Shout Out to Romania

You guys are awesome, don’t change. . . Unless you’re changing for the better, then absolutely go for it.  That’s all, that’s all I really want to say to Romania, you guys are great.  My sad little blog has gotten more hits in the last three days from Romania than I think anywhere else, ever… combined.  I’d love to think you all just really like my stories and that one day I’ll be huge in Bucharest, but I know it’s because of this:

Bucharest

It’s been, roughly 48 hours since that, and my phone has been blowing up ever since.  I’ve turned off the little vibrate function from Twitter notifications because it was pretty incessant.  Some of these interactions (some public, some less public) are pretty cool.  I’ve talked to some nice folks; again, Romania!  Some of them are less pleasant.  Most of them are just confused; they want to know if I’m serious or not, what I actually meant by my Tweet, and whether or not I’m an idiot.

So, other than saying Hello to Romania, this post is going to be mainly a convenience measure for me.  I’m going to try to explain why I took issue with Mr. Sanders’ Tweet here so I can stop having the same conversation over and over.  Anyone who may have retweeted my Tweet and are now having similar discussions, feel free to point folks here.  So we go (in no particular order):

1.) Let’s Get Pedantics Out of the Way: It’s poorly worded. I know what he’s trying to say, and I deliberately misinterpreted it. Why would I do that? I could say because I wanted to start a dialogue about the additional points I’m about to make; but I don’t think I’m that important. Really, I just thought it was funny. And, yes, I know he’s not saying we should take away Romania’s internet… I don’t know where you people keep getting that, or how you suppose that could even be done.

2.) It’s a Poor Comparison: He’s comparing quality of internet service in a single city in Romania with the quality of internet service in an entire country which spans a third of a continent. Guys, we have states bigger than Romania. States wherein huge tracks of land bigger than other states have no internet service at all! Why?       Because there are no people there.       The United States is “uge,” you guys. We don’t even use a lot of it; it just sits there, internetless. Do you guys realize the amount of infrastructure required to bring “most of the US” up the Bucharest standards? Gonna cost way more than Trump’s wall; I tell you that… Maybe we’ll make Romania pay for it?

Saying that one of the most populated cities in Europe has better internet service than “most of the US” is less than meaningless.  You could just as easily say that Chattanooga, TN has faster internet than “most of the US” because it’s absolutely true!  “Most of the US” is an arbitrary non-figure.  It doesn’t say anything; it’s just trying to get a reaction out of you.  Hell, Bucharest is in the top ten of fastest internet speeds in the world.  Bucharest has faster internet than “most of” Romania, too; than “most of” the world.  Stop being so easily manipulated.

3.) It’s Mean-Spirited: It is, that part I absolutely meant. It’s mean-spirited on a number of levels. For one, it assumes you’re ignorant; yes, you. The question that keeps coming up is “Why Bucharest?” Bucharest has some fast internet, no one is disputing that, but it’s certainly not the top pick for internet speeds worldwide.       Hell, this list gives the title to Provo, UT; right here in the United States (see point number 2, above). Bucharest comes in seventh. This article also puts Bucharest in seventh, but notes that as a country it’s third in the world behind Singapore and Hong Kong. So, why is it unacceptable for Bucharest to come in third but no mention of first or second?

I’m going to forgo saying that Bernie Sanders thinks everyone in America is just racist enough to not be upset by Southeast Asian countries having good internet speeds (because they’re super good at math and science and shit, you guys).  Instead I’ll say that Bernie Sanders (or whoever wrote this Tweet) thinks everyone in America is just racist enough to think Romania is still populated entirely by goats, old castles and vampires.  And no one wants to think Count Dracula is downloading his Twilight porn-parodies faster than they are (no disrespect intended to vampires; you get yours). The Tweet implies an inherently low regard for Romania and assumes that you, the reader, feel similarly.  At the very least, lower than Singapore and Hong Kong.

Finally, it preys on and perpetuates the jingoistic notion that America has to be the best at everything.  We don’t, friends.  It’s okay.  In fact, it’s better that we come to terms with that than continue to pursue this ridiculous idea that it’s even possible.  There’s a problem with being the best at everything, it makes you unable to integrate.  If you’re always looking down at everyone around you, if you’ve nothing to gain from your peers… if you have no peers, then you have no friends.  That’s as true for countries as it is for people.

I told myself when I started this blog that I wasn’t going to do politics.  That it wasn’t the purpose of what I’m trying to do here… And it isn’t, an I’m not. This isn’t about politics.  This is about how we treat one another, as people.

Humans are a social creature.  You can choose to deny it all you want, but the fact is, social function comes from inter-dependence.  That is, trade.  We all need something from someone else; that’s why we mush together in groups.  People who don’t need other people, who deliberately distance themselves… In the end they ultimately get their wish.  There are two kinds of outcasts in this world; those with nothing to gain and those with nothing to offer.  Neither one is well regarded.

On the larger, world stage, do we as a country want to be the guy with nothing to gain?  The one who doesn’t need anything from anyone.  Nobody likes that guy.  The only people who hang out with that guy are the ones hoping to get something from him while secretly resenting what he has.  And when things ultimately go south for that guy (and they always go south) and he’s nothing left to give, who comes to help?

Isn’t it better to be somewhere in the middle? Surrounded by friends who respect you for who you are and what you can offer, but also feel like they’re valued because you need them just as much.  Isn’t that a happier place?  Isn’t that a happier world?

Now, none of that is to say that there aren’t issues with the way internet service in this country are handled.  Data caps and throttling and rate gouging and all that good stuff is problematic for a lot of folks.  Internet usage plans aren’t quite scaling with the technology; I get that.  But none of that is even addressed in the Tweet, so that’s a topic for another time.  Just remember, the internet is a comparatively new technology.  Everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to handle it.  I understand that a lot of you “Bernbros” have never known a world without the internet, I get that, I do… I’m just asking you to be patient, the old folks running the show will figure it out eventually.  Here’s something to hold you over until then.

SONY DSC

P.S.: Wanna see how you measure up to Bucharest?  http://berniespeedtest.com/

P.P.S.: Oh shit, quick post script edit… There’ve been a ton a ton of German IPs dropping by too.  Germans, you are also awesome.  Too bad your internet isn’t as nice as Bucharest though. Sorry.

UPDATE:

This damned Tweet apparently made it’s way all the way to CNN, so, huzzah?

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/politics/romania-bernie-sanders-internet/

I dunno.  Make of the what you will.