Recent events prove importance of public discourse

Net Neutrality repeal reinforces need for democratic participation

Imra Tajuddin, news editor

When I first heard of “net neutrality” in November, I didn’t think much of it. But as the days flew into December, it became a more popular issue, and “net neutrality” started to come up more and more in the headlines of the articles I read.

Net neutrality was repealed on Dec. 14, 2017 after the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2, despite the fact that 83 percent of voters opposed the repeal, according to the Washington Post.

Net neutrality is the principle that all Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications, regardless of the source or destination and without blocking or favoring certain websites or products.

According to the New York Times, without net neutrality, in the worst-case scenarios Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast would be able to control the speed at which their consumers could access particular websites, depending on webpage, and charge more for higher-quality service.

The fact that we could lose free access to the Internet, something that is essential to almost all of our lives, is extremely frightening. And what’s even more frightening is that a vote between five people has the potential to change the lives of all Americans.

The idea that three people can make such an impactful decision is completely unjustified– whether or not that decision will actually be implemented.

Looking back to last year, I wish I had done more to contribute to the battle. I wish I had signed more petitions, contacted more politicians and liked, reblogged and reposted more information about net neutrality. I don’t know how much I could have contributed by myself, but it could have helped.

If you want something to change, I encourage you to go out into the community and fight for it. That doesn’t mean you have to attend every protest, but I hope you’ll take a little time to sign a petition, or send a message to your congressman. One person may not have the biggest impact, but a mass of people can move the world forward.

Change is the only way that our community becomes a better place, and the people are the ones who can bring about that change. The future of net neutrality is cloudy. However, all hope is not lost. Congress still has to vote on finalizing the repeal later this year.

If we want to keep the freedoms that we have or gain more, or if the government is doing something we disagree with, we cannot sit around passively and wait for someone else to secure those rights for us— we have a responsibility to go out and change the world for the better. It’s the only way. So the next time something like this comes around, take more action. Fight for what you believe in.