Avoiding hypocrisy in one’s own personal life seems like an ultimate goal. Contradictory behavior and perspectives cause confusion and frustration and foment lack of trust and dependability. When it comes to politics, however, hypocrisy is par for the course, especially under President Donald Trump. It is duly noted that past presidents have had their own issues with hypocrisy, but looking at the issues of states’ rights, such as gay marriage and abortion, Republicans seem to have found a loophole to ensure the limiting of personal rights by referring to the autonomy of states’ rights. When it comes to offering opportunities to capitalize on unfair policies for the average person, states’ rights take a back seat. For instance, the fight over net neutrality. In the world of commerce, Republicans refer to it as deregulation, call it a free-market value and then block any state’s attempt to protect its residents.
On Sunday, Sept. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law strict protections over net neutrality, which would prevent service providers from slowing or blocking certain websites or applications while giving others faster Internet speeds for a fee. In essence, net neutrality allows a somewhat level playing field when it comes to simply accessing websites and applications. Right after Brown signed the law, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block the law from taking effect.
Trump’s cabinet pick, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, justified the DOJ’s lawsuit.
California, he said, is “attempting to subvert the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach” to the Internet. “Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy. The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our constitutional order.”
The companies that stand to gain the most with the repeal of net neutrality have also spent millions to make it happen. According to a Dec. 13, 2017, report by Fastcompany, “Amid Net Neutrality Debate, Biggest ISPs Spent At Least $26.3 Million On Lobbying,” between 2008 and early 2017, the three big internet providers — Verizon, Comcast and AT&T — and their trade organization, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, had spent $572 million lobbying federal lawmakers on subjects that include net neutrality.
On the other side, net neutrality supporters included Amazon.com Inc., which spent at least $13 million; Facebook Inc., which spent $11.5 million; and Twitter, which spent $550,000, as reported in “These Companies and Trade Groups Spent Millions Lobbying on Net Neutrality,” a June 11 article published by Law.com. The debate boils down to whether or not the Internet is a utility that everyone has fair access to use. The Federal Communication Commission, since Trump has been in office, has voted to kill net neutrality. Many of those who support Trump also seem to agree with the idea that net neutrality is unfair to Internet services providers, even if it cripples those same supporters’ ability to do e-trade or even access websites.
It’s hard to know exactly when the Department of Justice will allow autonomy to one state that doesn’t agree with federal policies and practices and when it will fight a state that contradicts it. The outcome of this two-faced approach to federal and state policies? More agitation and distrust between the two parties and the people.
For those who voted for Trump simply to stir things up, the muck is certainly out in the open now. But what will the people learn from this drama and persistent battle of wills? Is this ongoing civil combat healthy? It seems as though no matter which way this country goes, from red to blue and back to red and then blue again, the premise of unity of the United States seems to be more and more far-fetched.