This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
Just when I think that things can’t get any worse, they do. They always do. On Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai joined the pack at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) alongside fellow Republican commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr. These are the architects of the recent order to repeal net neutrality. That might not be the worst thing about all of this, so please prepare yourself for what I’m about to say. Once Pai took the stage, it was announced that he would be receiving an award from the National Rifle Association. And guess what that award was? A gun. Of course, it was a gun. It was a handmade Kentucky long gun and a plaque. Together these things are known as the Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award.
Before I talk about this award, let me take a step back for a moment. There has been a lot of violence over the last year, and while I don’t think guns are always the problem, I don’t think they’re the solution either. Guns have a place in society. As someone who grew up on a farm, having a gun is important to protecting livestock. Which, in a lot of cases is a person’s livelihood. Guns were also an important aspect of society during war times. And while you might argue differently (and there is a case to be made in that direction) we don’t live in a time of war. So why are guns so prominent in our society?
Pai was at the conference during a time when at least 8 businesses announced that they were severing ties with the NRA and no longer offering discounts to their members. The boycott, prompted largely by an outcry from users on social media, came amid a growing backlash against the gun lobbying group following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. What made matters worse is that NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch told a CPAC crowd on Thursday, “many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it.” (Repeating her statement literally made me sick.)
Later that day, Pai made the following statement:
“I don’t play small ball. I decided that I wanted to make a fundamental change in the way the [FCC] operates. I think it’s important for us to set rules for the road that allow the American people to take control of their own lives, instead of having it run out of an American bureaucracy.”
I find this statement incredibly ironic. Don’t you? I mean, who is net neutrality going to benefit except big telecommunications companies? How are the American people going to take control of their own lives when they can’t access Netflix unless they pay more for it? Perhaps this is allowing rich people to take control of their own lives. But it’s certainly not helping anyone else. In fact, you could make the argument that it’s marginalizing people with low income. If you can’t get online to get any skills that you need to better yourself or connect with programs and services that will help you, you’re not going to be able to succeed.
I’m about to make a pretty bold statement, and I know there will be backlash from it, but I think it’s necessary. Ajit Pai received this award because of the fact that he is a conservative. Not because he did something courageous. Which means, this award is a joke. Conservatives support the NRA because it benefits their own agendas. While I don’t want to paint all conservatives in this light, most don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. Or maybe they care about their rich friends. Pai is using his position to push a conservative agenda, which means, he doesn’t consider the needs of the American people. Unfortunately, this is our reality at the moment, and there is only one way to change that. During the next election – get out and vote. Bring all of your friends and show the rest of the country that you want change. That is your right, and it is something that I urge you to do.