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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,393,630  

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Question of the Week: 76 - 9/8/2002

America 911: One Year Later. What's Changed? Are we Safer?

September 11th, 2001 set in motion various changes in the way that people view the world. From personal tragedies to governmental policies to global military actions, many stories have emerged from that one fateful day. Has YOUR life changed since 9/11/01? How has the world changed? Are you feeling more or less secure these days? Do you think that 9/11 is too much the focus for current events/ policies or are we really living in a different world today? Will the 'war on terror' ever be over? Will you do something to commemorate this day or do you just wish that all of the hype would go away?

You can review the original posts from last year's 9/11 Perspectives at: Responses to 9/11

 Reponses:   There are 103 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Nothing Sep 11th. at 10:42:56 am EDT

Sabrina (Ft Polk, LA) Age: 29 - Email

I would love to pontificate on how things have changed since 9/11 for the positive in spirituality and tolerance. But from where I sit, albeit the ultra conservative bible belt, and a military installation none the less...nothing has changed. If anything people are even more hyper vigilant in their restricted views of people and faiths. 9/11 has brought an onslaught of misplaced zionistic anger. If anything since 9/11 here in Louisiana people have become even more intolerant of anyone not white, christian and conservative. I have heard countless dissertations by everyone from people in the grocery line, to invocations at public festivals of people saying that atheists should all go live in Afghanistan, and innuendo that the new age movement brought the attacks on the US.
What I really had hoped to see when this attack occurred was an awakening. An awakening to the bubble we live in as Americans. I had hoped that people would begin to ask the bigger question...of why. To say the terrorists were cowards seriously underestimates their conviction. No one feels that strongly about anything without there being a reason...and that my friends is the real rub. Until it is no longer a necessity to join a terrorist camp so your family gets food, and doesn't get shot, as it is for most Afghani's then terrorism will exist. Starving, war ridden people will do next to anything just to survive. I thought we had learned that in the lesson of Nazi Germany.
I'm a military wife, as someone said earlier its a hefty job. I love my country. But I also love my constitution. I hate that 9/11 has brought new depth to the religious rights arguments against freedom of speech and seperation of church and state. Without both of which we will never be free.

And while I appreciate the huge outcry for fireman getting larger salaries, they enter at 30k a year...I find it hard to justify when my husband as an E5 with 8 years of service barely makes 25k. If anything positive can come from this money wise, let it be that people finally understnad the value of service. For all that serve. Police, soldiers, emt, rescue and firefighters...what they are all paid is humorous at best.

Sabrina King

Under Siege Sep 11th. at 10:57:24 am EDT

Filomena Sophia (Duluth, MN) Age: 31 - Email

I think that we are forgetting something important here. Yes, Muslim-Americans have been watched more closely, but so have we. WE as PAGANS have been under siege. This is not just blowing hot air. I stood on the front steps of our state's capitol building this past spring while Evangelical Christians hijacked our national day of prayer--which is supposed to be euceumenical--and took it for their own. Theoretically, anyone should be allowed to speak to any deity of choice, but I personally did not feel safe as I held my Celtic Reconstructionist friend's prayer to the Morrigan in my hand. I knew that, should I read it, I would be taking my life in my own hands. I stood and listened while bitter, self-riteous Fundamentalist Christians blamed our country for the actions of a few obviously insane individuals who committed these heinous acts. They claimed that their god smited our country because we were beginning to worship, and I quote "false gods, instead of the one, true God." I have watched in amazement and shock as President Bush attempted to turn this country into a Christian theorcracy; as Fundamentalist right-winged benign conservatives stole our national symbol and claimed it as their new Christian cult symbol; as people screamed for freedom while all the while irrationally working against it. I have watched people act out of fear more often than I have truly witnessed them act out of love. I have watched all of the progress we as Pagans had made during the 1990's so quickly dashed away. Truly, I say to everyone that Pagans and Heathens, Wiccans and Witches were surely killed on that fateful day a year ago--but I have yet to see that acknowledged. Instead, I have watched as conservative, right-winged Evangelical Christians have used this horrible tragedy to further their own agenda. It is frightening and I have been scared many times in the past year. So, if what I write here is hate speech, then so be it. But I am saying this because I no longer trust our elected officials to support MY freedom. I no longer feel safe as a Witch in this country; as a Pagan in this country. It has never been easy, but it has been even harder this past year. Too many people are using the events of one year ago today to strike more fear into the hearts of too many others. Our freedoms are being taken away and no one seems to be noticing. It is subtle but it is there.

One Year Ago Today Sep 11th. at 10:59:00 am EDT

Nightcloud (Minnesota USA) Age: 48 - Email

There are and have been so many thoughts and feelings flowing through me for the past year that I can't write them coherently as prose, so forgive me if this is a bit disjointed.

First I really had trouble believing so many Americans felt safe, it just amazed me that people bought all the hype, that most people didn't bother to look beyond the media nonsense and see the truth. Most of the rest of the world hates us! We also do a very good job of hating each other; which is why I didn't feel safe before Sept. 11, 2001 and I don't feel safe now.

Secondly, I'm angry at the people and organizations that were behind the attack, not only did they murder 3000 people, they also destroyed about 50 years worth of social strides forward. Underneath all the media pro American hype, the uglier side of America has begun rearing it's head. Racial tension across the country is up, sexism is up, homophobia is up and religous intolerance is way up. It's unfortunate but true that with the increase in Christian feeling, there is also an increase in right-wing Christian retoric, and this is where all the hatred and intolerance come from.

Thirdly, there were a couple of important studies that came out on Sept, 9th and 10th last year, I believe one had to do with the long term effects of childhood sexual abuse. After Sept 11th, nothing more has been heard, seen or talked about these studies. I've looked and looked; so not only did we step backward, but any steps forward have been put on hold for an indiffinet time.

Last and in this case last is paramount in importance, I grieve for the tens of thousands who will die, both military and non, both American and non, if we truly go to war.

I have no clue as to what Bin Laden and his group, (or who ever was responsible), hoped to accomplish, but what they did was to make an already intolerant people more intolerant. To bring out all the nastiest parts of the American psyche and to stir the entire country up to a point where going to war is not only a viable but actually something people are encouraging the government to pursue. If other people wanted Americans to grow up, to become aware this accomplished it, however, I think the rest of the world has forgotten a lesson; Americans aren't nice and they really aren't nice when they go to war.

I'm hopeful that we will not be attacked again, that our rights won't be further reduced and that the furor will die down. If we are attacked again, I hold no hope for Americans nor for the rest of the world.

I'm Crying Sep 11th. at 10:59:42 am EDT

Cindy White (Tampa, Florida) Age: 38 - Email

I'm crying. As I sit here and watch the memorials to all the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I sit here and feel their pain. Do I feel safer,you ask. I guess that depends on what kind of safe. Physically safe or keeping our rights as Americans safe? I want to think that no one will be able to fly planes into buildings ever again. I want to think that. Will it happen again? Time tells all tales. I'd like to hope that our tax dollars have been going for something worthwhile. (besides covering up the alien conspiracy). I'd like to think that just cause we got caught with our pants down (who would ever think someone would actually make planes and people bombs)we won't get caught ever again. "Fool me once,..." Is is worth giving up all my rights as an American? I'm reading the government can come into my house without my knowledge or permission. They can detain me indefinately and not let me see or know about witnesses. Now as a law-abiding citizen that shouldn't bother me because I have nothing to hide and this is a time of war. This stuff only applies to bad-guys. But does it? What if I have a fanatic religious neighbor who sees my "Born Again Pagen" bumper sticker and decides that the witch should burn in hell and I'll show her. She watches the tv-evangelists that said it was partly the Pagens fault that 9/11 happened and tv-evangelists, espeically the ones she gives money to would never lie.. So she calls the citizen-spy hotline and makes up some crazy story. Now. I'd like to think that what would happen would be as it would have been before September 11, 2001. The police would see the situation for what it was (Thou post 9/11 I was followed once with my daughter in the car by what had to be someone who didn't like my sticker. Because of my daughter,I wussed out and covered it with "Reach out and heal Mother Earth". Much less witchy. Thou I must say I consider myself a "wanna-be". I haven't learned enough to call myself a wise-woman.) a crank call from a no-life individual. Or would they come in, see my alter and wonder if I'm casting spells against the President or whoever. 'Cause my neighbor said I told her I was. It scares me to go any farther in this speculation. If something so trivial could actually blow up into a full-blown fiasco then yes, I'm a bit scared. I was just getting used to calling myself a pagen with shamlessness. We can't be burned at the stake anymore. Or can we? It scares me that this is becoming a war of religions. None of them mine. The "Our way is the only way to Heaven" attitude of others baffels me. If everyone could only look upon any positive belief as a good one. I understand the need for "sheep mentality" to control masses and make lots of money, but geez... Christian, Muslim and Jew...What is wrong with you? Each on their own, without the extemists, is a peaceful religion. Which at times co-existed with each other in peace. Any positive belief is a good belief. I have hope for the future that we will all learn to live together again. We, as a world, will feed the hungry, care for the sick, and house the poor with dignity and respect. We'll get past all this violence in the name of God. People will realize they've been missing the point. I can only hope, pray and try to keep informed. Though the more I stay informed the more uneasy I become. Heck, we still can't vote honestly/correctly in Floriduh. (I had no problems). We have to believe in a positive outcome of all this. Maybe the Goddess(es) will make a world-wide appearance and enlighten all those male-dominated religions that have made such a mess of things. "Hey, remember Me?" Some of your people do.. Time tells all tales. Thanks for letting me vent. Peace be with all of us.

Goddess Bless America Sep 11th. at 11:12:33 am EDT

Witch Hazel (New York City) Age: 45 - Email

This day hits me hard. I will not watch the events on TV--I can't. I'm at my desk now, as I was on 9/11 last year. I can hear the names of the departed souls being recited on the TV in the conference room next to me. Yesterday I went to vote. Only one other person was voting. Anyone can buy a flag, wave a flag, recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" and chant "God Bless America" all day long. But in NYC, only yesterday, 9/10, could anyone vote in the Primary Election. Last year, the Primary was held on 9/11 and had to be canceled because of the tragic events. I guess its easier to buy the flags than it is to walk two blocks to the polling place and flip some levers. Thank you for allowing me to rant.

On a positive note, I lost no one that I personally knew in the WTC. My friends all escaped. My office is located in Midtown, so even though we were kept inside for several hours, the horror witnessed by my friends downtown was only viewed on television by me. I thank the Goddess for her many blessings, I pray that the souls released on 9/11 found their way to the summerland, including the spirits of the beautiful Twin Towers that had been destroyed.

May the love of the Goddess be forever in our hearts. Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet Again. Bright Blessings to you all.

Define Change... Sep 11th. at 11:56:14 am EDT

Gyrfalcon (Colorado) Age: 32 - Email

Has my life changed? Depends on what you mean by that. Certainly my day-to-day activities are still the same: work, eat, clean, play, etc. I still pay bills and brush my teeth. I find the most fundamental change is one of normal healthy growth. Even more than ever, I am defining what is important to me. I took a little more time to set priorities in my life. Yet as a Gaelic Traditionalist dedicated to the Morrigán, the lack of action in the Pagan community at large saddens me. I'm not talking about the giving donations, helping out, all the service oriented things we are good at. I'm talking about righteous anger. I'm talking about this. Fíoraim bríocht
a neart néil cuma
braen fola ar fhear.
Fhir do-liach, go luidh brách.
Cirb, a cheo chaethainn,
mairg a ticfa a thimpeall.
Coiscfider a bhfoghaill,
meathfaider a monair,
beith a gcoirp fa chonnuibh.
Séidis gabhál ngall.
Fía muinter, cinnbhea damh.
Bed fo mblog,
for mbia mairg romhuidh.
Díl rom chealt.
Go scriosa do chuid naimhde thú.
Fíoraim bríocht.

I fashion-and-verify a verbal spell
its power of clouds, a shape
of a rain of blood on a man.
O man very wretched, keep fleeing forever.
Cut short, O fog of rowan,
a sorrow which will come round him.
Prevented be their escapes,
failed be their undertakings,
both their bodies beneath hounds.
Breath-blasted be the grasp of the foreigners.
To them a terrible death.
Be they under pieces,
that there will be sorrow around them.
Destruction before my visage.
May your enemies destroy you.
I fashion-and-verify a verbal spell.

My 2 Cents Worth Sep 11th. at 12:26:46 pm EDT

David McEntee (San Mateo, CA) Age: 33 - Email

I don't think my life has changed much in the last year. I can say that I'm more easily depressed or angered now, but that's about it. I don't think the world has changed all that much. But, the way America looks at the world has changed. I never liked flying before 9/11/2001 and I must say that I like it even less, now. Is there too much focus on 9/11 now? That depends solely on point of view. In my opinion, the events are being used in the wrong way. I want to see justice and restitution. Vengeance and retribution are 2 of the most petty of all human pursuits. The "war on terror" will never end so long as there are people on this earth who say "I hate (fill in religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, social status, etc)." Hate is the root cause of terrorism. "Hate crimes" are terrorist acts.

Blessed be.

Dancing Wind

"News Came Across The Ocean..." Sep 11th. at 12:29:08 pm EDT

Wolf's Tear (Finland) Age: 15 - Email

Year ago, I think, I was more immature, and didn't really care about others so much that I do now. Year ago, when I heard the news about the terror, I didn't really realize what had happened at first. I didn't really care. Hours went, watching from TV. I think it finally hit me when the first tower collapsed. I realized, people were dying. Thousands of people. I couldn't just do nothing but cry. And weeks, maybe monts following the 9/11, I was feeling a little empty. I also had some really realistic visions related to what happened at the NYC. They may had been formed because of my vivid imagination, maybe they were not. But it all was something that moved me.
And has my life chanced because of 9/11 yes, it has. I can't talk about traumas or anything, because fact is, something happening far away hardly touches you mostly. But the 9/11 woke me up. I think something positive is happened to my 'mental awarenes' and my empathy after this all happened. It has woke me up to realize many other things, around me at the world outside.

Today, I made another 'shrine-page' to my notebook, the book where I write poems and stories. There's a tombstone drawn at the page, where someone has left flowers. The following words are writed to the stone: "For all those who lost someone near to them at 11.9.2001 in New York or Washington. May the memory of the heroes and all lost ones of that day stay on oyr minds, reminding us about that what hate can do in it's worse form. R.I.P".

May The Lord and the Lady bless you all, and may The True Love heal broken hearts!

Human Nature Sep 11th. at 12:30:27 pm EDT

DigitalLux (Virginia) Age: 40 - Email

A year ago today I came to work late, never turning the radio on. Coworkers told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I went into the next office where they had a TV on and through the grainy picture watched the second plane hit. The images offered that day seemed like something out of a hollywood movie. As I watched the happenings on TV my emotions went a bit numb. As the days past my emotions returned, sometimes in a flood of tears, other times in anger over the senseless death of so many people. I found myself opposed to a military strike against what had happened. I also realized that it would happen regardless of my feelings. I began to fear for my Arabic friends here in the States.

A year later and the sadness and anger is still there, but greatly tempered with compassion for ALL the people involved in this event. I look for the good that has come from this. Many people do not take "life" for granted as much as they used to. Many people have turned back to their religious path(s) with renewed vigor. Many people are working together to improve their communities, their families, themselves. Yes, these are things that should have happened anyway - but if one does not learn the easy way one will learn the hard way.

Some people have expressed a cynical opinion regarding the events of today. Too commercial, too political, too much hype from the media - the list goes on. Well, of course it is. Look at our country - it is what we have become. As children of Nature it is our duty, our right, to look beyond that and see what is really happening. Our country, a child itself when compared to some of the other countries in the world, got a bit too big for its pants and was hit hard by a "bully". The pain and scars from that will last quite some time. What matters now is how we act, how we feel, how we think. We must rise above it and return hate with Love.

What I Did This Morning... Sep 11th. at 12:51:06 pm EDT

Sunfell (Little Rock) Age: 41 - Email - Web

Today was a crystal clear day, just like a year ago. A few more contrails in the air, but lovely nonetheless. I went into work a little early so as to ensure that no one would swipe my parking place, because out on the front steps of my workplace, they were having a memorial gathering.

I skirted around the groups of girl scouts, said hello to the uniforned military and police, grinned at a legislator or three, and detoured around the Governor and his entourage. I didn't stay for the service, because I knew that it was going to be another born-again glurge-fest, and my stomach wasn't up to it. Pious patriotism isn't my choice for breakfast.

I had a better idea for observing the morning- poking around the Sonic Memorial( ) and listening to the sounds of a lively pair of buildings and their inhabitants, recorded and archived for posterity online.

So, instead of listening to the pious puffery of the folks outside, I listened to the sounds of one of the WTC towers creaking in the wind, the noises in its lobbies, the interesting sounds of its revolving doors and elevator shafts, and the anecdotal stories of the people who built, maintained, cleaned, and worked there. These are 'ghost' sounds now, carefully preserved memories, but they serve to remind me that life does indeed go on.

And now, as I sit and write this to the tune of heavy equipment digging around outside, and the hum of the dehumidifier and my computer's fans, my own mind records these sounds, to remember them as living things.

Let us not forget to celebrate life in the midst of death. Those who are now on the other side of the veil will appreciate it.

Coping Fear, Grief, And Anger... Sep 11th. at 3:03:14 pm EDT

Leigh (Indiana) Age: 39 - Email

I haven't watched any TV today. I did energy work last night, and for the first time in my life, I became very ill afterwards. It was just too overpowering, the feelings of fear and grief and anger floating around out there. And they are justified feelings---feelings that I have experienced in unwanted abundance since 9/11. I would like to say that during the crisis I remained in my highest truth and prayed for peace, but that would be a lie. As I sat that night, looking at my beautiful sleeping children, my warrior Goddess self took up the sword and demanded justice, vengance. Anything to ensure the protection of my babies (OK, so they're 6,9,and 12--but they're my babies, right?). And yet over the last year, I have come to focus on something else, something that I think some people have not been able to see--and that was the message of unconditional love that came to us from the people inside the Towers. When the planes hit, did those trapped and those who where evacuating allow fear, grief, and anger dominate them? The answer is no. As we all watched in horror at the events from outside the Towers, inside there were acts of bravery, spurred on by unconditional love, taking place. No one stopped to inquire your religious beliefs, no one was passed by because of their sex or color of their skin. They, in love and unity, held on to each other in life and in death. Both the survivors and the ones whose passed over went through a spiritual initiation that few of us will ever experience, and in the end, the ONLY thing that really mattered was love. Does this mean I think we can hug it, pray it or cast it all away. Certainly not. We must protect ourselves and those not capable of protecting themselves. It is our responsibilty as a superpower, as a consumer of the vast majority of the world's resources to spread the cloak of protection. Does this mean we should go to war? Give up so many of our rights? I honestly don't know. I could answer you from the ideal world in my mind, but out here in reality...I just don't have an answer. But through this year and on this day, I have reached out and felt the love that guided all those in the Towers during those horrible moments, and it has helped me to cope and to live, again.

In the Love of the Journey,
And with Brightest Blessings,

A World Of Similarities- A Nation Full Of Differences Sep 11th. at 3:14:03 pm EDT

AzureMyst (New Jersey) Age: 21 - Email

When I think about this question I am automatically reminded of exactly where I was this day last year. When I heard the news, I was coming out of my 1st period World Civ class. I was on my way to my next class on another campus, and I turned on the radio to my fave NY station. My 1st thought when I heard the president's voice was "Ok, what annoying BS is he talking about now?" Then I realized something bad had happened. I had no idea how bad it was though. I was sitting in my second period World Lit class, and someone came in to talk to my professor. He seemed as unfazed as everyone else who hadn't heard yet. He continued with class until someone else came in to say that classes had be cancelled due to attacks in NYC. I felt weird, scared, and strangely alert. I rushed home, called everyone in my family, as most of them live and/or work in NYC. They were all fine, and I thanked Goddess for that. I then realized the horror of what was going on as I watched it played and replayed on the TV. I was sad, shocked and horrified, but not in the same way many of my friends were. Many were dismayed at the fact that we as Americans were no longer immune to the same things that have been going on around the world for hundreds of years. I never thought that we were immune.
I didn't grieve the same. I grieved for the loss of life, the fear of death under terrifying circumstances, but I didn't feel my freedom was compromised. I didn't think it was an attack on our country as much as an attack on what we stood for. I was depressed for a few days, but I rarely cried, and I still haven't, because I just can't. My tears were for those who passed beyond the veil. My tears are for those who died, heroes, by choice and chance. Those tears are gone, because I still feel, (as horrible as this sounds) that everything is for a reason, and this has its reason too. I can't cry, because crying now would be "poor me," and I personally have nothing to cry about. I am healthy (relatively), I am housed, clothed, and fed. I am happy. The incidents of 9/11/02 depressed me, and I believe that OUR world, as Americans has changed, but THE world, as in planet earth is the same as it ever was. There are just more patriotic Americans on it....

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