SOPA Supporter/Opponent Database Demonstrates A Lack Of PatternsBy: Josh Wolford - January 6, 2012
In the fight against SOPA (or any ridiculous action taken by those in power), knowledge is key. There have been various attempts to build lists or databases to categorize both individuals and companies into SOPA supporters or SOPA opponents, and you can add this site to the list of effective tools when it comes to knowing what we’re up against.
SOPAOpera, a site created by photographer and reporter Dan Nguyen, attempts to keep track of not only who supports and opposes SOPA, but also why.
On the site, you can get information on each member of the House and the Senate that have a known position on SOPA. Nguyen explains the methodology for determining support and opposition:
Right now, the site only has 101 members of the legislative branch in the database. Everyone else has not done enough to merit either a support or oppose label.
You can also sort the lists by State, Age, Years Served, and financial contributions from certain industries like TV/Movies (think MPAA). What strikes you the most while looking through the charts is how you can’t break down SOPA support into neat little categories.
In U.S. politics, some thing are easy calls. For instance, anti-abortion legislation is most likely going to be introduced by a Republican, because abortion is currently an issue that pretty closely follows party lines. Stances on taxes, immigration, and entitlement programs have also followed party lines for some time.
Contributions are also an accurate indicator of legislative support in many occasions. If someone gets money from a particular interest, its not surprising when they vote in a way that serves the interest of their interests.
The thing that this list illuminates about SOPA is that support and opposition is all over the map. It’s not a party issue – both Republicans and Democrats support SOPA. It’s also not an “entrenched interest” thing. Congresspeople with decades of experience support SOPA and also oppose SOPA. Young, junior Senators both support and oppose SOPA as well.
Most importantly, it also doesn’t look to be a simply money in, vote out sort of deal either. Legislators that received paltry contributions from entertainment interests are supporting the bill while some that received sizable contributions are opposing it.
Could it be the only pattern that we can discern from SOPA support or opposition is ignorance and non-ignorance?
Right now, the only pattern that truly resonates is that out of the database’s 101 Senators and House members with “known” positions, 81 support SOPA.