POEM: Democracy – as seen on TV

Wherever I land
In the electoral whirled
Politicians ceremoniously execute
The will of the people
In doctored fashion
Yet an other sort of capitol
Delegated to the coroner
Turning off
In a Pyrrhic victory
So hollowed by those bored of
As a so low survivor
Left to re-collect
In suing came pain
Promises unfulfilled
A small prize to pay
For virtual
Only calling to mine
Survivor
As
In
Only on TV

Here is a poem for election time. While have been about politicians for eons, politicians are digging new versions of low at record rates. For decades, has had one of the lowest rates of of any so-called advanced democracies. This poem does take its titular metaphor from the television age and the more recent reality (sic) television. Run-of-the-mill electoral is so bad, like “reality” TV, that most of it is not even worth watching, a palpable waste of one’s precious life. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against voting. For most non- citizens, oneself off the island is hardly a very productive way of bringing about participatory democracy. In the pantheon of activities competing for our attention, and often winning, is still worthy of the modest effort required. Still, I doubt that electoral is anywhere sufficient to save the planet or humanity. Most of electoral is reactionary, cynically triangulating competing interests without much internal compass. Though politicians are regularly without distinguishable rudders, they can be quite adept at blowing whichever way the wind blows — everything is for sail! So, if not too disgusting, do yourself a flavor and vote for a politician closest to your taste. But don’t let get in the way of creating the winds of necessary to redeem electoral politics. Participatory requires ongoing civic engagement. The quality of our will be directly rooted in the degree by which we are the we want to see in the world, how we treat our neighbors (friends, strangers, and enemies) and how well we speak to power, translating our own lives into vital and vibrant community. May it be so.

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