So the House and Senate passed a bill this week that reverses an FCC rule that your browser history belongs to you, and not to the company that provides your service. This means that they can sell info on how many times their users visited BlueJersey or any other site, and can do so in aggregate or parceled out.
Not surprisingly, all five Republican House members from NJ voted for it, and none of the Democrats. Under the Democrats, the FCC passed the rule protecting your online privacy. Under the GOP, the Congress took that protection away.
There’s a story that Congressman John Lewis tells about the Voting Rights Act. Martin Luther King Jr. went in to President Lyndon Johnson and said that the federal government needed to pass a VRA to protect minority citizens’ voting rights from racists trying to block their access to power. Johnson, who was no liberal, responded that he’s already blown his political capital on the Civil Rights Act and that if MLK wanted a Voting Rights Act he would have to make Johnson sign it.
MLK and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and their partners took Johnson at his word, and forced the Congress and president to pass and sign the law.
We can argue over whether the Democrats are good enough, but in just about every instance they are better than the Republicans. What we progressives need to do is stick our noses in the Democratic organization and force us — because most of us are Democrats — not just to be better than the awful assholes on the other side, but to be the awesome folks we all started out wanting to be.
That’s the difference, the important difference, between the GOP and the Democrats. The GOP wants to enact the exact opposite of what we on the left want, but the Democrats are generally sympathetic to our desires. The GOP can be stopped from doing bad stuff, but the Democrats can be pushed to do the right thing in most cases.
Too often we expect the Democrats to do the right thing because it is the right thing, and are frustrated and angry when they don’t. Instead of seeing it as our failure on the left to organize and force the right thing, we see it as a systemic failure of the Democratic Party. Sadly, it’s a feature. But it is a feature that — if we recognize and strategize around like MLK did — can be used to change the world.
To get back to the original discussion, here’s your GOP Congresscritters, and the money they took from telecom in the last cycle.