Congress, at the request of the President, has been trying to push back the date for the digital television transition that this nation has been preparing for two years. On the surface, the reason for this is concern for those who are still unprepared. So out of that concern, the federal government may spend millions of its constituents’ tax dollars to delay the transition for another six months or so.
I could understand the concern if the issue were a transition from 60Hz electricity to 50Hz electricity, or 120v household voltage to 220v. There are some whose lives would be in jeopardy if they were not prepared for such a change. But television? It doesn’t make sense.
It didn’t make sense, that is, until I asked myself what essential role television plays for our elected representatives. See, TV is not really essential for we the people, but it is essential for those who need our votes. If a sizeable number of “poor” people are bereft of television, they might just turn on the radio instead. There are some in power who would gladly pay millions of our dollars to prevent that, especially if those poor people might listen to an AM station between noon and three Eastern time.
Even worse than tuning in to AM radio, those “poor” people would no longer be coached on how to think. They might begin thinking for themselves, and evaluating the performance of their elected officials purely on the basis of their own sense and principles, and in the best interest of their families. Some political agendas would certainly suffer.
Television is like the Matrix, with one important difference. Instead of turning human beings into batteries, it helps turn them into votes. To certain officials of our government, uninterrupted television service to their constituents is absolutely essential. It will be interesting to see if their secret fears are realized.