Saturday, October 6, 2007

Four Liberals of the Apocalypse

Ask any Liberal the number of catastrophes our world is currently facing and you're likely to get numerous stories, ranging from Global Warming to the newly popular Avian Bird Flu featured in the BBC's Pandemic. That's probably what makes the Republicans such lovable candidates as they generally tend to focus on just one: Terrorism. However, that leads to a relevant question: Are we focusing on the right threat? Or, are threats simply a form of "Shock Capitalism" intended to hold our attentions?

My fears are that most people have become so disenchanted by our current leaders that they're simply looking for a change. Some find solace in the nuance of a black or female leader, while others are willing to throw 200+ years of Democratic development out the window by supporting a "Strict Constitutionalist." The problem still remains that most of these candidates focus on the same hot button issue of the War in Iraq, with the exception of a few "non-candidates" who are running with the other hot button issue: Global Warming.

So we've got two hot button issues -- possibly three if you include Corporate Corruption -- but none of these reflect the fact that many local governments are preparing for a possible outbreak of the Avian Bird Flu. While the general public accepts it as news worthy, or at worst, another Liberal conspiracy to increase our tax dollars, the issue lags behind the tired discussions of Abortion Rights and Gay Marriage as quintessential planks in the two party platforms.

But there's something else we can take from the BBC's Pandemic Special. The model for a viral outbreak not only applies to biology and computer science, but to thoughts and ideas as well. When we tell someone an idea we have it carries from one person to the next -- assuming it has developed well enough to carry at the utterance of a few simple words. The hope we gain from watching the special is the possibility that Open Source will spread with greater ease than a possible mutation of the Bird Flu.

We also see two other Open Sources in the movie: the first being the physical connectivity of the planet, and the second: YouTube. When the military rolls in to lock down the town, allowing nothing but tight lipped doctors, with all the reporters kept behind the police lines. Thanks to the efforts of one little girl, people were able to experience the event and learn what to expect in advance. Such knowledge and reassurance is critical for any possible threat we face.

In this simple act we gain a glimpse at what might be the most important challenge we face: Open Communication. It is this type of communication that allows us share a medical solution to the outbreak, or a crystalline structure to gather sunlight more efficiently, or at best: the ability to decide for ourselves. This is the virus we must evolve in the minds of every life we touch, in order to transform our ideas of Democracy into a truly Open Source.

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