It has been said that the Internet, and specifically blogs, are to politics what Sam Colt’s Peacemaker was to the Wild West; an equalizer. That sentiment has apparently been taken to heart by the US Federal Election Commission because, like today’s gun prohibitionists, the FEC wants to take away your individual power and concentrate it in the hands of a chosen few.
A good background description of the bizarre reasons behind this power play can be found here, but basically it is an extension of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a.k.a. the Incumbent Protection Act. Senators McCain and Feingold, authors of the Reform Act, claim this is not true. Do not be fooled. The FEC is under a Court Order to bring the Internet under Campaign control and MUST COMPLY. It will be done by mid-summer. Failure to abide by the FEC rules will carry some stiff penalties, the mere threat of which will be enough to keep most blogs out of the political arena.
There is, however, some hope. The Internet community is aware of what is going on, and a powerful group called Downsize DC has gotten involved in the fray. They have begun a strong grassroots effort and there is a bill pending in both houses of Congress now that would exempt the Net from the BCRA laws. The Online Freedom of Speech Act is only one line long and already has bipartisan support, albeit at a low level. If you are a US citizen, you can urge your representatives to sponsor the bill by using Downsize DC’s electronic lobbying tool. It only takes a couple minutes and, best of all, it is free – the way internet speech should be.