economy or the presidential race. I would refresh the atrocious Associated Press app on that little square screen as often as I could just to pick up what was happening on Super Tuesday or with the Lehman Brothers liquidation. Those two events are inextricably linked for me. The hope of a new type of leader and the absolute terror of the markets bottoming out.

The trackball gave way to the touch screen. The crash gave way to the recovery. The presidential race gave way to actual policy. And I followed each.

Today, I am desperately listening to every political podcast that I can get my earbuds on, hoping to hear something that gives me the same kind of hope. I am watching the jobs numbers roll in week after week, showing what I already know: we are better off now than we were at the bottom. And I access both through my ever-present glowing screen.


No one has to convince me that his policies have worked or that my life has steadily improved every year that Obama has been in office, just like no one has to convince me that my iPhone 6 is far superior to my Blackberry Pearl.

But, what I would like to hear is what comes next. How will we keep building on the gains we have seen in the last few years and not slip back into the abyss that was 2008? How will we convince others that it is worth pushing forward and being bold about climate change, education funding, internet privacy, human rights, and lasting peace? How will we use this moment to launch the next generation of activists and protestors who build on the last 7 years of hard won fights.

So, what do I want from Obama? I want him to make the case for learning deeply from his years in office and then moving forward. I want him to convince us (all of us) to reinvest in our country and double down on hope and change.

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