By Nnena Ukuku (Co-Founder, Black Founders) I encourage everyone to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). However, we can not consider our "duty" done to society if SOPA does not pass — we must push on.
The tech community must become more involved in politics past SOPA. Otherwise, the tech community will be fighting many more battles greater than SOPA with varying degrees of success.
Please understand these two things:
1.) You will have opponents to your innovation.
2.) Your opponents care enough to put energy into lobbying for legislation that benefits them, rather than the greater society.
SOPA moved as far as it did because the media industry has a solid lobbying presence.
What does a lobbyist do? A lobbyist informs our representatives about an issue. If no one shows an alternative position what do you think that representative will think? They will think what many people think when no one is yelling about a different view point. “Hum, no one is opposing this it must be fine.”
There are those within our community that believe that we in tech should be above politics. They believe that our politicians should take the time to learn about the issues we care about. Let me ask you something - why should they? Have you taken the time to understand corn subsidies? Your representative is no different than you. They have limited time to learn about an issue. Do you really expect them to be an expert in your industry? You have to educate them.
Let me put it another way. If our fathers in the civil right movement had the above perspective I just described about involvement in politics you and I would still be drinking from separate fountains. Human beings have to be made to care about an issue that they do not realize directly affect them.
Get involved people. Make a difference. For Pete’s sake give the product you are developing a fighting chance to survive. Fight SOPA and keep on fighting.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. Photo credit: Silicon Valley Ryan Gosling. About the guest blogger: Nnena Ukuku is Co-Founder of Black Founders, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of successful black entrepreneurs. She is also the co-founder of @pac, a political action committee dedicated to linking tech and government. She is a lawyer in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter at @nukuku.