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Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and the State of Change

On Wednesday, I watched two big speeches.

On Huffingtonpost.com—along with about 800,000 other people (you could see the number of people watching it change in real time)—I saw a blurry Steve Jobs unveil Apple’s latest creation, the iPad, thanks to some guy holding up an iPhone to record the event. The video quality was spotty. In fact, you could tell that he was holding the phone because the image rose and fell with his breathing. While watching, I followed the bajillion Twitter updates and had the reassuring, immediate knowledge that I was not alone in equating the iPad’s name to a feminine hygiene product. At the same time, I was emailing back and forth with one of my favorite geeks, David Kang, trading commentary—both informative and funny—regarding the product launch as it was occurring.

It felt like a moment in history. Not so much because of the new product, but because of how technology is so changing our lives; and I, by embracing it, feel the thrill of the ride. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder (in fact, I wondered it aloud by tweeting) if any women at Apple had been involved in naming the iPad. In fact, when I googled the company’s management team, I found there is not a single woman at the top. There is one woman on the board, Andrea Chung, who is chairman and CEO of Avon—a women’s brand if ever there was one. But I imagined being her in the board meetings: the only woman, a woman executive who has really been in the deep trenches for a long time, who probably had to act like a man to get ahead, more so than younger woman do today. And I thought that she might hesitate to bring up feminine products to the Apple management crowd. Personally, I might have the guts to bring it up to Al Gore (whom I know) and Steve Jobs (whom I don’t)—but readers, as you know, I’m not the typical woman in business! (My husband is rolling his eyes right now.)

As a writer and former artist (who the hell has time for that these days?!) I am excited by the iPad and what it means for books and magazines. It’s a creative challenge, and we are up for it. But it’s not going to be easy—change never is.

Which brings me to the second speech I watched that day, the SOTU (State of the Union) as it was known on Twitter. I was wondering how Mr. President was going to pull his term out of its nosedive, and I have to say, I was proud of him. He was firm, funny, and to the point. I’m sorry, readers, if you disagree—I know a lot of you might have different views and that’s OK—but I am an Obama supporter, and here’s why. He gets a bad rap for big government, but in researching my upcoming book Organic Manifesto, I realized that we are all to blame for it—Republicans just as much (if not more) than Democrats. The book is on its way to the printer as we speak, so I can’t change what I wrote. But I don’t want to. In it, I said that no one in Washington has the courage to do what needs to be done to stop the spending in Washington. Well, I was wrong. Barack Obama has the courage.

The most embarrassing moment of the SOTU was when Obama mentioned all the tax cuts he had made since he was in office, and not a single Republican clapped or stood. The emotion I saw on their faces was more like seething jealousy than any true disagreement.

So what does the SOTU have to do with the iPad? It’s time to grow up, America! We need to work together if we are going to get ourselves out of this mess and create a future in which we can survive on this planet. Men need to learn from women (this includes you, Apple) and work together. Democrats and Republicans need to get over their juvenile competition and put the American people first. All Americans need to remember the patriotism that unites us when times are tough, and focus on the courage to lead and follow our leader. That’s going to take some change.

As I say in my book, change is hard. It makes people cry, and it’s also uncomfortable. But it’s absolutely necessary. I for one am on board and willing to serve.

After all, I am proud to be an American. Together, we Americans have faced so many changes—and it’s those very changes that keep us great.

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15 Responses to Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and the State of Change

  1. dkistler January 29, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I’m with you Maria.

  2. Michelle January 29, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Well said Maria. There is a prominent, vocal, oppositional faction in our country and I for one am fed up with the whining! Change for the positive IS hard- just ask anyone on a diet, quitting a bad habit, going through a life change like losing a job or losing a loved one. Buck up, grow up amd accept that life is full of challenges and we can choose to grow and change with it or we can ‘ wallow in the mire’ .
    As for the IPad- when are we going to stop acting like a bunch of teenagers???? It’s a name that accurately describes what the machine is. Get over it all ready.
    Sorry had to get that off my chest.

  3. Heather January 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    I agree, Maria and I am so glad to see someone (you and Barack) just say it. Stop whining, people. Stop blaming others. Work together. Get something done. It’s what I was taught growing up and it’s what I continue to say and do.

  4. Cindy David Koehler January 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    I started to write after the SOTUA my opinion that it is wonderful to listen to a President who speaks so well, so openly to both the Supreme Court and the parties and the people. It was disturbing to see Republicans sitting there with open looks of disdain and smugness looking way too comfortable and way too fat. I think it is time to make them look a little uncomfortable and push for them to move out of the cozy seats of government that they have been sitting in for too long. Quite frankly, while watching our President speak one thought that jumped into my mind was that I was watching the houses of Slytherin and Gryffindor, (if you know the Harry Potter series then you can figure out know which party is which), yes this thought taken from a book written for children yet adopted by adults. I can’t help but look at these parties and the only party I become interested in, is the next one I am having in my home. Government get it together, come together, make a change, get something done, and then do it again. That would be a goverment for the people. President O’Bama is and has asked for both parties help in getting this done. Gee, how strange is that? What a concept.

    Regarding technology. My main concern is ensuring wording goes out for disposing of all of this technology properly when it dies. We have a lot of youth and adults out there right now throwing out batteries, cell phones, etc. into our dumps. This electronic waste will filter into the land contaiminating the soils. Take the long life lightbulbs that have mercury in them, as an example. While very low levels, I don’t feel we have enough information on our present packaging specifying how lethal all of these types of product can be to our land and ourselives if not recycled properly.
    I like newspapers, I like magazines, I love books, I love technology. Technology has brought the world,friends and information into my home very easily. Technology will always take on new names, and get better, but will we?

  5. Maya January 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    Yeah! Agreed! But still giggling at ipad. Hee hee!

  6. Deborah January 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Loved what you said. Let’s hear it for cooperation. Do you think it at all possible with the likes of Rove and Cheney still calling the back room shots for the Republicans?

  7. Sharon January 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    So long since I’ve needed that particular feminine product the absurdity of the name didn’t occur to me til I read it here. Thanks for pointing out that the glass ceiling still exists. As for the State of the Union address, I think it was more the state of Washington he told us about. My favorite quote which, by the way, the news media did not pick up on: “We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.” I’m ready for those in Washington to quit serving political and corporate ambitions and begin serving the people.

  8. Sharon R. January 29, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Maria, I couldn’t agree with you more about Mr. Jobs and his new feminine hygiene named product – what was he thinking? Cooperation in your house – whether it be a corporation, a govenment agency, or a grocery store – is exactly what is needed to bring the United States back from the trenches.

  9. Jodi LL January 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    I too am a President Obama supporter and have a Republican mother who is so against anything that has to do with a democrat that the blinders that she wears every day do not allow her to see or listen to anything that has to do with choices and what is right for the American Citizens as a whole!
    I work with a republican woman of her generation who has an open mind and truly pays attention to what is said. When we got to work the next morning after the SOTU, she asked me if I had watched to which my reply was “of course”, she said you know I have never listened to a President in all of my life that I have been more angry with at the beginning of their speech.
    Yet at the end of that speech he had made me at ease with all of his words. They were not all sugar coated and full of statements that would make us all believe that everything was going great and all is wonderful. She said that man can bring a crowd to it’s feet and we all want to stand up with them.
    I told her that I agreed with her and it made my heart feel good to know that there are still some people out there that are willing to open their eyes and minds to see exactly what is being said and portrayed by The President of the United States that we voted in and had decided to give a chance to over a year ago. Hail Hail to President Barrack Obama.

  10. rani January 30, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    plz change yr idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Donna in Delaware January 30, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Maria, what you have said concerning the political speech, falls on DEAF EARS!
    We have in this country, and this is not generally speaking (you all know who you are, this is targeted) people who are so mean spirited, hard nosed, still living as though this is the first 200 years of this country’s founding, greedy, predjudiced, unwilling to accept change for the good of us all because they only see a face, think that everything is socialist, communist, liberal and I could go on and on. They know who they are and you can say all that you like that it is not because Obama is part black, but you ( YOU, being generally used here) know from this country’s history that this would be a falsehood. They have blocked or tried to block everything that he has tried to do to improve the situation in the country. WE WILL NEVER LEARN IN THIS COUNTRY! I have never seen a nation of people who are supposed to BE the GOVERNMENT, let so many officials and small, but powerful groups rule this nation to the point of utter destruction. Either we have lost our way or just given up! Let’s try to get back on track. If some that are paying for their health care want to continue to pay, then do, but don’t take away the option for others to get health care. Working together on capital hill is not an option in this administration, it’s a must. They don’t WANT to work together because they are being embarrassed that there is someone in the White House who has done some things that the former presidents didn’t have the courage to do. I don’t agree with everything that Pres. Obama does, but he is putting a great effort into getting things done for everyone, not democrats, liberals, republicans, etc. I could go on, but if things don’t change, if we don’t wake up, and people don’t leave their predjudices behind them, we are going to find ourselves going backwards in this country and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. WAKE UP PEOPLE! China, India and Iran is on the move.

  12. Donna in Delaware January 30, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Am I missing something? What is there to moderate, please explain and I shall do it.

  13. LJ January 31, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Thank you for having the courage to speak your mind. I hope that all readers of Organic Gardening will understand that we need to hear all sides of the issues and respect the right of each individual to express his or her beliefs.

  14. Jessi Lynn February 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    My applause.

  15. Janice February 9, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    I am with you 100%. What can we do to get politicians to work for the common people & not the one’s that line their pockets with $$??

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