17 January 2012

Dear Mr. Baucus, Mr. Tester & Mr. Rehberg

Hello Mr. Baucus, Mr. Tester & Mr. Rehberg,
I've written you before.  I was born and raised in Choteau, MT, and am still VERY PROUD to be a Montanan.  I tell everyone who asks about where I'm from about what an amazing thing it is to KNOW who our political representatives are - the size of our state means that you probably know who my relatives are, even if you don't know me as an individual.

So, I'm writing you as an identifiable person, based in a network of real people who REALLY CARE about access to REAL information on the internet.  While I realize that SOPA and PIPA sound like a good idea, many hypotheses are proven wrong when tested, and it is very likely that these two would fall into that category.  The potential within these two bills for utterly and irrevocably altering the OPEN AND UNIVERSAL nature of the internet is unacceptable.  Sweeping, grandstanding bills that seek problems, rather than solutions, are NOT the sort that I, nor many Montanans, support.  Censorship is the antithesis of what the internet is for, about, and was meant to be when it was first conceived of.

I do hope you'll keep us all in mind, as we sit here at our computers, using the internet and all its expansive global capacity to reach you, to run our businesses, share our lives with our loved ones around the world., from way out here in MT.  We live our lives with the assumption that the internet is a universal and widely available communication and information network to which we can turn for the truth about nearly anything.  Anything, including your voting records the next time we are doing our research prior to heading to the ballot box.

Yes, I also realize that having control over information and speech in this country has its appeal to some.  However, knowing you are Montanans provides me a bit of comfort, as I write to you encouraging you to OPPOSE SOPA, PIPA and ANY future proposed legislation which could subtly or even inadvertently infringe upon our rights to live and communicate as informed free U.S. and global citizens.  After all, we know you, and we know we can find you and discuss our concerns with you personally, whether in MT or back in Washington, D.C.

I will close by re-iterating that I am one of your constituents, born and raised an engaged member of my community (ies), and I urge you to reject the Internet Blacklist Bills (PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House).  I am deeply concerned by the danger these bills pose to Internet security, free speech online, and innovation.  The Internet Blacklist Legislation is dangerous and short-sighted, and I urge you to join Senator Wyden and other members of Congress, such as Representatives Lofgren, Eshoo and Issa, in opposing it.

Respectfully and candidly,
Bethann G. Merkle
Choteau, MT


Sarah Helen said...

of course they know your relatives. You are related to half of MT. ;)

M said...

Nice letter, really well written. I'm curious to hear about it. Did you get any answer? (I guess you sent it personally to these three senators and congressman). In France, the gap between representatives and citizens partly explains the lack of interest, and even more implication, in political affairs... I'm not sure you'd have had an answer from most French representatives (I mean, a real answer, not a polite to close the discussion). Yeah, that bad in France. Please let me know!


fruit.root.leaf. said...

@ M: So far, no response. However, I usually do receive a response eventually, when I write my representatives (at state and federal levels). I'll keep you posted...

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