ANGER IS AN ENERGY
I don't usually get policitcal here, and I don't want to sound like I'm preaching or telling you how to think, but it's time to get angry. I care enough about what is going on that I need to get this out. The House of Representatives recently passed the Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act, ratcheting up the restrictions on broadcasters and increasing the fines for infractions by nearly twenty times their previous amount. Additionally, they are adding new provisions to fine individual broadcasters, not just the companies--and not just for a single incident. If they appear on more than one channel, like syndicated whipping boy Howard Stern, they can fine him for every station he appears on. Last I heard, we had free speech in this country, and intelligent human beings could turn off their radio or television if something is being broadcast that they don't like. Given the current regime's consistent attack on detractors, and their increased interaction with their political buddies at corporations like Clear Channel, the agenda here is clear. Not only does it stifle dissent, but it gives the companies with the right connections--who are already getting around monopoly laws thanks to their high-ranking pals--the ability to use the FCC to push competitors out of business through crippling fines.
This is just one of many issues that our country is facing right now. Those of us who believe in the fundamentals of our government, in free and progressive thinking, are under siege by a greedy minority who are seizing power wherever they can. I have personally called and e-mailed my Senators and State Representatives several times over the past few weeks. Recently, I received a policy letter from the Congressman from my district, David Wu, on the FCC issue. I had e-mailed him before he voted and called after I discovered he voted in favor of it. This is my response to his form letter he sent to me:
March 16, 2004
Dear Congressman Wu:
I appreciate you sending me your policy letter regarding the recent vote on the FCC's proposed new regulations and your choice to vote yes on HR 3717, the Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act.
Unfortunately, I did not particularly care for what the letter had to say. I think your citation of "overwhelming public response" in regards to this matter speaks very little towards what the majority of people feel about recent events. Most of us couldn't care less about Janet Jackson's bared breast and are smart enough to know that if we don't like Howard Stern’s humor, we don’t have to listen to it. As a result, we had no need to contact you and complain, and I would bet that most of what you heard came from a very vocal minority. Passing the buck to the Supreme Court and saying they ultimately decide on these matters makes no difference to me when you have propped yourself up on my vote for you and said you don’t think free speech is important enough to stop this conservative agenda from trampling on our rights.
There is constant talk about protecting the "people's airwaves." If this were the case, wouldn't the true assessment of what the people wanted be what they choose to watch and listen to? If Howard Stern is one of the most popular radio hosts in the country, have the people then not loudly stated that they find his broadcast to be acceptable? Is it really the place of Congress to be debating this issue when, as you say, important issues like health care and the economy still loom before us? Does it matter if some radio DJ said a naughty word when our President lies to us in order to go to war? Do you not feel shameful discussing a nipple on the taxpayer's dollar when people are dying in Haiti, Iraq, and Spain? It all seems rather silly, don't you think?
I am sorry, Congressman, but I am not very pleased with the direction our country is taking. I don't believe that the majority of Americans are being spoken for, and your vote on HR 3717 feels like an attempt to silence our voices further. The Democratic Party is cheating its members by continually running scared from the political right--rather than doing the right thing.
Thank you for listening.
Respectfully, Jamie S. Rich
P.S. You might want to be more careful in your salutations in the future. I am not, nor have I ever been a "Ms." In fact, it clearly indicates otherwise on my voter's registration card.
The Senate has yet to vote on this issue. It's designated SB 2056. It takes two minutes to call or e-mail your Senators. They don't need your in-depth opinion, and you'll be talking to an aide anyway. If you don't know how to get in touch, then just go here. It's easy. (And if you want to tell your Representative that he or she bungled it the way I have, then go here.) You can even tell them how you feel about more than one thing. I used one call to note that I wanted a vote against SB 2056, I am in favor of same-sex marriage, and I think George W. Bush needs to put his ass in a chair and answer some questions regarding September 11.
There is also a petition here that is gathering steam. And if you want to read up on this issue, Howard Stern actually has a lot of information on his site. The final article on his list actually opens up a door to a lot of different pieces on the subject--just check the sidebar for more.
Remember, these people are our employees. We put them where they are with our votes, we pay their salaries with our taxes. They claim to speak for us, and if they don't, we're the only ones who can call them on it! And if you want a true alternative to George W. Bush, then get on John Kerry's case right now. Write him through his campaign site or his Senator's site.
And don't worry, I'll return you to your regularly scheduled dumbass blog soon.
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