posted by Matt W on March 7th, 2012

I recently was in Washington, DC and had the honor of going around to all the cool national sites. My wife and I went into the National Archives, because there was a new exhibit on Benjamin Franklin, and it’s always good to see the documents that helped found our country. As there is usually a line to view the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, I suggested that we go stand in line to view them first and then go to the Franklin exhibit.

As you enter the exhibit, you pass by the Magna Carte, which is amazing in and of it self. After spending a few minutes reviewing this 800 year-old document I take my place in line. In front of me are two kids, one male and one female, and both are approximately 18. They are both playing a slot machine app and comparing scores on their iPhones. The freakin Magna Carte is 10 feet away from them and they are playing slots? So, in an attempt to gain understanding into this obviously foreign area of my life, I watch. Their parents don’t seem to be dragging them through the exhibit. They seem to be here on their own free will. They just couldn’t quite make it without electronic stimulation for more than 2 minutes.

So, anyway, we have a fairly short wait and are released into the main viewing room. It is amazing. I am standing in front of the Declaration of Independence, I can make out John Hancock’s signature, I am looking at Thomas Jefferson’s carefully chosen words setting the foundation of how our great country is to be governed for hundreds of years.

The kid next to me is texting.


Now as I was in a good and reflective mood because I am in one of my favorite places, now waiting to review the Constitution of our great land, I actually think, maybe this is how he shares cool events in his life with friends. This is how a kid shows curiosity and respect for the documents that formed our country, by sharing through texting with a friend. I’m really thinking positive things about this kid, trying to come to grips with a part of life that I don’t think I’ll ever understand and then I see he is watching a video on his phone and laughing. He couldn’t wait 10 minutes to look at the video he just received?

So much for a potential moment of personal understanding. Texting sucks. It is a poor form of communication that shows how little the texter cares for everything around them (in this case the Declaration of Independence). If there were iPhones during the Revolutionary era, we would still be a British colony, because Thomas Jefferson would have been to busy texting and sharing stupid cat videos with the other founding fathers to be bothered with shaping a great democracy.

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