The Battle for Open Internet

The following is something I originally wrote for my email newsletter, but this is urgent – if you love the work I do (or even if you love someone else’s work), this WILL impact you:

So here’s my concern – I currently work making comics here in the United States. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC)’s chairman, Ajit Pai, is a former Verizon lobbyist and is REALLY keen on getting rid of net neutrality – net neutrality is the principle that all websites and all data be treated equally.

Pai’s reasoning for getting rid of net neutrality is that he wants internet service providers, or ISPs, to “expand their services” by offering fast connection speeds for “prime” content and slow connection speeds to everyone else.

Now, this would directly impact me and other creators you love and support online because I DO NOT HAVE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to bribe Verizon, Comcast, or other ISPs to offer my webcomics and art via “fast lanes.”

It would also impact me another way – losing net neutrality gives ISPs the power to censor access to specific sites, especially if those websites have something they don’t agree with. Because I make LGBTQ comics and comics sympathetic to witches and post them online, losing net neutrality would mean a staunchly conservative ISP would have the power to block my comics from readers who may need these stories the most.

HOWEVERit’s still within your power to get your voice heard about this issue, especially if you are over the age of 18. Call your elected officials by dialing 1-202-224-3121. This phone number will connect you to the Washington, DC switchboard. All you have to do is plug in your ZIP code and pick whether you want to call one of your Senators, or your representative in the House of Representatives. CALL ALL OF THEM.

When you get connected, you’ll either get a voicemail box or you’ll be connected to an aide. BE NICE. Here’s a rough outline of what you can say:

“Hello my name is (NAME) and I’m a constituent from (TOWN, ZIP CODE). I wanted to call to urge (SENATOR/REP) to give net neutrality and internet access Title II reclassification as a public utility, and urge FCC Chairman Pai to drop his current plan.”

You can also share a reason as to why this is important to you. BE CIVIL. The aides on the phone are not your elected official and are doing their job as best as they can. In fact, at the end of your phone call, thank the aide for their work.

If you want to go further, check out battleforthenet.com. But honestly, phone calls are the most effective thing you can do right now.

“Awww, but my phone call won’t matter because my elected officials are bribed by the whine whine whine whine – “

The whole reason Trumpcare and other garbage proposals have failed so many times is because of public outrage and people like you calling your elected officials and holding them accountable. And, speaking with all honesty, your elected officials are TERRIFIED of you, because they know you have the power to vote them out.

So please, if you have 5 minutes, make the call.

To be totally honest – I’m terrified of losing net neutrality. It would mean the end of releasing my comics online. It would mean the end of being able to make a living from making the art I do. It would mean the end of thousands of careers that began on KickStarter and Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms. It would mean billions of dollars being sucked out of our industries.

But YOU have the power to get your voice heard and stand up for net neutrality.

So get your voice heard!

Thank you for your support.

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. If the idea of making phone calls makes you break into a panic attack, you can also text RESIST to 50409. Follow the prompts and ResistBot will help you write a fax to send to your elected officials. Calling IS the most effective thing you can do, but collaborating with ResistBot helps, too.

3 Replies to “The Battle for Open Internet”

  1. I have been calling. I’ve used battle for the net’s automated system twice now. I’ve been calling Senator Portman’s offices for months on various issues, I’ve left emails and I’ve heard nothing! It certainly feels like my voice doesn’t matter. What else can I do? How many hours of my life am I supposed to spend campaigning for someone else in five years? My State’s been Gerrymandered & the conservatives would rather vote for pedophiles and rapists that a liberal. My friends and co-workers are sick of me trying to talk them into calling or going to lobby days in Columbus with me. I have to choose between what makes me happy and contributing to liberal causes. What more am I supposed to do?

    1. Tim, I totally get it – Portman is not the most responsive Senator Ohio’s ever had. I know the frustration of feeling like I’m yelling into the phone with no one listening. I’m based in a district in Ohio that’s WAY too big for its own good, thereby making it more difficult for people to canvass and run for the House of Representatives against our incumbent.

      I don’t have an easy answer for you in regards to “what are you supposed to do” with how you do politics. The fact that you make those calls and send those emails makes a world of difference for people like me, and for people I know here in my district who can’t register to vote because of their immigration status. If nothing else, remember this:

      -One thing at a time.
      -Do it for yourself.
      -If you’re not interested, don’t do it.

      At least, that’s what I’ve learned this year in being active.

      You can’t be a hero 100% of the time. I don’t expect ME to be a hero 100% of the time, so I don’t expect it out of you or anybody else. But the fact that you’ve called and emailed Senators and Representatives is WAY more than most people I know, whose most active political engagement is an angry Facebook rant directed at nobody.

      You’re allowed to take care of yourself and not do everything. Because you. Are. Awesome. <3

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