I don’t remember exactly when I first put my hands on a book. Obviously, it was when I was a little girl, seeing that I now read today. My parents would frequently take me to the library, let me check out a few books, and then have me read them. Initially, I would read them out loud, before learning the skill of absorbing all the information silently, without taking two seconds to read two pages or two hours.
A few years later, I began to write. I started out with poetry, which got published in my elementary school magazine. It expanded more into a novel and a flood of poems, followed by short stories, drafts of a play, and articles. From when I was nine years old, I would keep a diary about my daily musings and try to incorporate creative aspects into it. Even when my writing is confined to writing research papers for class, I did continue to write, albeit as a way get high grades.
Combined, it forms a major part of my identity.
However, the internet also makes a major part of me.
My first computer ran on Windows 98—I don’t remember what brand it was, but it was one of the larger, beige computers with boxy monitors and keyboards with larger keys. I remember going to America Online to play makeover games, and having my parents tell me when to get off because they needed to talk to somebody on the phone. I also remember discovering YouTube for the first time—and opening a Pandora’s Box I have yet to completely close. And articles—I read them for research and to discuss in my politics classes, but now I read them for information and leave them for later…only to never read them.
For a while, I never learned about the concept of “net neutrality”—a pinpoint issue lost among other pinpoint issues. I do not know how I learned this term, but once I realized it’s meaning, in which cable companies couldn’t make people pay more to garner more access to certain websites, I knew it was serious.
I do not understand why the FCC would put this issue on the vote, and then eventually vote 3-2 on mostly partisan lines to repeal these rules. Assuming that corporations have taken the reign of policy, it may be to their benefit—and their benefit alone.
Yet on the day of the vote, I found a hope spot: if a simple minority in Congress turns against this ruling, they could nullify the FCC’s decision.
And that’s where I started calling.
The relevancy of both personal and political narratives intertwines here: one day, I would like to publish my works and share them across the world. Whether as a freelance poet or a journalist, a professional author or a researcher at a think tank, I want at least some of my writing to appear digitally. Without net neutrality, I may not be able to share as much as I would like.
The same could be said with almost everyone else who is at the mercy of the internet—while a good library is invaluable, one could have the entire contents of it in the palm of their hand. And that’s what’s important when going through this week.