Last night was round one of three presidential debates leading up to the November election. I watched it. Most debates like this will be far from satisfactory, because we expect so much, and there simply isn't enough time. Critique becomes about approach or appearance, and not the substance itself. That's fair - it's often the case.
What struck me forcefully about last night's debate was the tenor of war. At a guess, it was the subject of about sixty percent of the questions, responses and rebuttals. Obama was the one candidate who looked forward, promising to remake America into the desirable, admirable, hopeful place it once was, in the eyes of the world. McCain said nothing like this.
I found that talks of spending and budgets and debt were overwhelmed by this warmongering, giving McCain yet another chance to mention his hard work to stop endorsed torture by the US government etc. I was shocked when Obama said things like, "If we find bin Laden first, we'll take him out," and "from peace keeper to peace maker."
I remember watching a presentation by playwright, Eve Ensler, on security and insecurity, and just watched it again this morning. She tells wisely that "security" is elusive, impossible. Striving for it makes you spend your days protecting yourself; ideas become shorter, more polar, good/bad, christian/muslim. You identify yourself in an "us" to avoid being part of a "them."
Real security is a desire for connection, not for power. It's not just a tolerance for mystery, but hunger for it.
I'm an Australian designer who specialises in digital and cultural work. Most of my career thus far has been on the web, but I'm excited that it's starting to creep out into the real world.
I am the founder of Museum in a Box, making interactive museum objects with simple, fun tech, for wide-as-possible distribution, and I own a company called Good, Form & Spectacle, making design in service to cultural heritage for clients like The British Museum, MoMA, and the Wellcome Trust.
Please visit my LinkedIn profile to find out more about my work.