By now, most folks are probably aware that come February 17th, unless they have either a digital ready TV or a converter box their television sets will show nothing but static.

Despite the media blitz over the last year regarding the switch, approximately 6.5 million households aren’t ready for it. Subsequently, on January 26, 2009, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to allow television stations the option of delaying the broadcasting of only digital signals. However, the bill didn’t pass in the House.  

According to a news article on CNN, Delay of analog TV’s death hits House snag, the planned transition from analog to digital television broadcasting has been set for nearly a decade. You’d figure with that being the case, everyone would have done what was necessary to be ready for the switch. Of course, for quite a number of folks, procrastination is the norm.

One paragraph in the article stood out as being rather idiotic:

"Senators, worried about the static they’ll see when the plug is pulled on analog television broadcasts in the United States, had approved the emergency measure Monday and rushed it to the House floor for a vote Tuesday afternoon. But representatives put off the vote until Wednesday."

To me, the very notion that some folks won’t be able to watch TV until they get a converter box warranting what was termed as an "emergency measure" seemed way over the top. The truth is that not being able to watch television might be considered a minor inconvenience – but an emergency?

Oh Puh-leeze!

But if that wasn’t enough of a mental insult, another CNN article, Congress must act on TV switch, rights group says, yesterday made me shake my head in disgust.

The opening paragraph caused me to wonder about our national priorities:

"A civil rights group says that unless Congress delays this month’s scheduled death of traditional television broadcasts, millions of people – many of them poor, disabled or elderly – will see only static on their sets."

A civil rights group?

Does that mean that watching television is a civil right? Or, does it mean that the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is trying to make us believe it is?

C’mon folks, we have to get real.

There are millions of Americans who will experience homelessness this year. The news media is reporting that, due to the economic hard times this nation is going through, homelessness has increased. Moreover, analysts believe that within the next two years, there will be an additional 1.5 million folks who will become homeless.

You mean to tell me, with all of that, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is so overly concerned that some folks won’t be able to watch TV that they are trying to get Congress to "act as soon as possible"?

How is it that this same group isn’t pushing Congress to "act as soon as possible" to protect the civil rights of the homeless? How is it that they are urging Congress to seek a remedy to homelessness?

The group’s leader, Mark Lloyd made this statement:

"Funding is necessary to extend the coupon program and support local groups to help all Americans get the assistance they need to keep access to free over-the-air television service. We urge Congress to act as soon as possible."

This year, approximately 1.35 million children will experience homelessness in this nation. Many of them will go without eating one or more days per month. Many will be forced to sleep in public with their parents due to a lack of available resources at their local area homeless shelters.

Yet, this civil rights group isn’t griping to Congress that "funding is necessary" to help those folks.

Most disgusting still is that members of Congress are "working hard" to get the "emergency measure" passed in the House of Representatives. But, really – what if the bill doesn’t pass and the switch takes place? What’s the worst that may happen: some folks might not get to watch American Idol?

Personally I don’t think that constitutes an emergency.

To me, that the numbers of folks facing homelessness is on the rise: that’s something which Congress should be focusing on; that’s what they should be working day and night to remedy.

It’s fine and dandy that the federal government doesn’t want folks to go without watching TV. However, I think the nation would be better served if they were more concerned with ensuring that no child goes without a roof over their heads; a bed to sleep in; or a meal in their tummies.

Come February 17th, some folks may or may not find only static on their television sets.

Of course, now that I think about it, all of it is strangely symbolic. When it comes to creating and enacting legislation for effectively addressing homelessness in our nation, Congress has been full of static.

  1. anamerican says:

    Television as a priority for government attention during this economy??? Valuing things over people in need? A sad commentary about the priorities of our society,isn’t it?

  2. Skye says:

    No wonder I don’t even bother to watch TV.

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