Last month, the Federal Communications Commission reached a historic decision with its controversial vote to preserve net neutrality. The response from telecommunications giant Verizon to that vote was also notable—both for its haste and its theatricality.
As an American writer, however, I felt uneasy in Havana. (I had served in government, but never traveled to Cuba during that time). I kept waiting for the ax to fall. This was largely because I was hanging out with Cubans who were under surveillance. My book, Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground, profiles the Cuban bloggers who took great personal risks to tell stories that didn’t appear in the state-controlled media.
The contagion that hit New York City the summer of 1832 was as frightening, deadly, and as poorly understood as Ebola is today: cholera.
Neither top-down politics nor disorganized grassroots movements can solve our most challenging problems. But, as the first Earth Day demonstrated, politicians who use their power to nurture the creativity and commitment of citizens truly can change the world.
Joshua Dubler is the author of Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison, which follows a group of prisoners serving life sentences at Graterford Prison. FSG published Down in the Chapel earlier this month.