I recently found a short story that I posted 24 years ago. I was thinking of Hillary even then. I hope you enjoy this distraction.
The 11th Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Have Illicit Communications”
Copyright 1996 by Patrice Olivier Cross
She could remember when they first passed the law in 2000 — made it not only constitutional, but forced all the major Judeo-Christian religions to adopt it too. It was a bit unnerving to hear Vice President Hillary agreeing with her nemesis, Newt, on the topic.
Pretty scarey stuff, she thought.
She was only 16 in 1995, but she was already a “cyber chick” as she dubbed herself on the Net. The popular use of the Internet was just in its infancy in that year, but she was adept at “surfing” from one web site to another, picking up information and new friends along the way.
Then they descended: those self-appointed keepers of the nation’s souls. They had decided, in all their righteous glory, to censor the Net, to limit who could use it and what could be on it.
It began innocently enough, she remembered. An Act passed in the U.S. Congress to impose “decency” on the Net. Then the ” movement” took on a life of its own. It had been an election year in 1996 and every candidate took a stronger and stronger position so that he or she would be viewed as just as “right” as the next candidate. It culminated with the elections in the year 2000, a new year, a new millennium. A time of reflection and change.
A time for a new law: All users of the Net would be screened; all users had to obtain a security clearance.
No more free-wheeling from site to site, checking out recent postings. No more email from distant lands, contact from other cultures. No more voicing one’s opinion for the world to read.
The government now had the right to approve who you were and what you wanted to view or post. The process made the U.S. Postal Service, formerly dubbed snail mail, now look like the FedX of the early 90’s.
The Net was dying…
But it never really will, she thought, as she knocked on the small hidden door. She entered a dimly lit room, illuminated solely by the flicker of computer screens. Netters, as they now called themselves, huddled before their screens, silently absorbed the data that flowed before them. They had found each other, found a way around the security systems, and found a new way of life, hidden away in secret places.
How could the government have hoped to control such techies, she wondered. All the new law did was push decent people underground; it didn’t clean up the Net, or make it any more secure, but rather, forced thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens to become “criminals.”
Sort of like prohibition of long ago, she thought as she booted up her computer and signed on as “cyber chick.”