Written by: Kaitlyn Burkhart
After a short and heroic uprising of the Internet community, it seems as if the people have won the battle against censorship of the Internet. On Friday January 20, Congress dropped the bills in the wake of the largest online protest in history. A staggering 13 million people took the time to add their names to the petition, alongside a voluntary blackout held by thousands of websites (including Wikipedia, the sixth most-visited site in the world), in order to keep the Web free of censorship and out of the hands of the government and big business. The swift building of this movement, and it’s direct impact that hit the government straight in the legislature, has possibly been the most successful (if not the only, disregarding the rather ill-organized Occupy Wall Street) display of democratic power from the people in the recent past, with comparisons to the Arab Spring Movement, and our forefathers’ Boston Tea Party.
With the Internets’ uprising being hailed as a great success, it seems to be that maybe this movement of power from the people will shine the light on us as citizens, and how we’ve sat idly by as unfair, unconstitutional, and extraordinarily-out-of-touch-with-citizens’-lives legislature has been passed without even a whimper. Until, that is, they tried to take our Internet. Is this what Democracy has come to in the US? They can cut taxes for the rich, monopolize the elected government official positions to weed out any person who can’t spend millions on a campaign, slash spending on our education systems yet boost Congress’ payrolls, and most recently pass a bill that gives you no rights under the Bill of Rights if the military thinks you’re a terrorist.
Was it not so much that we were fighting for Freedom of Speech, or was it that the Internet the last free thing we had?
Many social commentators have been speaking out on the apathetic nature of Americans today, noting that if most of the things we let slide today happened 50 years ago, the people would have been pulling up the roots of the administration, making noise in the streets, and children would be writing letters to state representatives in their classrooms. What happen to the America where people were actively fighting for their rights? Where if people saw something that was wrong, and actually thought they could change it?
Let me ask you a question; When was the last time you watched, read, or discussed the people running for the positions in Congress or the spots in the next Presidential election? Were your thoughts afterward about the policies those people were promoting, or were you merely dissatisfied with how the entire thing seemed to be about how clueless our political leaders were, or how the debates had seemingly become pissing contests between GOP members, where one person commented on how much money the other person had made, how many wives they had, or why Obama is a socialist and needs to be stopped?
Seriously? Watching a debate nowadays is like watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Same amount of cat fights, less fabulously dressed.
With so many people displeased with the happenings in the government, it’s amazing that it took them threatening our Internet for something to happen. The people won have won a battle, maybe that will be the thing to stoke the proverbial fire under our chairs to win the war. Or, at least, do something to put the power back in our hands.