“Mister Postman look and see.
If there's a letter in the bag for me.”
- The Marvelettes, The Beatles, and The Carpenters
If you plan on hearing from Governor Ernie Fletcher, you had better hang by the mailbox. He has cut off almost every other line of communication.
He has never been much of a glad-hander, as noted by the $5000 taxpayers paid to put a secret door in his office.
He might call people on the telephone, but I have never been on the list. Now he has announced that he doesn’t use e-mail anymore.
Although much of my writing career has been built bashing Governor Fletcher, I had given him credit for his previously innovative view of technology. I am behind his Kentucky Connect initiative and the goal to have broadband in every part of Kentucky by 2007.
Now our leader is giving up the primary tool of the technology era.
I can see how Ernie might be a little skittish about e-mail. E-mails have been the focus of indictments, embarrassment, and pardons for members of his administration.
Giving up the concept, however, shows a lack of leadership. When leaders are knocked down, they are supposed to jump back up and try again — not cut and run.
It was not the technology, but how people used the technology, that caused the Governor problems.
Given enough time and practice, Fletcher and his cronies should be able to produce e-mails that do not cause grand juries to be convened and pardons to be issued. They will never know until they try.
If the Governor gives up modern technology, all of state government will follow his lead. Soon the only way to communicate with Frankfort will be through tin cups tied together by string.
When trying to recruit high-tech companies, the slogan “Unbridled Stone Age” won’t get it.
Not everyone loves technology like I do. There are people in the world that can go entire minutes without checking their e-mail. I know that I can’t.
Voters want to communicate with their leaders quickly and directly. e-mail is one of the best tools for accomplishing that. When you look at groups like MoveOn.org and similar organizations, you realize that e-mail has become an important tool in our governmental process.
MySpace.com has gotten some negative publicity, but it is a primary communication source for a whole generation. Fletcher ought to check it out.
I’m not asking Fletcher to get on MySpace.com and discuss his sexual preferences. Even I don’t do that. I have a MySpace.com profile, but it consists of an old picture of myself, links to two colleagues and one to William Shatner.
Shatner sends me e-mail. If a guy who commanded the Starship Enterprise can drop me a line, a Governor who buzzed the United States Capitol can do the same thing.
If Fletcher got a MySpace.com account, I would be glad to let him link to my page. I’d let him be one of the top eight friends (I have five spaces open) and give him my private password. I’d also give him Shatner’s password. Bill could give the Governor some flying tips.
I’ll do what it takes to get Fletcher interested in e-mail again. I don’t think I am the proper messenger, but I’m willing to try.
I know the Governor likes the postal service as I usually get a Christmas card from him. I put it up in my office conference room and often leave it up all year. If the list is long enough to include me, it must include every other registered voter in Kentucky and maybe a few other states for good measure.
E-mail would be a lot cheaper, faster, and more effective.
Although a lot of great bands sang the song “Mister Postman,” none of them still exist. Snail mail exists but is going the way of the telegraph. No one would profit from it making a comeback, since e-mail is often a better alternative.
If Governor Fletcher plans on recruiting high-tech companies to the state, he needs to show that he can talk their language and communicate in the same way that they do.
Even if it means handing out more pardons along the way.
Don McNay is President of McNay Settlement Group, where they use e-mail almost every minute of every day. You can e-mail him yourself at firstname.lastname@example.org or read what he has written at www.donmcnay.com. His award winning column is syndicated on the CNHI News Service.
“Mister Postman look and see.
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