Like much of the civilized world, I have been watching in unpartisan horror, shock, and awe, at the Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin reveal how "Apocalyptically Underqualified" she is to assume the position as Vice President of the United States. (Be patient, I promise I will bring up how this relates to IT.)
Skipping right past her controversial opinions, such as the fact that she dismisses mainstream science in favor of creationism, believes Iraq is "God's Plan", gets healed by a "Witch Hunter" (See Video Below), believes the end times will be in her liftetime, and believes in banning books, her resume clearly shows she should not be leading our country.
Yet without even getting into her education or resume into detail, which is quite lacking, we the public, the "hiring managers", can see right off the bat, that she is grossly underprepared to lead the free world. In this clip in which Katie Couric, asks which newspapers or magazines she reads, she is completely void of response. In subsequent interviews, she cannot name a single Supreme Court decision besides Roe Vs. Wade.
Many Republicans and Democrats, have uniformly declared her unqualified, including prominent conservative George Will who states, Palin is "obviously not qualified to be President".
My personal opinion is that she is so unqualified that she is "Apocalyptically Underqualified", a term I have just invented for someone that if hired could quite literally bring on some form of an apocalypse. Perhaps even to the level of being a figurehead in a future book about the rise and fall of the America Empire. Sarah Palin is so underqualified her ignorance of how to perform the job of President or Vice-President could be fatal to America, and possibly the free world.
Now, how this relates to IT. I would argue that there are many IT positions that also require extremely competent and qualified people. In many cases hiring the wrong person, could be fatal to an organization. For example, hiring an unqualified CTO could take a large company like Intel down, or hiring a poor developer could bankrupt a small Web 2.0 startup. Perhaps at a large, prestigious University, or ISP the wrong choice of a Network Engineer could lead to their own mini "Nuclear Winter".
Some of the signs of underqualification that Sarah Palin has shown, could similarly be on display in a job interview by an employer. For example, the equivalent question for an IT worker to the magazine question, could be what is your favorite O'Reilly book. If the candidate draws a blank, that is a very, very bad sign. Alternately, another basic question that could be similar to the Supreme Court question, could be to ask them to list their 10 favorite open source projects, and what role they have played in them. If Linux is the only reply, then that is another red flag.
Another question that I don't have the perfect answer to, is what happens when a company actually hired that "Apocalyptically Underqualified" person? What can a normal employee do, to prevent their companies inevitable journey into the abyss?
Oct. 17th update: While this post was controversial to some people about whether it related to IT, I do think my central thesis has been validated to a greater degree by some of the endorsements by major newspapers, in the last 24 hours One of the endorsements they mention is from the Los Angeles Times,
"Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking -- if that's the appropriate word -- would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain's judgment."
My thesis, again, in a paragraph, there are people that are so unfit to be hired in IT, they they bring to mind the Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who, according to the LA Times is, "most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory". These IT positions, such as Network Manager, Senior Software Engineer, or CTO, can be just as important to an organization as a Vice President is to the country. Often there are many good reasons to hire a supremely unqualified person to a demanding technical position, and they are almost always bad, and end in a catastrophe!
Update Nov. 15th
Palin's um, command, of the english language.
Here was my overtly political response to Tim O'Reilly endorsing Obama:
One of the reasons why we have such a problem with National Security is the President George W. Bush invaded Iraq, under a false premise, and created problems in the region. This false premise was to protect us from "terrorists". Instead the region is destabilized, and we recently attacked yet another country Syra.
McCain voted for all of this, and egged the war on. McCain would continue those immoral, my opinion, polices. You might want to read a recent interview with Republican, retired Senator and Vietnam War Vet, Chuck Hagel. He lays out a very well thought out indictment of both McCain, Bush, and the war on Iraq. He also mentions that McCain's world view has a real problem, as it often involves attacking countries.
Republican Chuck Hagel, New Yorker
This behavior by McCain degrades our National Security.
The second argument against McCain being the best choice for National Security is his Vice Presidential pic. She is apocalyptically underqualified by anyone's standards, and numerous people have made this same conclusion. She being anywhere near the Presidency is perhaps the greatest threat to our National Security in the history of the United States, period.
In terms of the budget, Obama would be a much better choice to fix this crisis then McCain. McCain finished last in his class in school, his Vice-President had an equally bland academic career in which she bounced around schools until she finally scraped up a journalism degree.
George W. Bush, and the Republican policies have put our nation in Trillions of dollars of debt, by invading Iraq, redistribution our wealth to the ultra-rich. McCain has voted with Bush policies on the economy like they were clones. Finally, McCain admits he knows almost nothing about economics. He has eight houses, due to his ultra wealthy wife's fortune, and just plain doesn't understand our economic problems.
Finally, the republican party, and George W. Bush, needs to be thrown into the street like dogs for what they did to America. We are the laughing stock of the world, our economy in a mess, civil liberties have decreased, we torture people, invade other countries at will and kill people that are "bad people". Much of this has been enacted in the guise of fighting terrorism, and it is just as inane as McCarthyism was. Famous computer scientists Donald Knuth, has a great list of infrequently asked questions on the war in Iraq. One of my questions is what line do we cross in invading countries before we are the bad people, and we are the terrorists?
The only rational argument I have heard that makes sense, is that a large portion of people, mostly Catholic and Christian, are voting for Republicans just based on the fact that they feel Supreme Court Justices will be appointed that will overturn Abortion Laws.
I really do understand this rigid viewpoint if someone feels abortion is Murder, but at one point does the rigidity become a noose around people's neck such that they can never compromise? As Tim mentioned Abortion is a very divisive issue, and our country cannot afford this divisiveness, as it allows other evil to go unaddressed.
Mathematician Blaise Pascal said, "
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
Is this what is happening with Abortion? We as a country have to some how find a way to move past this issue, and form some compromise, otherwise, these "religious convictions", may enable others to do evil.
This is why I am voting for Obama.
Bill Maher on Palin