chapter  4
TEEN The Gatekeepers of Winner Take All
Pages 14

Despite our society having become a highly technological and complex matrix, our understanding of our democracy technology-the infrastructure and rules, the “hardware” and “software” that drive our political institutions and elections-has advanced very little since the time of the Framers. It is another one of these only-inAmerica paradoxes: we are stalked at every turn by technology, whether we want it or not, and yet our understanding of democracy technology is fairly primitive. Technologists are cramming ever more minute digital chips and memory banks into just about everything-household appliances with computers on board make bread in a shake-and-bake format, warm sourdough at the ready when you arrive home from work; sprinkle lawns at preselected times; and use Global Positioning Satellites to track children for overanxious parents. Ubiquitous PalmPilots have created a new demographic of stylus-wielding neo-Phoenicians, hunched over their sacred lifeorganizers, scribbling a peculiar hieroglyph. Daily headlines barrage us announcing, often times with trepidation, the latest laboratory miracle or techno-abomination, including in vitro babies, cloned sheep, designer genes, genome mapping, genealtered pink-glo bunny rabbits, space shuttle flights for tourists, and the latest in military wizardry, including pilotless spy planes and robo-bombers.