I sincerely ask this question because this is the road we are rapidly traveling down. And the destination will be an America none of us will recognize at all. So, if we don’t want to live like this in the very near future, we have to do something about it now.
Specifically, let’s talk about just 2 things for now: Net Neutrality and American Infrastructure.
A week or so ago, I mentioned the Burger King commercial about net neutrality. But here is an even better explanation of net neutrality. It’s a demonstration. No, I mean it really is a demonstration/protest by one very courageous young man, a creative named Rob Bliss, who took to the street in front of the FCC building in Washington to demonstrate exactly what the end of net neutrality will bring us in the very near future.1
Rob busied himself with “restoring automotive freedom” at the FCC. He “throttled” access to DC’s 12th Street by placing traffic cones in all but one lane. Then, he slowly cycled up and down the remaining lane backing up traffic and infuriating motorists. He wore a sign offering drivers “priority access” to his “fast lane” for only $5/month, a fee he describes as very reasonable.
Watch his brief (and very clever) video which features several encounters with some good-natured (thankfully) DC police officers.
He makes his point crystal clear: just as no-one should have the right to throttle traffic on the streets, no-one should have the right to throttle traffic on the publicly-subsidized internet either. But here’s the other worry: It’s not just the internet that’s going to be throttled.
In the State of the Union address, Trump lauded his little-known $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The fact that we know very little of the details should cause us all great concern. Why does so much of government operate behind closed doors today?2 But this is what we can expect: our public roads are about to be privatized.
No longer will government assume the responsibility for public roadways. Private corporations will own our roads and will charge you and me to use them. Remember, taxes are, according to the insanely wealthy billion and trillionaires, “evil” and must be drastically reduced (for them). Rest assured that the CEOs and owners of the corporations will get a sizable chunk of the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill. Those taxes will be money well-spent (for them).
But the common man on the street, you and I, we will have to pay to use their roads. We will be forced by insurance companies to have self-driving cars (purportedly for our own safety). And we simply will not be able to afford to use the them and the privatized roadways that will charge for access. Oh, and don’t forget, premium rates apply during rush hour! Or, you can travel our exclusive fast lanes for a convenient upcharge. They are already doing this in Atlanta. And, to my astonishment, no one is raising holy hell about it.
Is This What You Want?
I’m asking a sincere question here. This is the America the Republican Party envisions for us, for our future, and for our children’s future. It’s a vision of a country run for and by the most wealthy, whether they are Russians, Chinese, or American—you know, the job creators that only create a handful of minimum wage jobs while getting rich off of our taxes and stealing everyone’s retirement accounts.
Long gone is the America that is run for and by you and me, “we the people.” If we fail to stand up and oppose this now, fighting it on every level and every front, our democracy is history. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but we have very little time before this is an inevitability. The midterm election may well be our last chance.
Or we can continue to argue about immigrants, abortion rights, marriage equality, the Nunes memo, who will win this/that/the other, taking our selfies—and all of the other things carefully crafted and kept before us to keep our eye off of the ball until the game is over. My friends, we are in the final inning before everyone leaves the stadium.