Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin voted to eliminate the new ISP privacy law that was set to go into effect. This has been an unpopular decision across the board, regardless of political leanings. But Sensenbrenner isn’t backing down. According to him, “Nobody’s got to use the Internet.”
Of course, anyone who has tried to get a job anytime in the last decade knows that this really isn’t true. Sure, they may be some way to live entirely offline, but it would put you at massive disadvantage compared to your online peers.
It would be easy to blame his age for these comments, but I think it comes more from his profession. He has been in congress since 1979. He has not had any need to experience the hiring market since then. While it is true that he has had to run for reelection every two years, the incumbency rate for the US Congress is around 90%. Sensenbrenner has, in some years, run unopposed. He is someone who has the unusual benefit of being able to avoid such modern necessities.
This is a bipartisian problem. Our representatives live in their own alternate reality. And their decisions, often flying in the face of all logic, reflect this. This is DC syndrome, and it is highly infectious.
Thing is though, while he may not use the internet, I’ll bet you his staff does. And I will bet they use it a lot. This is another thing congressional members have that the public at large lacks, a personal staff at their disposal 24/7.
So here is my challenge to Rep. Sensenbrenner. If this internet is truly optional, prove it. For your 2018 reelection, run it as you did your first election 40 years ago. No internet, no cell phones, no social media, no email. This includes you and everyone on your staff. Break out the corded phones and typewriters. Get a taste of what it would be like for one of your constituents to try to succeed in the modern world without using modern tools to do it.