Wednesday, January 18

Some thoughts on SOPA

Well all of the sudden, the Internet is exploding with some hubbub about the Stop Online Piracy Act, which if you haven't heard, basically gives the government more power to stop pirating online. However, it gives so much power, that individuals and websites can be shut down if they are found to be violating the terms of this bill.

This is a bad idea, just like any other expansion of government power. But this isn't a new school of thought for me, simply brought to attention by some blackout of Wikipedia or nagging pop-ups on my Tumblr. Nah, I've been against big government since 1991 (after my brief stint with the Clinton family).

What gets me is the sudden massive surge of interest in politics. Yeah, this is a very important issue, but why can't we pay attention to other political and ethical issues? Why is this the one that seemingly everyone with a Facebook is rallying around today? What about other issues? No matter what side of the issues you are on, they all have a huge impact on our everyday lives.

We have a 14.3% poverty rate.
Unemployment rates are going up.
Health insurance premiums are sky high.
Inflation has increased 3.77% since 2009.
There are 45.3 million people on food stamps.
Gas prices have doubled since 2009.
Home values are falling.
The national debt is up to $14.7 trillion.
Our deficit is up to $1.28 trillion.
There were just under 1 million legal abortions in 2008.
China owns lots of our debt.
We are at war.
The processed food we eat is killing us.
There are millions of illiterate Americans.
Public schools are failing many of our youths.

I wish we could all rally behind some of the causes above like people have against SOPA. I think it is fascinating to see websites like Reddit and Tumblr get behind an issue that is philosophically conservative. Keep the government smaller, and increase the freedom we have as US citizens. It just goes to show that people are becoming willing to ignore parties and affiliations when it comes to major issues that directly affect them.

However, simply posting links to call our senators won't get anything accomplished, which is why I fear that SOPA will succeed. It is easy to sit back all your life and then all of the sudden get into politics when your LOL Cats and term paper gold mines become threatened. My hope is that we take this new found activism and utilize it into the future. There is an election coming up, and there is a good chance a candidate (or current president, if you swing that way) can make a difference. Don't let a simple change of your profile picture be the last action you take before 2012 is over.

Note: Sopa is Spanish for soup. But Wikipedia is down, so I have no way of verifying that fact. 

Wikipedia. Just kidding.

By Aaron Brandt, who likes Campbell's Chunky SOPA.