I used to say that I wasn’t political, simply because it’s so hard to find a human representative in politics “worthy” of my respect, time and effort. I mean, most career politicians are plastic, inauthentic automatons whose sole critical missions are to get elected again and again. I couldn’t relate to any of them in my lifetime. Then Obama came along and Gavin Newsom and of course Trump. With Obama and Gavin, I found real people, politicians I could rally around, who authentically and emotionally care about the issues that I too think are the most vital, not because caring would get them elected but rather because they believed it was right.
I was inspired to write this short post by two articles published this week showcasing the dangers of taking the “I’m not political” stance. Trump’s Apprentice Outtakes by Nick Bilton and on The Miss Universe Tapes Coverup by Yashar. I am over-simplifying, but the principals at the media companies that controlled these tapes chose not to take stances (mostly for money) and in doing so influenced the election by their collective inaction. How much influence is unclear, since we know Trump’s behavior would have already destroyed almost any other candidate.
Over the years as I’ve tried to raise awareness with techies (entrepreneurs, corp leaders, VCs) about climate change through #climate, I constantly ran into the “tech isn’t political” refrain. I would try and explain that while some politicians have made saving our climate political, climate change’s increasingly, globally destructive impact will assuredly be nonpartisan. Actually this is not exactly true, the poor and disenfranchised will in fact be devastated first. My entreaties mostly fell on deaf ears, especially with VCs!
It’s time for all of us in tech to take more active stances on our beliefs, especially when the outlet is politics. We are in positions of such great power and influence and need to stop hiding behind public neutrality when privately we have such grave concerns about our country’s direction. It’s no longer cool to be apolitical in tech or above it all because, you know what, there is always another level and it just came crashing down on all our heads.
PS, I am feverishly working on what I hope is an arrow in the quiver for those who want to use their influence to have an influence on our country’s political machine.