I know it is preposterous to consider one of the best orators of our generation and champion for the under classes of our society to be the chief information officer for the federal government – preposterous but also somewhat intriguing. Based on what we know about the man and his causes here are a few issues about which he may have been passionate.
He would have supported more women in IT. Martin Luther King Jr. openly supported “responsible motherhood” and contraception. His wife played a significant role in founding the National Organization for Women. So, a recent report highlighting that 44% of the federal workforce is women, but only 31% are in IT positions would have been disconcerting. I suspect he would have supported removing stereotypes and providing more opportunities for mentoring and training.
He would have supported greater access to high speed internet. MLK was an opponent of inequality – whether based on gender, race, disability or class. Unfortunately, too many rural areas in our country are without fast internet service. Also, we should not forget the challenges people with disabilities have when trying to avail themselves of the latest technologies. Our use of technology means that access to high speed internet can affect health care, economic growth, distance learning, and civic participation.
He would have supported smart regulation on government intelligence gathering. Since his death, we have learned of the dubious tactics the FBI used to impugn his reputation. We also know that MLK was a staunch opponent of war as he outlined in his famous Nobel Prize acceptance speech. I believe he would have supported taking aggressive steps to protect our citizenry while ensuring checks and balances on government overreach.
“Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” – Martin Luther King, 1964