Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Letter to Congressman Heath Shuler (NC-11) on Network Neutrality

Congressman Shuler,

I am writing to encourage you to reconsider your stance on network neutrality. I read the letter sent by 72 members of congress to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski opposing net neutrality and I was disappointed you were one of the signers. Net neutrality has been the de facto way of the Internet since it's inception and allows everyone equal access. It allows small and innovative startups to be on the same playing field as massive corporations like Yahoo and Google (which were both once small and innovative startups). Allowing network providers to restrict traffic of their choosing would stifle the innovation that has lead to the Internet we have today. It would also allow network providers to favor their own services over competing services, limiting competition. I hope you will reconsider your position and Chairman Genachowski will make the right choice and not make policy based on your letter. Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To Senator Kay Hagan: Public Option in Health Care Reform

I've read a few articles (here and here) about Senator Kay Hagan's opposition to a public option in the latest health care debate and I felt compelled to write her:
Senator Hagan,

I have read several articles recently discussing your opposing a public option as part of the push to reform our health care system. I am writing in hopes that your will reconsider and support a public option.

My biggest concern is that everyone in our country has access to health care and personally I would like to see a single payer health care system. I do see the reality of the entrenched insurance companies in our health care system though and know that option is almost impossible politically.

I think that having a public plan may be the next best thing to single payer. Insurance companies are not in the business of making sure their customers stay healthy. They are in the business of making money. To do this they drop sick people or charge them outrageous premiums if they cover them at all. They also routinely deny coverage. How a "bureaucrat in Washington" is worse than a bureaucrat at a health insurance company, I don't know. Health insurers need the competition.

I feel that health care should be a right, not a privilege limited to people who can afford it or are lucky enough to have a job that provides it for them. That should be the overall goal of any health care reform.

Thank you for listening.

Forrest Samuels

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why don't we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!

I got an email forward this weekend that got under my skin a little and not just because of the mere fact that it was a forward. It detailed some of the instances where Christianity has come into play in the history of our government and the amazement that "How, then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for 220 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and unconstitutional?". It closes with:
It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or "In God We Trust" on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!
I found the full email online here, though the version I received had a few less "Did you know?'s".

And here was my response...

It is true that our country is based on Judeo-Christian values but more importantly our country is also intentionally secular. The first amendment of the constitution clearly spells out that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". There is a very fuzzy line though in determining what is religious and what is favoring one religion over another. I think it is more important for everyone in this country to be able to practice the religion of their choosing (or no religion) though than it is for the majority to have their religious symbols supported by the government.

The thing that really bothers me about this email though is the idea that because a majority thinks something should be one way that makes it the right way, and that the minority should "sit down and shut up!!!". When the majority rules they can easily ignore the rights of the minority. Imagine if instead of being the majority, Christians were the minority. Would you feel the same way then? Or try being a Christian in an Islamic republic like Iran. Many of the first settlers came to what would become the United States fleeing religious persecution in Europe. Groups like the Puritans and Quakers. It is the separation of church and state that allows Christians to worship as they want.

The United States is the most diverse country in the world and that is one of the many things that makes us so great. Our diversity forces us to be more understanding and accepting of other views. Compromise and understanding are necessary parts of the process.