Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Take on the SOPA/PIPA Blackouts

By Nick Robinson-Berry

This was truly an impressive day for the American mainstream media. For once, in an incredible breath of fresh air, a decent amount of air time was dedicated to a story that truly, clearly matters to the average American: the protest movement against SOPA/PIPA. For the first time in 6 months, I tuned in to watch the morning news and was not absolutely inundated by story after story of what color tie Mitt Romney was wearing. I didn't hear much about the garbage that was spewed from the pit that is Newt Gingrich's mouth. My liberties did not feel too infringed upon after the short time I spent listening to whatever nonsense Rick Santorum felt inspired to talk about. Instead, I was treated to the first instance of actual headline news I've seen in a good, long while.

It wasn't just the headlines on the television that caught my attention today. Many media outlets on the web were awash with reporting on the controversial bills, what they meant, how they worked, as well as who supported them and who was vehemently against them. If you happened to visit one of the top 100 most popular websites today, there was a very good chance you stumbled upon some kind of banner, some kind of image, or even just a large, black screen, upon which there was a plea to act, speak or demonstrate; just do something besides sitting on your butt in front of a screen waiting for something to happen. There was a public outcry today the likes of which the Occupy Wall Street movement would die for 15 minutes of. There was public unity on both sides of the political spectrum. It seems when it comes to freedom of speech and opposition to censorship, we do not stand divided; we stand as Americans.

Today is a day I am proud of my country, if not for the freedom we so desperately cling to, then for the people who have finally taken the time to stand for themselves. Be certain, however, that this is not a self-fueled fire. Today was a spark on the hides of many American citizens, some of whom desperately needed it, but it will be all for naught should we resort back to the terminal complacency we've been wallowing in for the past 10 years. Our freedoms are fragile, so fragile as to be subject to elimination by the simplest stroke of a pen. As long as they are only written on paper and not demonstrated by action, we can never and will never be a truly liberated society.

If you haven't contacted your representatives already, please do so. If you haven't made even the smallest attempt to educate others about the threats to their freedoms, please do so. If you haven't ruffled a few feathers or stirred the waters today, please, do so. Before it's too late for any of us.

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