An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

People can argue until they are blue in the face about it being a left thing or a right thing, but the fact is that it is not.  What is wrong this this country can be seen in what is happening in Congress right now.  It has been going on since the beginning of the Internet, and it can be seen in perfect clarity at this very moment.  So, what’s wrong with this country – the government is old.

Nowhere is this problem more visible than with the battle for SOPA and PIPA.  It is all over the internet today.  Google and Wikipedia are blacking out their pages to protest it.  If they were smart, Facebook and Twitter would have joined the fight.  If you want people to fight against these two acts, deny people their Facebook.  It would be a fury of anger at the government.  But alas, it is still a good fight that has been done on the behalf of this battle that all of the internet is firmly on one side.

But it is a sign too about how this government is.  It is very, very old.  What’s more is that the age is starting to show, and it is getting to be a real problem for the people in this country who are becoming more politically aware.

Over the last ten years, technology has changed everything.  As more and more people are becoming connected online, the cultural values and the like that have dominated society are eroding away.  Culture is becoming one online.  The online communities are growing every day.  Technology has linked our world together the way nothing ever has before.  It is an amazing time to be alive.

The problem is that while the technology is becoming a river of discovery and growth, the government of this country is behind.  This government is living in the 20th Century.  There is proof like no other when you look at how things are being handled right now.

At the end of the 90’s, things were great for this country.  Our economy was on top of the world, and there were no signs that things were going to go wrong.  Not on the surface, anyway.  Our government, especially the Republican side of the fence, keeps wanting to go back to that.  They don’t seem to realize that we can never go back to that.

The reasons are simple – everything has changed since 1999.  The world is a 100% different place than it was at the end of the century.  The Internet has changed business in this world forever.  Technology has changed the way people live their lives.  The economy dramatically failing has changed the opportunities this country has.  And most of all, the demographics have drastically changed.

Other nations have figured this out, and have taken steps to change with the times.  Europe has invested in infrastructure.  While many nations are in bad shape, many others are holding strong.  They have an up-to-date transit system, universal health care, a national wireless service.  They aren’t investing the way America is in war and bad business practices, along with deregulation.  They are embracing the future of technology.  Some nations quicker than others, but America is going next to nowhere in a big hurry.

Asia is really coming into its own too.  Japan is looking to be coming out of the economic slump that it has been in for the last twenty years.  China is rapidly expanding their economic power.  South Korea has the largest wireless network on the face of the planet, universal health care, and they are doing very well.

Even our friends close to home are doing pretty good.  Canada is holding strong.  They have some problems, but they are holding out.  Meanwhile, America is falling into a grave of economic failure.  This country is headed in the wrong direction again, and fast.

We haven’t learned that the way we are doing business isn’t working.  The reason we haven’t learned that, in my opinion, is because our nation’s congress is too old.  We have an old guard, and they want to do things the way that they have always been done.  But as we have seen, that system is no longer palatable.  The times have changed, and we have to change with them.  But the old guard is looking to keep things the way they always were.

And the old guard doesn’t stop at the government.  The people who run the corporations aren’t figuring it out either.  SOPA and PIPA are the result of the media industry not wanting things to change.  Never mind that what they call “piracy” has changed the shape of business forever.  Napster opened the flood-gates of a new way of doing business, and it has changed the face of business not just in America, but across the globe.

That’s the really ugly part of SOPA and PIPA.  They wouldn’t just hurt business here in America, but across the globe.  It would effectively kill the internet.  It would destroy the livelihoods of thousands, maybe millions of people.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, all of those sites would be gone in a day.  Because these acts aren’t targeted, like the DMCA was.  These are a nuclear weapon, because the media industry has realized that this isn’t going to be stopped.  The technology is going to grow and change things even more.

There is hope, though.  There are signs that the old guard is being fought against.  The Occupy movement has shown that the young guard is growing, and they are tired of things staying the way they are.  They know what I know – that things can be better, if we change the way we do things.

For 50 years, deregulation and “free market” has been the mantra.  We’re now seeing that that isn’t going to work anymore.  America isn’t the massive growing market.  We have stopped our growth spurt.  Now things have to change.  And the youth are getting active.  However, more needs to happen.  We have to elect younger leaders with an eye for changing things.  These old men and women who run Congress are driving us into the ground.

So, what’s your next move?

Peace out,

Lefty

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