Politicians Ponder the Internet

August 16, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

When politics and the Internet are mentioned in the same sentence, you might immediately conjure to mind the image of a scraggly bearded man, a bomb strapped to his chest, blogging conspiracy theories from a remote cabin in the woods. (How does he get broadband out there? Who knows?) Or you might be reminded of your Facebook friends from the opposite end of the political spectrum who continually post status updates expressing world views that challenge yours. (I’m sure they’ll eventually find the one that will sway you!)

But the fact of the matter is that, as presumed vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) notes, “When I started in Congress it was 90% paper, 10% electronic, now it’s 90% electronic, 10% paper and constituent correspondence is up tenfold.” Clearly, ordinary citizens—lots of them—are using the Internet to correspond with their representatives in Washington.

It’s interesting to hear, then, that both major parties are considering platform planks that support basic Internet freedom principles. We often complain that Washington is backward and out of touch, but it’s disturbing to think that politicians are merely considering something that’s so vital to our lives and to the economic welfare of our nation. At least comfort can be had from the fact that “both [parties] seem to at least recognize that [the Internet] is a major area of interest for a very large number of voters.”

If you’d like to let your elected representatives know what you think about the state of the Internet and its future (or your thoughts on any topic that government might address!), fire up your computer and shoot them an e-mail. Apparently many of your neighbors are doing just that, and for all you know your opinion could differ greatly from theirs.

Remember, the government works for you! You need to tell elected officials what you want them to do, and you need to hold them accountable for their actions. Thankfully, a "performance review" comes every few years—and if you don’t like how they’ve represented you, you can always Fire Congress!

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