My bachelor’s degree, for what it is worth, is in political science. I chose that major not because I wanted to study government structure and organization but because I wanted to learn more about the nature of power.
At the time I was a single mom with two young children who felt pretty powerless. The feminist movement was dawning on me, which meant life, as I had understood it, was crumbling and refreshing notions of equality, empowerment, independence and responsibility were fomenting in my psyche. I was confused and dazzled by it all.
I marched in Houston with Betty Friedan; I attended consciousness-raising groups; I rebelled against the patriarchal religion of my childhood. Woman power made sense to me. Just as today, gay power, Chicano power, and empowering the disabled all make sense to me.
Surprisingly, I personally feel some of the same internal rumblings today that I felt 40 years ago. I once again feel powerless and left out, left behind, invisible. The growing inequality between the wealthy elites and the rest of us is making less and less sense to me. The increasing power of corporations over regular folks is disturbing and nonsensical to me.
I find myself wanting to drop out, which for a political junkie like myself is somewhat startling. I grow weary of the Washington catfights and power struggles, the junior high mentality that has hijacked our government.
The notion that a corporation is a person, with the same rights and protections of individual citizens, boggles the mind. The notion that a wealthy investment banker should not pay more taxes than his administrative assistant is ludicrous. What seems patently obvious to me, however, is anathema to half of the well meaning, just as frightened as I am, Americans.
It doesn’t matter what I think. The corporations and investment bankers hold a more powerful position in our culture than do I. They have influence that I do not have. They have access that I cannot afford.
Perhaps I will attend Occupy Austin on Oct 6 or, perhaps not. I find myself vacillating between dropping out and rising up. When I imagine dropping out I feel shame; when I ponder rising up I feel weary. Marching with Betty Friedan was a heady, life altering experience. Not sure I still have it in me.