Todays generation of Americans would have a hard time understanding what life must have been like, but there used to be a time when American families didn’t have this great thing that we call the internet. In those days Netflix was not a site that you paid some where near thirteen dollars a month for. Our Netflix was a physical building that we called video stores and they each had different names. VideoTyme, Video Update, Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, and then there were the small mom and pop stores that struggled to compete against the corporations. We didn’t have Amazon and Ebay back then either. We actually had to go to different stores and whatever they had is what they had unless we ordered out of a magazine catalogue. Instead of everybody carrying personal cell phones in their pocket or in a clip attached to their belt we had pagers and pay phones. For those of you don’t know what a pay phone is they were phones that you had to place a quarter in before you could make a call unless you were calling 911.
Times have changed and improved since those days. With all of us carrying around our own personal cell phones it is often times a lot easier to get ahold of people when we need to. Let me ask you something though. Any time you want to know where your children are they are only a phone call or text message away. Maybe you need to get ahold of your boss, because you have reached a dead end in your work and you can’t go one way or the other without a decision. He’s just a phone call away. In my case while I do not have my publishers phone number between his cell phone and the internet I have very little trouble getting ahold of my publisher and friend Halsey English when it comes to questions about my pay. His cell phone allows him to check his emails and receive my emails no matter where he is. Let me ask you my readers a question. What if our cell phone companies started to limit what we could do? What if Verizon cellular said that you couldn’t call Straight Talk? They would let you call Total Wireless, but when you’re calling a Total Wireless number you’re going to have static on your phone and have a harder time hearing the other person? You can forget all about calling phones that are sold by Cricket. As far as your internet usage goes you can use Verizon’s internet to check your Google email, but if you try to check your yahoo email then that is going to cost you an extra ten or twenty dollars a month. You can use YouTube but only during certain hours of the day and they won’t let you use Spotify. How well do you like your cell phone company now?
That hypothetical situation that I just asked you about involving your cell phone is a very real situation that the Senate is doing everything they can to keep from happening with the internet. The senate passed a resolution Wednesday in an attempt to nullify new rules that the FCC intends to take effect in just a couple weeks from now The resolution passed by five votes in a 52-47 margin as republicans from different states sided with the Democrats on this issue. It should also be noted that two Republicans John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined Susan Collins of Maine in support of the resolution that the Democrats are trying to get pass.
It is doubtful that the outcome of the vote will have much success in stopping the changes that the FCC intends to take place when the rules that the Obama administration placed on the internet are repealed and our internet service providers become allowed to speed up or restrict our access to certain websites. The victory that the Democrats achieved today is only a small one since the House does not intend to take action themselves. However, this is exactly the weapon that the Democrats need heading into the 2018 mid term elections.
Massachusetts state Senator Edward Markey hailed Wednesday as a monumental day. It is his belief that todays victory would show Americans who is really on our side and who is on the side of big name corporate entities. I for one am personally interested in this situation as are many other Americans. It is no secret that I am not a fan of the left, and have been outspoken in my support of the Republicans. However, in the matter of net neutrality if I thought that it would protect my internet usage without raising my bill because someone did not like the sites I visit it would definitely bring me very close to swinging my vote in the mid term elections to the dark side. I am not the only one who has this concern. There is actually a large number of us who are worried about being made to pay more for less starting next month.
Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calls Obama’s internet rules heavy handed and unnecessary. It’s easy for someone in his position to make such a statement. We as Americans should have one common question for Ajit Pai and that question is how much money does he make again? I would be interested in how his feelings would be regarding next month if he were having to get by on what the average McDonalds employee makes each month. It has always been easier for the rich and powerful to tell those of the lower classes what we have to and don’t have to worry about.
Republicans on the other hand are in favor of the net neutrality rules coming to an end. The repeal of net neutrality takes power over the internet away from the Government and delivers it to the private market. They want the American people to believe that the Democrats are trying to play on the fear that they can stir up in the rest of us. It is the Republicans belief that Internet Service Providers will not raise their prices and upset their customer base.
This issue is not a clear cut left wing right wing issue. When it comes to net neutrality there are a lot of us who meet in the middle on this one topic and agree that Government protections can be a good thing. We use the internet every day for various reasons. Whether it is because we want to watch Netflix and Hulu, or because I have a question for my publishers Halsey English and Stefanie Nicholas the speed and availability of the internet should remain the same. Not just for me, but for everyone. I don’t care if you are watching old Law and Order SVU reruns or if you are watching porn in some corner. As long as the porn you are watching does not involve young children and is completely legal by American standards then Americans every where should have the same access to the internet no matter who their provider is.
I will be the first to admit that fear can be a great motivator when it comes to how we vote in the upcoming elections. I admitted earlier in this very article that the net neutrality issue might be enough to get me to swing my vote to the dark side. On this one topic the Democrats seem to be playing the pipers tune getting the people to follow them. Those of us who rely upon the internet are very passionate about our internet usage. There are a number of Republicans who feel that there is nothing for the people to fear, but at the present moment it is the Democrats who are doing a better job getting their perspective across to America.
I am only one American and I have only one vote. However, I have a voice and I have a platform to try and get my voice heard by as many of you as possible. The events that occur on June 11 and afterward will no doubt have an impact on how I cast my vote as well as how I try to encourage others to vote. At this moment all we can do is go along for the ride and see where it takes us.