Behold! What the Stop SOPA blackout managed to accomplish in 24 hours.
This also reveals how distressingly ignorant many political representatives are. It seems they just blindly supported it without actually knowing what the hell it was about, and then when they were forced to find out, they learned, and changed their minds.
No, the number of supporters only dropped by 15, while the number of opponents went up by 70. Which is to say:
- Most supporters didn’t change their minds.
- Most people had no preference as of Tuesday.
- Once their constituents made their preference known, they followed the wishes of their constituents.
So if there is a technical issue like this which affects you and you would like your representative to do something about it, tell them. There’s this weird expectation that political leaders, who have to address issues concerning lots of people who aren’t you (the elderly, children, farmworkers, etc.), should have all the same information we do. That’s understandable - we assume a monolithic media environment where everyone reads and watches the same things as us, even though that hasn’t been true for a decade or so, because everyone we interact with online does have the same media diet as us - but it’s not going to protect your interests. Here are some of the things the House considered yesterday: water resources in California, oil and gas rights, increasing the debt limit, the Volcker rule, and NATO’s role in the Western Balkans. SOPA/PIPA is important, but at heart it’s about allowing the DOJ or copyright holders to get a court order that would block payments to the infringer and require their ISP to deny them service. That may make sense to you, but to everyone else it’s a highly technical, niche issue. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to impact a lot of people (so is the Volker rule, and people in the Western Balkans would probably have some feelings on NATO), it just means that you can’t just expect people who deal with a lot of different shit to naturally come to the conclusions you do. You have to tell them - or, better yet, organize and find a way to get lots of people to tell them.
What happened yesterday was content providers got users to act as unpaid lobbyists, and it worked, because lobbying does. Our representatives aren’t stupid so much as they are easily distracted cats; you have to catch their attention, and if you yell the loudest, you get your way. So yell, for fuck’s sake. Don’t expect the political system to work perfectly without any input from you. And get a lot of other people to yell with you.
Now if we can only get people to vote…
While SOPA and PIPA are no laughing matter (join the strike), the reaction from those on Twitter who don’t know what’s going on is great entertainment. Do a search on ‘wtf wikipedia’ for tweets from confused individuals who are trying to find information on stuff.
And that can only mean a huge payday for lobbyists.According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the film, music and TV industries have spent more than $91 million on lobbying so far this year — an amount that puts them on pace to beat all of their previous spending records.