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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 83 - 10/27/2002
Time to Talk Politics and Elections…
Eek! It’s the silly season again.
For U.S. Pagans/Heathens: The U.S. is holding mid-term elections Nov. 5th. Will you be voting? What are the issues that are most important to you? Do you vote by issue or by party? Do you have any thoughts on how it will turn out?
Non-U.S. Pagans/Heathens: The U.S. is woefully ignorant about your political processes. Please enlighten us. How many parties do you have? What are the names of the parties and what platforms do they represent? Do you have 'liberals' and 'conservatives'? How often do you vote? Do you elect representatives? How do you contact these representatives about your issues?
As always while talking politics, discussions can become heated. Please stay on the issues and do not resort to personal attacks. Further discussions should be taken to e-mail.
| Reponses: There are 109 responses posted to this question.
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| Voting, Ect. ||Nov 8th. at 9:33:12 pm EST|
|Don (Charleston, SC) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Ok, I did not vote in this election, that was because I have not changed my regestration to my new adress and because I prefer to to vote for the least idiotic of the idiots. I register as an independent because I vote for what a person tries to do, not for the party that sponsers them.
As far as the 2nd goes, I've been shooting guns every since I could hold them(my father is x army), and I own an shoot them to this day. Violence has nothing to do with it, I enjoy testing my skills and tweaking the weapon to work for me, and that is no different than the martial arts I practice or the swords I work out with(I hope to never have to any reason to use any of these skills, but to defend me and mine, I will remember what 2 people taught me over the years... 1. If they want your wallet, give them your wallet, it is nothing more than an aggravation...if they want to hurt you or yours, run them straight over by any means neccesary, and 2 if you must fight, a sword in one hand and a gun in another.....). For those who voted, good for you, I'm glad you did what you could to improve our government, and for those who refuse to vote, please don't fuss about the people who were voted into office, you had a chance to be noticed(even if it was as a decimal of a percentage point), so accept and vote next time.
| Oh, That's Easy ||Nov 8th. at 2:32:31 pm EST|
|Aedh Rua UiMhorrigu (New Richmond, WI) ||Age: 36 - Email |
The Second Amendment is still bad for tyrants even if the people are heavily outgunned by the military. Why? One word: assassination. Even the best of rulers has to worry about the occasional Lone Nutcase who can shoot well. How much worse is it with a tyrannical ruler? And no, I am NOT advocating assassination, merely observing one of the facts of history........
This doesn't change the fact that the current adminstration is busily removing every part of the Bill of Rights except the Second Amendment, and the thing about quartering soldiers. We wouldn't want them to be quartering soldiers, now would we?
Another observation: it is far from clear that the average American soldier would in fact shoot at Joe or Jane Citizen. Officers who gave such an order may find the soldiers' guns pointed the other way. The officers, right up to the top brass, know this well, which is why they are notoriously reluctant to use the military in any kind of domestic operation. If Shrub gets too far out of hand, he might find himself overthrown by his generals. This, of course, would only apply if the vast majority of the public were opposed to Shrub's policies. In the case of persecuting Pagans, the average citizen is likely to be amazingly unconcerned.
IMAGE: Gumby Imbread, the average American citizen, is sitting in his living room in West Bumfuck, Ohio, watching TV. An announcement comes on of a Witch-burning to be held. Cut to Gumby, his mouth drooling slightly. He speaks. "Kool. 'Em's gone burn some Witches. I ga go see's 'at. I bets all be able to hear's 'em scream, an' evertheng. I wan' see blood, an' people die". Fade to black.
It's a pretty sad day when the main hope of America is that of so many Third World hellholes: when the military turn on the dictator, how much can he get away with before there is a coup?
I want to be clear that in my harsh criticism of the American nation, and in my desire to find some other nation, I am not just a disgruntled liberal. As Myrddin pointed out, the Democrats have also been working side by side with the Republicans for decades to dismantle everything worthwhile about American society. The nasty, oppressive, puritanical fundies have their mirror in nasty, oppressive, puritanical PC. The fundies, however, are stronger, so I oppose them, in hopes of one day defeating the fundies, and then turning on PC, so it, too, can be defeated.
The present election, however, is one of literally hundreds of events in the last decades which have convinced me that the degeneration of the American soul has gone far too far to ever be repaired.
| "Ease-up! Guns Are Not Illegal." ||Nov 8th. at 12:28:25 pm EST|
|Jack Flash (Stockbridge, Mass.) ||Age: 52 - Email |
And right you are, AND 11,000 Americans were executed by 'shottin irons' last year alone (mostly domestic killings).
The Bush cartel knows you want your guns and that FOR that you will give them your vote and everything else they want. I am sure the democrats know that as well, but the republicans have you convinced that the democrats will take away your guns (not a chance).
I like the 2nd amendment too... it is there so that the people have the option to 'rise up and overthrow' a govenment if it plays to a small group of special interests and NOT to the tax payer/common wo/man.
I am real curious as to how A battle between the everyday joes/janes and their own brothers/sisters in the us military would play out. -- I would think that to stand a prayer the avg. citizens would need some serious weapons/fire power instead of just pop shooters and huntin rifles JUST be in the game. Shouldn't the common man be building up a collection of tanks, missles and stuff? otherwise isn't the whole reason for the 2nd amendment lost?
| Irusan ||Nov 7th. at 1:49:18 pm EST|
|KJD (New Hampshire) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Ease-up! Guns are not illegal. If you're not inclined to learn how to use one then fine, but no one should have to answer for themselves about being able to shoot one - whether or not they do it as a hobby or not. Now, I grew up with guns in the house and responsible parents, I don't like handeling one and I don't like shooting one...But, I know how to do it. Why? Because if I was ever to be put into a violent situation by someone and there was a gun involved, and I was able to get ahold of the gun I would know how to protect myself. So lets remember that opinions are just that... and to each their own.
| Vote! ||Nov 7th. at 1:41:39 pm EST|
|KJD (New Hampshire) ||Age: 23 - Email |
This Pagan voted Republican! I register as 'undecided' because
I have no problem crossing party line when I believe in what is
being said. But unofficially, I am Republican, and generally vote
| Actually, I Already Know This ||Nov 7th. at 1:26:25 am EST|
|Aedh Rua UiMhorrigu (NewRichmond, WI) ||Age: 36 - Email |
A couple of years ago, I almost gave up my job search in the United States, and started one overseas. I didn't because I knew that Europe was hardly a panacea, and that I thought that there were decent parts of the United States. And so there are, but these areas are tiny island in a vast wasteland.
The French law is a reason why France might be less than desirable as a destination. The German law, I am told by people who live there, is not applied against Pagans groups. If this information should prove wrong, and there is plenty of time to find out, then I would cross Germany off the list. The Scandinavian countries do have state churches, and Denmark recently refused to give state money to Asatru groups. However, this underscores the fact that the Asatru were able to ask. In Britain, Paganism is growing even more rapidly than in the United States. As in America, there are isolated incidents of local persecution, but those are suaully followed by apologies, and often by public indignation against the persecutors. In other incidents, Pagans are getting recognition in such areas as participation in determining the use
of megalithic monuments.
In any case, European countries are only a few of several possible destinations. There must be some country which we can support. I refuse to accept that the best I can hope for is a choice between always looking over my shoulder, or being open about my religion, and therefore living in the ghetto.
It should be noted that all any of the people who have told me to stay can come up with is either "you coward", or "things are even worse somewhere else". That isn't good enough. No one has yet been able to say that Pagans are really safe in the United States, or that there is any realistic chance of the United States ever again devleoping a culture I can respect. All a negative appraoch does is to convince me that not only America, but indeed the world is a wasteland, and that there is very little reason to live, in ANY country.
Somehow I doubt that is the point you are trying to make. Or is it?
| Europe ||Nov 7th. at 12:57:12 am EST|
|Calixto (Richmond VA) ||Age: 30 - Email |
If you think Europe is necessaily accepting of us, you might have a shock coming.
In France certain religico-magickal orders have been *banned* (such as the OTO). In France and Germany, bureaucrats and politicians have the power to restrict or limit religions based on whether they consider it a "cult" (and they have broad discretion in making this decision). In England, Norway, Sweden, and other places there is a State Church, usually with low attendance...and its no longer common to discriminate against non-members...though the old laws may be on the books in places.
If you wish to go, good luck. My personal preference is not for the socio-economic or even political system (proportional representation), so its not a necessarily preferable place for several reasons. Nor do I relish the idea of going somewhere where my religious order is banned. :(
| Uh, Stephanie........ ||Nov 7th. at 12:33:06 am EST|
|Aedh Rua UiMhorrigu (New Rchmond, WI) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I said that violence is A PART of American culture, and that this has much to do with American crime rates and rates of violent death. This is just a truism. Is violence part of other Western cultures? Sure, but they express it differently, at least today. In this case, the different crime rates, rather less pronounced than in the past, but still very clear, speak for themselves.
In any case, this has very little, or maybe nothing, to do with why I want to leave America. American violence doesn't bother me. It is, if anything, familiar, honest, and reminiscent of the culture of those ancient Celts and Norsemen we supposedly revere. What bothers me is the increasingly fundamentalist tone of American life, the bigoted rejection of other cultures, mostly my own, the corruption and dishonesty which permeates every aspect of existence in most parts of America today, and the general incivility with which we all deal on a daily basis.
In the last town I lived in, in rural Illinois, I was the library director. At my library, I was the only person there who believed in evolution. The only one! Everyone else there was a creationist. Most of the people of that community also believed that Black people should not be allowed to live in their town, that the death penalty should be applied swiftly, so that there would be no time for DNA testing, that murdering "abortionists" was a good idea, and similar monstrous things. I had one guy tell me that "killing all the fags" was a good idea. There were lectures for law enforcement and the general public on how to recognize "Satanic cults", which meant Pagans, really. I attended this lecture, so I know. The lecturer was very clear that Wicca=Satanism, using many of the arguments Kerr Cuchulainn talks about. Despite their Christian beliefs, these people held honor, compassion, honesty, kindness, loyalty, and intelligence in utter contempt. They cheated each other, hated their neighbors, stole when they could, and abused their children, all the while talking about "good family values", or "good (insert town here) people".
To be sure, there were decent people there, but those people were tiny sparks of light in great and hideous darkness. They thought they were helping the people of this town, but all they were really doing was enabling them, making it easier for them to live as they did.
Things are much better where I live now, but this is only one town of many, and even here I would not be comfortable being open about my religion. As much as I would like to believe that most of the country are like the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin, my own travels and the elections of the last two decades tell me this isn't so. Rather, rural Illinois, and rural Ohio, the Bible Belt shitholes, represent the real America, the real American soul of today.
You can talk about the number of people who don't vote, but I suspect that we are lucky they don't, because otherwise we might be in camps already. I see no evidence that there are large numbers of liberal voters out there waiting for someone to organize them, and much evidence that the vast majority of the American people who don't vote are as vile as most of the ones I knew in Illinois.
Under these circumstances, the only really viable option for Pagans is to retreat to a more supportive country, regroup there, and organize ourselves as a community, while reaching out to our new hosts. In time, if we play our cards right, we will be an accepted part of our new country. If our new country is in Europe, then we can play a role in the coming superpower conflict between the United States and Europe. Make no mistake, that conflict is coming. The values of the average Americans I knew in Illinois are so malignant, and so diametrically opposed to the values of the average European, that some kind of hostility is inevitable.
In time, the values of the new America will cause its decline, as surely as night follows day. America today is still the mightiest nation on Earth, but in time its strength will dwindle, and that of Europe will grow. Iniquity cannot stand forever, and the very land revolts against the unjust. So, in time, America will be what the former Soviet Union is today -- the dried out husk of a nation. Then perhaps we, or, more likely, our great-grandchildren, can return and reclaim our native land, if it is indeed worth reclaiming.
So, if you think I am a coward leaving this country out of fear, think again. I am leaving out of disgust, quite aware that my standard of living will probably decline, but unwilling to be ashamed of my country any longer.
| Oh, Irusan ||Nov 6th. at 10:21:33 pm EST|
|Anneka (Nevada, USA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
You know, I really like you. I can't help it. You mentioned Tom Jones. You must be at least sort of ok! (I know, I know, I'm a freak.)
Why do I like to shoot? Well, it's complicated, but let me explain.
My father taught me to shoot (along with 3 of my brothers) when I was 8 years old. We didn't spend a lot of time together, he and I, so partially it IS fond memories. But wait, there's more! In school, one of the only sports I did well (I'm a major klutz) was archery. I may not be able to spike a volleyball, but give me a bow and arrow, and I'm fairly competent. I like darts, too. Then, when I met my husband, we started going shooting together (there's a lovely indoor range about 15 minutes from us.) It's a way for us to hang out together, while relieving stress and practicing something I'm pretty good at. I also want to make sure, that if it ever did (and it hasn't yet) come down to defending myself and my family, I can comfortably fire a weapon and be pretty damn sure of hitting my target. It's not a fear thing at all. Just a precaution. And I have no reason to make people want to fear me. No one needs to fear me, unless they attack me or my family. I'm actually a pretty nice person, mostly. (I do, however, tend to bite. Kindergarten habits die hard!) Remember, shooting is also a sport, and a much less violent sport than hockey. And I hunt occasionally, because I get really tired of irradiated, processed, handled by 20 million people meat. For everyone who will be angry with me for hunting, let me say I do NOT agree with "closed hunts" or anything where the animals are penned. I hardly agree with hunting with rifles. I think the animals deserve a chance, and every time I see on TV some "hunter" trying to kill an animal in a pen, and the animal attacks the hunter, I laugh my head off.
So I'm not a "gun freak" per se. I'm a failry reasonable, young, educated, stable American Woman, who happens to enjoy a very popular pasttime.
| Excuse Me? Violence Is American Culture? ||Nov 6th. at 8:53:38 pm EST|
|Stephanie (New Orleans) ||Age: 47 - Email |
My first reaction is "No, violence is part of Western European Culture that was brought to America". Consider the nature of the beast in Ireland between the Protestants and the Catholics, then I think, "No, consider the violent nature of the Muslim men in the Arab states and elsewhere", and then I think "No, consider the violent nature of the Chinese toward the Tibetans and other Orientals". Then I think "NO, violence seems to just be part of patriarchal civilization PERIOD". Yes, we are definitely more violent in the USA, I also think we're more spoiled and bored in the USA, and also more apathetic because as a whole, we don't appreciate the freedoms that we do have here...we take them for granted. Evidence of that is that only a little more than 39% of the voting age population voted, (and that was high). So I don't consider this election or any election "the mindset of the American People". It is the of the slim majority that voted. One thing we have to realize is that the Christian Reich definitely has organized over the last 2 decades and has it's sheeple voting in lock-step. They don't even question...they vote for who they are told to vote for according to religious lines and anti-choice lines. When the Pagan Unity Campaign attempted to put together a brief statement as to what W/P/W's were for the press and the politicians to understand that we have the capability of being a voting block, all hell broke loose over that "definition". How pathetic. On another note, we all need to remember that the last Congressional race put the Republicans in control of the Senate for one day. Then one Republican Senator switched to Independent. I am not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I vote for people, issues, etc, regardless of party. Not all Republicans are of the Religious Reich, I know as I used to be one. The moderates are out there. If one man switched to Independent last time out of fear of the havoc that could be wrought with a same party House and Senate, it can happen again. There may be more than a few Republican Senators that see the danger of a House, Senate And White House single party. Who knows what the next few days can bring. If I remember correctly a Rhode Island Republican Senator has been iffy for a few weeks. I for one, will keep my wits about me, not give in, not give up hope and fight till my dying breath to keep the Constitution intact.
| What's The First Thing The Republicans Will Do Now? ||Nov 6th. at 8:39:32 pm EST|
|Irusan (Bastrop,TX) ||Age: 53 - Email |
Can you say ANWR, boys and girls?
(My last post for tonight)
| Wait A Minute ||Nov 6th. at 8:06:15 pm EST|
|Aedh Rua UiMhorrigu (New Richmond, WI) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I never said that gun violence was ok. But violence IS a part of American culture, and has been for centuries. Americans don't just lead the Western world in gun violence, but in all types of crime. This is not a quaint custom, nor is it OK, nor a good thing in any sense. But, it is nothing that gun control will change. For that matter, I doubt that anything can change it at all, except maybe methods far more horrific than the problem they "solve", and maybe even they wouldn't work.
Americans don't have a gun culture, they have a violence culture. Despite this, America has done many great things in the world, and was at one time the hope of the Earth. Now, the darkest impulses of the American psyche have completely overcome "what Lincoln called 'the better angels of our nature'".
The Second Amendment is important to me. But, the British, the Irish, the Canadians, the Australians, and many other peoples are free and democratic without it. I will take my chances in a country which may have gun control, but which still respects liberty, and which also supports compassion, the environment, international law, and a civil society, all things which America has now rejected.
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