Food for Thought

by Eric Hamilton

I recently heard a comment on the ‘Sean Hannity Morning Minute’ which got me to thinking.
Now, some of you might be surprised that I sometimes listen to Hannity’s ‘Morning Minute’, but the fact is that I really can’t avoid doing so when I listen to the morning news on KHMO. In any case, I did find one of the man’s recent comments interesting (though probably not for the reason that Sean would WANT someone to find the comment interesting).
The comment was (and this is not verbatim): ‘America runs on innovation. If we get rid of the internal combustion engine, if we stop using oil, AMERICA WILL END!’
I bet you’d never hear me say that I agree wholeheartedly with Sean Hannity. Well—at least with the FIRST half of his statement.
America does, indeed, run on innovation.
The vinyl record was replaced by the cassette tape; the cassette was replaced by the CD; and the CD is in the process of being replaced by downloading music from the internet directly onto your phone.
The VCR took a major share of movie theaters’ business, changing the way that we entertain ourselves. No longer did kids have to wait seven years to see a Disney movie re-released to theaters; suddenly, a little girl or boy could watch Bambi on a VHS tape played on the family VCR. Blockbuster Video created a brave new world in which many future generations would be able to enjoy the latest movies from the privacy of their homes. Think of it…
In the year 2100, parents and children will squabble about which Blockbuster video to rent on a Friday night.
Couple of problems, here.
They don’t even manufacture VCR’s anymore. VHS tapes were replaced by DVD’s, and people began recording TV shows with DVR. Blockbuster Video was replaced by Netflix, and now a family of raccoons may live at the site of your local Blockbuster Video store.
And that’s not all.
Benjamin Franklin, the great innovator, advocated for public libraries. And due to his foresight, there came a time when most American children had access to free books. Information being accessible to all is the backbone of freedom; this was the idea behind public libraries, and eventually behind the internet. Of course, libraries may soon be completely replaced by the internet and librarians may go extinct, and people like me (who regard the ‘naughty librarian’ as sort of a fantasy) will feel that much lonelier.
And that’s not all.
Fulton’s steamboat replaced the sailboat. The locomotive replaced the covered wagon. Then the 747 jetliner made ships and trains a bit less important.
Telegraph-wires replaced the Pony Express; radio replaced telegraph; TV became more important than radio, and now the internet is replacing everything.
Also, the gas-powered automobile replaced the horse-and-buggy.
But if the gas-powered automobile is replaced…AMERICA WILL END!!!
According to this reasoning, Sean Hannity would have stood beside a horse’s rump (and it would have been impossible to tell one from the other?—just something to think about). Sean Hannity would have stood beside a horse in the year 1900 and said, ‘If this noble beast is replaced by Ford’s infernal machine, AMERICA WILL END!!!’
Clearly, even the gas-powered car can be replaced, and America will live on. Innovation is all about replacing one technology with another, and, as Sean so rightly pointed out, America runs on innovation.