20-something. Texan. One husband. One preschooler. Feminist. Body-positive. Loudmouth. Funny? Internet-addicted. Bookworm. Low-brow.
A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:
“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …” and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened” by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead “the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.
If we had a truly independent and adversarial press in my country, this would be a big news story, but they still haven’t found that plane, so … whaddayagonnado right?
Yeah, and we here in Canada are no fucking better!
There is a fundamental reason why we look at the sky with wonder and longing—for the same reason that we stand, hour after hour, gazing at the distant swell of the open ocean. There is something like an ancient wisdom, encoded and tucked away in our DNA, that knows its point of origin as surely as a salmon knows its creek. Intellectually, we may not want to return there, but the genes know, and long for their origins—their home in the salty depths. But if the seas are our immediate source, the penultimate source is certainly the heavens… The spectacular truth is—and this is something that your DNA has known all along—the very atoms of your body—the iron, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and on and on—were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.
A poem in which I don’t compare
you to anything.
In which you are not an
elevator that I got stuck on,
or a train that never left,
but no more than a person.
No less than a person.
Today, you are not a mistake
or a rip in my tights or a lesson.
Today, I take myself home and undo,
I take myself home and
write a poem about my skin
for the third time in a row and
then wash myself in it until
I’m clean and new.
A poem for the first full month
that didn’t hear the ache
of your name,
and for every month after.
A poem in which I am singular.
A poem in which I am more than
the people who never wanted me,
and I know this.
Being bullied by my parents makes me wish I were back in school where the bullies were people I didn’t have to pretend to care about.
It’s such an existential issue, too. How do you deal with being treated so badly by the people who gave you life?