I generally avoid talking politics. A) I don't keep up on them enough to know what is going on most of the time. B) It's boooooring. C) Almost all politics disgust me and make me want to move to an uninhabited island, D) "Around here" no one wants to hear my liberal views anyway.
Today I heard something on the news that even I, an admitted Obamaphile, had to shake my head, roll my eyes, and grab my cheeks in an Edvard Munch's "Scream" sort of way over: The federal government's proposed plan to bring high speed wireless internet to 98% of the country.
It's not the money part of this issue that bothers me. Because supposedly this project will be self-funded. They plan on auctioning off 500mhz of bandwidth which will generate far more money than the cost of this project (according to their economists' calculations at least). It's the fact that I highly resent the government taking control of any of our information outlets: radio, TV, newspapers, and internet.
When I was an American history teacher, something I fell into ass-backwards when I was teaching English and World history, I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know before about the U.S.A. One of the things that impressed me most about our country was the idea of the Fourth Estate or Fourth Branch of Government. We have three branches of government that everyone knows about that create a system of checks and balances: Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive. But the last is one with unofficial status, but one which is absolutely necessary for democracy to be preserved. It is the media, the free and unhindered spread of information to the people. Because how can the people be in charge of their country unless they know the truth about what is going on in their country?
So the idea of the government sponsoring the spread of wireless internet all over America scares me. Because when the government provides it, the government can determine what happens to it. In China the government provides the internet and it determines exactly what people get to find out about and what they don't. I'm not suggesting that Obama's plan is tantamount to introducing communism into America. But it is a scary step in the wrong direction.
The thing that I find most amazing and great about our country is its freedom to choose, the fact that the people have more power than the mayors, governors, senators and presidents...IF we maintain it and don't allow it to be usurped. Sometimes giving away some of our freedoms to the government--temporarily, in order to insure our safety, in order to catch terrorists, etc.-- seems harmless. But those freedoms, held close to us, are exactly what make America unique. As soon as we give them away, for any reason, we step closer to a government that rules the people instead of the other way around. No tyrant ever got absolute power overnight. He always couched it in a desire to protect the people, provide more prosperity, ensure safety, etc., and then little by little more of the powers of the people ended up in his hands until it was too late and the people were powerless to stop him. (And I'm not referring to Obama as a tyrant here. I'm referring to the Federal Government in general, the executive branch specifically, but definitely across party lines. I mean you, Bush.)
Call me radical, but I fear ANY instance where we give the president or any other branch of government license to go outside the law (Patriot Act) or do things under the federal umbrella that we should be doing for ourselves. If we need more internet in rural places, then lets find ways to encourage the privately owned companies to do so. It's the only way to maintain control of the Fourth Estate. I appreciate Obama's desire to help those in rural areas and possibly (though I really don't buy into this part either) boost the economy in those sections of the country. But it's just anti-American to go so far out on a limb--financially and politically--when it's something the private sector should be doing for itself.
Ok...back to making peanut butter sandwiches and folding socks. I just had to get that off my chest.
(p.s. If you'd like to comment, feel free. I welcome different opinions. But please do it in a non-crazy-person tone. Crazy-people-comments will not be published. Thanks!)