My picture of American politics before and after I became aware of SOPA is as different as day and night — and my “after” is far darker.
December, 2010: the middle eastern nation of Tunisia erupted in protests against a corrupt and oppressive government, arguably the first bloom of the “Arab Spring.” As the rest of the world watched, mesmerized, the drama unfolded, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was thrown out, and the subsequent interim government went through several upheavals.
I remember, shortly after Tunisia’s Ben Ali was ousted, I had an errant thought: could this happen here?
I dismissed the thought with a mental shrug — it didn’t seem like conditions in the United States were bad enough for something like this to happen, and that Americans were too complacent to make this kind of stand anyway.
It Can’t Happen Here … or it Won’t?
It is clear one of the facilitators of the Tunisian revolution, the Iranian election protests of 2009 and 2010, and the later revolutions in Egypt and Libya, was the internet, and social media.
When I look at the seemingly unending reams of internet legislation (written to destroy what little privacy is left to users of the internet and enforce the ownership of intellectual property rights light years beyond any reasonable measure) that are quietly being rammed with unconscionable haste through the United States Congress, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch of the imagination to suggest I was not alone in wondering if the same kind of revolution could happen here.
And I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch of the imagination to suggest the drive to throttle the internet from both the government and corporate sectors is that The Powers That Be are striving to ensure that it won’t.