Since I wrote the following essay last November, the FCC voted to eliminate Net Neutrality. Since then, the fight to preserve it has gone on, but not really in the public eye. The media outlets have given little attention to it, probably because the corporate giants who own the news organizations have discouraged the discussion. They, after all, are the ones who stand to benefit most from the repeal.
A free, neutral Internet was instrumental in getting Barack Obama elected. It allows for that and other “grass roots” movements – those originating with the American people – to gain momentum and reach into millions of people’s lives. It keeps the current resistance alive and vital all across our nation, and allows regular Americans to fight the greed and injustices being perpetrated by our richest countrymen.
Internet Neutrality allows everyone total access to the one place remaining where every American can exercise her First Amendment right to free speech in a way that might be heard by enough people to have a chance of being effective.
In these days of gerrymandering and voter intimidation, the Internet is the one powerful tool remaining to help the average American speak out on issues important to him. That’s one of the reasons those few billionaires want the FCC to take it away; that is, to repeal Internet Neutrality.
But that isn’t the only reason.
Internet Neutrality allows individual entrepreneurs a chance to connect with customers around the world, and compete with businesses much larger than theirs. It gives capitalism the chance to work for more than just the few wealthy manipulators who have usurped control of our democracy.
Like all of the other elements of the Public Trust – education, health care, environmental protection, economic fairness in tax collection, and so on – the current administration wants to take the Internet away from the people – out of the public domain – and privatize it. That is, give control of it to those same wealthy few.
If the FCC – under the control of Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai (a former Verizon lawyer) – eliminates Net Neutrality, the big corporations will assume control, and all the power the Internet gives regular Americans will disappear.
Not only will the cost of being connected skyrocket, but also free speech on the Net will become a thing of the past. If some corporation – or some politician working for one – doesn’t like what’s being said by someone, they can simply block access to that person’s or entity’s postings, in effect, gagging them.
Free speech will be eliminated on the Internet. So will free enterprise. If a small business is cutting into the market share of some big corporation – and all independent businesses do – that business will find its web sites removed from the sight of its potential customers, or at least slowed down to the point where folks will give up on it ever loading.
Coming back to politics – and in today’s world, everything does - so many people get their news and information primarily from the Internet, the loss of Net Neutrality would be a disaster of epic proportions. An informed populace is necessary for democracy to work. Those who would assume dictatorial power over us know this very well. That’s why we must stand and fight to preserve Net Neutrality.
Please join me in spreading the word about this latest assault on our freedom.
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