Voice in the Wire

December 16th, 2008

Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.

In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.

Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.

The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…

At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.

When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.

Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.

The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.

Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.

Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit

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Eric Cantor

Cantor Quake

imageHouse Majority leader Eric Cantor is getting some flack for this recent comments after Tuesday’s east coast earthquake.

There is an appropriate federal role in incidents like this.

Obviously, the problem is that people in Virginia don’t have earthquake insurance.

All of us know that the federal government is busy spending money it doesn’t have.

While suggesting that any disaster relief be offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

There are very few things that I agree with Cantor on, DADT, DOMA, ENDA, just to name a few; my gut instinct here is to agree with him. Now, Think Progress makes it seem in their commentary as if Cantor doesn’t want to provide any federal aid to folks in Virginia who suffered property damage from the quake, which isn’t what he said as you can see in the quote above, but even if he had I’d have a hard time not agreeing with that as well.

I truly don’t believe that our Federal government should come running with it’s credit card out every time there Mother Nature has a hissy fit. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are times where it’s necessary for the Fed to lend a hand in a disaster. The impending hurricane Irene being a good example. Having the National Guard help fill sandbags and even provide them in a flood is another example of good government help. Rescuing people stuck in New Orleans during Katrina is another one.

But if your home gets flattened by twister and you were dumb enough not have insurance or know if your policy covered twisters then I’m sorry for your loss but the government has no business bailing you out. If your Virginia business takes a hit because of an earthquake and you didn’t have earthquake insurance, you’re on your own.

Now the flip side of that of course is that I would be ok if the government were to say provide you with a low or no interest loan to help you rebuild, but to expect a handout from Uncle Sam for every disaster is part of the crap thinking that landed us with national debt that would make the Great Wall of China look like a speed bump.

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