By Drew Clark
November 7, 2012 - I am a Mormon. I am certain that my feelings of sadness on this day after election day reflect those of millions of other Mormons.
Don’t get me wrong: my Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took no position in the presidential contest. And this statement is not merely for show. Church authorities, from Salt Lake City to the local wards and stakes throughout this country, insisted that we not use the Church for political purposes, including endorsing candidates, advocating political positions, or mobilizing voters. I include myself in this instruction in that I, too, serve in the Church in my ward in Springfield, Illinois.
Nor would we Mormons want to use the Church in this way. In my last ward, where I previously lived in suburban Virginia, I attended a priesthood quorum with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada. Our family counted, and still count (save for the constraints of time and distance) Brother and Sister Reid, their children and grandchildren, as family friends. There is no difference, no hint of “outsiderness” in Reid’s being a Mormon Democrat. This is so because the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we practice it in the Church, is not about promoting a kingdom on earth.
There is a common saying that we Latter-day Saints use to define ourselves. It is almost an injunction or an aspirational goal. We should “be in the world, but not of the world.” To be in politics and to be a political leader is to be in the thick of it. You need to understand everyday voters. You need to empathize, and to show that you feel that empathy. You need to connect to that majority – no matter how bare it is – and get them to commit to you, and stand with you and not against you. The fact that Mitt Romney could not pull this election off makes me think: can a truly good man ever be our president?
Like many millions of other American citizens, Mormons and non-Mormons, I approached my electoral obligations seriously, even religiously. As with any other weighty matter, I researched the subject. In the case of this presidential contest, I considered the candidates’ positions, personalities and character. I studied it out in my mind. I prayed. I sought a confirmation that my choice was right. I learned this very pattern of decision-making through my participation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As taught by a prophet of the Lord, after our petition to “ask [the Lord] if it be right,” the Lord declares: “if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”
“But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9)
Yesterday was the first occasion in which I could vote for a candidate whom I knew would follow this pattern. I felt that the more the American people could see about the decision-making capacity of Mitt Romney, the more likely they would be to select him as their political leader.
They did not. Now keep in mind that Romney is a Republican. He ran as a Republican, not as a Mormon. Politics is about parties, not about churches. So, when my wife and I talked this morning about last night’s election results with our eight-year-old and our 12-year-old, we asked each of them why they were so distraught. “Why would Mitt Romney get so close, and yet not be elected president?” asked my son.
Many people did indeed see the good in candidate Mitt Romney, and for a multitude of reasons. And yet more Americans cast their ballots for the president. What if the Democratic candidate had been Sen. Harry Reid, we asked our children? While I suspect that Sen. Reid and Gov. Romney have some personal fence-mending to do (now that the election is over), this hypothetical question momentarily tantalized our children and our entire family. We see and we understand the conviction and the character of both Gov. Romney and Sen. Reid. Indeed, if we lived in Utah, or another place with a Mormon majority or plurality, every election year would greet us with Republicans and Democrats, many of whom would be of our faith, squaring off against each other. They, too, would run on their values, their records, their accomplishments and their fitness to serve as a leader.
So what makes the Mormon moment that has just ended so different from such a normal-sounding occurance?
I believe the answer can be found in our national civic religion. We are – the United States of America – as a city set upon a hill. This very phrase comes from the Savior, in His Sermon on the Mount in the Bible.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
We expect our country to be this light. Well should we demand it of our President as well.
Politics – unlike business, law, learning and religion – is about piecing together majorities. It is about counting the votes. That was as true for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 as it was for Barack Obama yesterday. Piecing together majorities is even more critical for a presidential candidate who goes up against an incumbent president, which neither Lincoln nor Obama has done.
In my lifetime, only two men, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, have successfully unseated a president. On this day of electoral reflection, I see both Reagan and Clinton as able to build up that city upon a hill. Each of these men paved a way for their respective party’s successes by building the intellectual infrastructure of think tanks, advocacy groups, and robust party apparatuses that embellished and enhanced the candidates’ own visions. These followers inhabited that city that is set on a hill.
To a Mormon who sees Mitt Romney and the hope that he offered to America, answering my son’s question is not easy. This is the best that I can do: Last night 50 percent of Americans went to bed feeling that God had answered their prayers in re-electing Barack Obama. Those 50 percent are no less children of God than the other 50 percent that prayed for the election of Mitt Romney.
Or as Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural address, speaking of the North and the South, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”
Tags: Mormon · Mormonism
One hour and 50 minutes, and counting….
December 4th, 2009 · 2 Comments
It’s been way too long since I’ve made a post here on DrewClark.com. Obviously, most of my writing is at http://BroadbandCensus.com, and http://BroadbandBreakfast.com. But you can’t give up your own name, can you!
I’m watching “shark tank,” on ABC, with the family. My wife and kids got me to watch the show. Rings a little bit truer than I expected. The first TV show I have enjoyed watching in four years.
My son, on discovering “Made in Italy” on an IKEA Glass: “I thought everything was made in China.”
I just read Frank Rich’s New York Times piece about the fate of Newspapers. Typical old-media blather about the decline of the news business. The piece practically parrots the emerging meme that The Wall Street Journal is the one with the best business model in the news business - because they charge for readers. The piece doesn’t seriously consider the view that the news business (in its newsprint variety) doesn’t succeed because it doesn’t - can’t - serve the same function of information unity as it was performed in the pre-Internet world. In the end, the piece restates the convention wisdom: the American press essential to democracy, and when it comes to the press, America will get exactly what it pays for.
By Drew Clark
April 28, 2009 – The Federal Communications Commission may proscribe the broadcast of a single expletive, the Supreme Court held on Tuesday, overturning an appellate court determination that such restrictions amounted to a change of policy.
In a 5-4 decision on Tuesday authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court ruled narrowly, on the grounds of administrative law, that the FCC’s sanction against Fox Television Stations for the broadcast of those words on television shows involving the celebrities Cher and Nicole Richie, in the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards.
But in remanding the case, FCC v. Fox Television Stations, to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals with instructions to consider those constitutional issues, the case is almost certain to return to the Supreme Court for a full review of the issues.
Under administrative law, an action by an agency like the FCC may be set aside if it is “arbitrary or capricious.” Scalia said that was not here the case.
“If the Commission’s action here was not arbitrary or capricious in the ordinary sense, it satisfies the Administrative Procedure Act’s ‘arbitrary [or] capricious’ standard; its lawfulness under the Constitution is a separate question to be addressed in a constitutional challenge,” Scalia wrote.
In 1978, the Supreme Court permitted the FCC to sanction the broadcast of “indecent” material, including expletives with sexual reference, in FCC v. Pacific Foundation. That case concerned George Carlin’s “seven dirty words” – the satiric monologue about the seven words, as he put it, that “you couldn’t say on the public, ah, airwaves, um, the ones you definitely wouldn’t say, ever.”
A father who heard the monologue in his car – with his young son along for the ride – a complained to the FCC, which sanctioned the Pacifica station that carried Carlin’s monologue.
The Pacifica decision, however, suggested that a policy against the “fleeting” use of a single expletive might run afoul of the First Amendment.
Hence the administrative law issue in the Fox case. The issue of whether the FCC had changed course arose because of a prior FCC ruling. The agency sanctioned NBC for broadcasting the singer Bono’s use of the phrase “fucking brilliant” in the 2003 Golden Globes award ceremony.
In its 2004 ruling against NBC, the FCC acknowledged that it had changed policy, to proscribe the use of a single curse word. Acknowledging the policy shift, the FCC did not impose a monetary fine on NBC.
The FCC subsequently sanctioned Fox – and also did not charge a fine – for the Cher and Richie comments.
The substance of the opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and by Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.
In a separate, concurring opinion, Thomas argued that rationale for affording broadcasters lesser First Amendment protections than those accorded to users of the internet or cable television should be reconsidered.
Such an exercise would revisit the holding of Red Lion Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission, the 1969 decision upholding the “Fairness Doctrine,” which required broadcasters to offer free time to individuals representing the opposing side of a controversial issue covered in a broadcast.
Although the Fairness Doctrine was repealed by the FCC in 1987, the legal rationale underpinning the doctrine remains in force, and could be reinstated by Congress, or by the FCC.
Tags: FCC · First Amendment · News · Supreme Court
February 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments
Most people who follow my comings and goings on this blog know that I’ve been devoting more of my energy and writing on the blog of BroadbandCensus.com. I’m happy to announce that yesterday BroadbandCensus.com launched the debut of BroadbandCensus TV with a video interview by Reporter Andrew Feinberg of Temple University Law Professor David Post. Check it out, and feel free to post your comments and feedback on BroadbandCensus.com.
February 3rd, 2009 · 2 Comments
ARLINGTON, VA, February 3, 2009 - I’ll be live-Twittering the lecture by David Clark. See below — or the side of the page — for updates:
The next several days feature a variety of upcoming events, both on broadband stimulus legislation, and on some of the broader issues associated with the Internet and its architecture.
On Friday, January 30, the Technology Policy Institute features a debate, “Broadband, Economic Growth, and the Financial Crisis: Informing the Stimulus Package,” from 12 noon – 2 p.m., at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B369.
Moderated by my friend Scott Wallsten, senior fellow and vice president for research at the Technology Policy Institute, the event features James Assey, Executive Vice President for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Robert Crandall, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution; Chris King, Principal/Senior Telecom Services Analyst, Stifel Nicolaus Telecom Equity Research; and Shane Greenstein, Elinor and Wendell Hobbs Professor of Management and Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
The language promoting the event notes, “How best to include broadband in an economic stimulus package depends, in part, on understanding two critical issues: how broadband affects economic growth, and how the credit crisis has affected broadband investment. In particular, one might favor aggressive government intervention if broadband stimulates growth and investment is now lagging. Alternatively, money might be better spent elsewhere if the effects on growth are smaller than commonly believed or private investment is continuing despite the crisis.”
And then, on Tuesday, MIT Professor David Clark, one of the pioneers of the Internet and a distinguished scientist whose work on “end-to-end” connectivity is widely cited as the architectural blueprint of the Internet, looks to the future. Focusing on the dynamics of advanced communications – the role of social networking, problems security and broadband access, and the industrial implications of network virtualization and overlays – Clark here tackles new forces shifting regulation and market structure.
David Clark is Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In the forefront of Internet development since the early 1970s, Dr. Clark was Chief Protocol Architect in 1981-1989, and then chaired the Internet Activities Board. A past chairman of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies, Dr. Clark is co-director of the MIT Communications Futures Program.
I’m no longer affiliated with the Information Economy Project at George Mason University, but I urge all interested in the architecture of the Internet to register and attend More information about the lecture, and about the Information Economy Project, is available at http://iep.gmu.edu/davidclark.
It will take place at the George Mason University School of Law, Room 120, 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201 (Orange Line: Virginia Square-GMU Metro), on Tuesday, February 3, from 4 – 5:30 p.m., with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested. To reserve a spot, please e-mail email@example.com
WASHINGTON, January 26, 2009 - I’m live-Twittering the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Broadband Stimulus Forum in Russell Senate Office Building. (See right-hand column for live feed.)
Also, to see the compendium of broadband stimulus-related proposals, visit http://development.broadbandcensus.com/zipcodes/states.
The Information Economy Project presents an important lecture in its “Big Ideas About Information” series:
The Internet Today and Tomorrow:
Social Implications of Evolving Technology
A Lecture by DAVID CLARK
Senior Research Scientist
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 4 p.m.
George Mason University School of Law, 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Va.
The Internet is now sufficiently embedded in society that it is regularly triggering social, economic and regulatory issues. The hot topics of today are network neutrality, network management, and the question of imposing regulatory limits on Internet service providers. However, those are just today’s hot topics. What will happen tomorrow? Can we speculate and perhaps get a bit ahead of the curve?
In this talk, Professor Clark will start with a perspective on today’s issue of network neutrality and the role of the ISP, and will then look further into the future to look at some emerging issues, such as the role of the social network as a platform, the problems of building a more secure and available Internet, the emerging requirement for identity mechanisms, and the industrial implications of network virtualization and overlays. This talk will describe some new ideas from the technical community that might shift the landscape of regulation and industrial structure.
- David Clark’s MIT web page
- Written statement at FCC public hearing on network management, Cambridge, Mass., February 25, 2008
- “Complexity of Internet Interconnections: Technology, Incentives and Implications for Policy” (with P. Faratin, P. Gilmore, S. Bauer, A. Berger and W. Lehr), Paper at the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, 2007
- “Addressing Reality: An Architectural Response to Real-World Demands on the Evolving Internet” (with Karin Sollins, John Wroclawski and Ted Faber), Paper at ACM SIGCOMM 2003 Workshops.
- “Tussle in Cyberspace: Defining Tomorrow’s Internet” (with Karen R. Sollins, John Wroclawski and Robert Braden), Paper at SIGCOMM 2002.
David Clark is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he has worked since receiving his Ph.D. there in 1973. Since the mid 70s, Dr. Clark has been leading the development of the Internet; from 1981-1989 he acted as Chief Protocol Architect in this development, and chaired the Internet Activities Board. His current research looks at re-definition of the architectural underpinnings of the Internet, and the relation of technology and architecture to economic, societal and policy considerations. He is helping the U.S. National Science foundation organize their Future Internet Design program. Dr. Clark is past chairman of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies, and has contributed to a number of studies on the societal and policy impact of computer communications. He is co-director of the MIT Communications Futures Program, a project for industry collaboration and coordination along the communications value chain.
Tags: GMU · IEP
January 20th, 2009 · 5 Comments
I live-Twittered from the New America Foundation’s event on broadband stimulus. Here are some of my posting. You can also see the stream by going to http://twitter.com/drewclark.
January 15th, 2009 · 2 Comments
I just posted this piece on BroadbandCensus.com….
WASHINGTON, January 15, 2009 - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin on Thursday resigned from his position, effective Inauguration Day, and expressed the regret about the lack of interoperable communications networks for public safety officials. read more