I find it very interesting the recent request by the Obama admin to delay the TV switch flipping next month. We are scheduled to undergo a major transition from analog to digital TV on Feb 17, whereby all old analog TV’s won’t receive any signal anymore. Only digital TV’s will work from that point on.

Why this is piquing my interest:

  • We know its for a good reason – free up bandwidth for emergency services, better reception, clearer images, etc. So it’s not simply a luxury, but a necessary step forward.
  • It’s a gov’t mandated technology switch
  • The sacrifice on our part is as simple as purchasing a converter box, or buying a new TV with digital reception capability (upgrading that old unit you’ve had since high school)
  • It’s been pounded into our brains for the last 3+ months that we need to switch over
  • Yet some Americans have not prepared themselves for the moment

Why I’m watching with baited breath: This is a window into what the potential energy and transportation transitions we’ll have to make in the future will look like. Right now, it’s a $60 converter box ($20 with your gov’t coupon); imagine when it’s your home electric or heat, or your $5000-$15000 car. The stakes will be much higher then, but the demand to make wholesale changes will be the same. The Oba-wan needs to watch and learn from this lesson so that if/when that moment comes down the road, he’s ready to take on the logistical, operational, and tactical issues that leap out in the middle of the process.

For that reason, he wants to delay the leaping moment. Is it out of fear, out of a sense of not wanting to tick anyone off and create bad polling number’s, out of a sense of losing some of his own constituents because they slacked on this gov’t inspired mandare?

Who knows? But I think he needs to go through with it, as bumpy and painful as it could be. It’s the only way to know how ready or not the US is for a sizeable, wholesale change people will have to make with important issues like energy and transportation. Do it now while the stakes are still relatively low.

Question is: Does he have the political chutzpah to take the lead and weather the turbulence?

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