In case you hadn’t heard, Facebook founder and gazillionaire Mark Zuckerberg is on a listening tour. He wants to talk to “real people” in all fifty states. If you look at this as an effort to reach out to consumers and get a better feel for what their needs are and how that relates to his product offerings it’s probably not a bad idea. But when you combine it with other comments he’s made in the past it’s hard to ignore the possibility that maybe he’s thinking about a 2020 presidential run. I know. Crazy idea, right? Like a vastly wealthy business owner with zero political experience could get elected.
But a listening tour is a proven model for success if that’s what he’s up to. Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton popularized the term when she went on her own listening tour prior to her first run for public office and it eventually led to her being elected President of … well, never mind. Perhaps the less said about that the better.
So if this actually is an indicator that Zuck is thinking of dipping a toe in the political pool he’ll probably want to be on his A game. Sadly, a trip to the world’s largest truck stop, located in the key primary state of Iowa, didn’t get things off to a sizzling start. Gizmodo covers the action for us and it’s truly painful to behold. If there’s anyone in the country right now who embodies the SJW definition of the word “privilege” it’s Zuckerberg, and when he was unleashed in the midst of a bunch of grizzled operators of 18 wheelers it truly showed.
[W]hen Zuck rolled up to “The World’s Largest Truckstop,” in Iowa, automated driving was on his mind. First, he had to tell us what a truck stop actually is:
It’s like a small city where truckers on long trips can take a break, get something to eat, get a haircut, do laundry, get their truck washed — or their dog washed! — and even go to the dentist…
I asked the truckers what’s changed over the last few decades. When the truckers I met started driving, you logged your driving hours on pieces of paper. Now it’s electronic and automatic, which makes it harder to drive more hours than you’re supposed to. Some people said they want to work longer, but they feel like regulations are getting in the way of their freedom and doing what they want to do.
From there he goes on to chat with some truckers to get their take on driverless vehicles and how that might impact their line of work. They were skeptical, but Zuck’s only response to that seemed to be one of puzzlement as to why they couldn’t understand that he was going to put them out of business. On the plus side, nobody actually beat him up.
There’s an old tale in politics about politicians who can’t tell you how much a gallon of milk costs. (The West Wing eventually did an episode based on that story.) This encounter at the truck stop may replace that incident. If you want to be viewed as a man of the people and prove that you’re in touch with their issues and ambitions, it’s probably best not to walk into a vignette of rural America and act like you’ve just entered a petting zoo on an alien planet.
Yes… truck stops can be amazing places to visit. (And not just for the discount prostitute prices.) But there’s a whole country full of such wonders out there. Perhaps more aspiring politicians should spend some time out in the heartland, but do so without the camera crews. You never know who you might meet or what you may learn.