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We Have a Voice!

January 20, 2012

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty stinkin’ giddy right now. The state of the political process in this country has left me disillusioned in recent years. The phrase “by the people, for the people,” seems all but forgotten (nope, forgotten, too) these days as our representatives pander to their personal interests, neglecting their campaign promises and the memory of who gave them the privilege/ability to be there in the first place.

But, the events of this week have given me hope.  We all know about the online anti-SOPA/PIPA protests on Wednesday.  These little acronyms popped up everywhere.  Sopastrike.com gives some great stats on their “numbers” page:

115,000+ websites participated in the strike.
10,000,000+ people signed the anit-SOPA petition.
The hashtag #SOPA was posted 2,200,000 times.

These are some pretty overwhelming numbers!  But, the question is, did this demonstration work?  Well, my friends, it looks like they have!

First, on January 14th, the Obama administration, in response to receiving two lengthy petitions, voiced its reservations with the bill in its current form.  Yes, this took place before the blackouts on Wednesday, but it demonstrates the momentum that has been building for quite some time.

Next, according to an article posted today in the New York Times, Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), is considering meeting with leaders from Silicon Valley to arrange a compromise and figure out a way to move forward.  Then, this morning

And finally, the bill seems to have been put to rest.  Michael Cieply and Edward Wyatt of the New York Times write, “On Friday, Senator Harry Reid indefinitely postponed a cloture vote scheduled for Tuesday in the Senate, which appears to promise the death of the legislation in its current form.”*

The people spoke.  Congress listened.  I am incredibly encouraged!  While my faith in our politicians is still on the low side, the fact that so many people banded together, voiced their opinion, and forced our government to respond is a fantastic example of why this country is great.

We’ve proven our influence is powerful and can bring about change.  This begs the question: What else can we do?  Why stop with SOPA?  What about causes that actually affect human safety and freedom?  Why can’t we gather even more, not against anti-piracy legislation, but anti-human trafficking?  How about anti-hunger or anti-slavery?  We’re a strong nation.  We have been empowered by our leaders to voice our opinions, to draw lines in the sand behind that which we will not tolerate.  Let’s rise up and let our voices be heard!

* “Dodd Calls for Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Meet,” Michael Cieply and Matthew Wyatt. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/technology/dodd-calls-for-hollywood-and-silicon-valley-to-meet.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&sq=dodd%20arab%20spring&st=cse&scp=1

* Photo credit: user enwiiehttp://www.flickr.com/people/enwiie/

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