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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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1. Who are you going to vote for and why? - [233]

 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 16,713,216  

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Question of the Week: 14 - 11/6/2000

The Unresolved US Election

Did YOU vote? Which candidate did you vote for? How do you feel about the political wrangling going on right now in Florida? Will/Should either candidate concede for the good of the country-or should either/both fight it out until we all scream for mercy? How do you think either candidate, if declared the winner, will be able to bring the country together given the inference that the election results now point to an America that is almost equally divided into one camp or the other? And the BIG question-What, if any, impact will the final results have on the Pagan communities?

 Reponses:   There are 263 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

My Personal Feelings... Well, It's Depressing That So Many People I Know... Nov 11th. at 1:18:56 am EST

Naomi Armitage (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US) Age: 20 - Email

My personal feelings...

Well, it's depressing that so many people I know see voting for the two major parties as voting for the 'lesser of two evils'. That's not what I think our forefathers had in mind when creating a democracy. But our society seems to ignore the existence of multiple parties while b****ing about the lack of choice.
I think with so many people my age beginning to be aware of the government and politics as something that plays a huge part in our lives, there will be changes in the processes. Instead of 'bipartisan' things will be 'multipartisan', and more people will be making educated choices at the polls.
I voted Nader...I didn't care that people were saying "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush." or that he didn't have a snowflake's chance in Hades...I know that my vote is going to help him have a better chance for their party next time.

Further Thoughts Come To Mind. If Things Really Do Get Genocidal In... Nov 11th. at 1:13:57 am EST

Aedh Rua (Sterling, Illinois US) Age: 35 - Email

Further thoughts come to mind. If things really do get genocidal in the United States, we might consider a couple of possibilities:

a) Pagan self-defense organizations. I don't have running around in the woods in cammo in mind, here. As a small minority, the smart thing to do is to blend in, maintain a high degree of mobility, contacts with outside allies, and a lot of firepower. Something like the French resistance in World War II might work better than macho militias. Also, a lot of Pagans are hackers. The fundies might think twice about hurting us if they knew that it would bring about a close duplicate of what people feared the Y2K crisis would be like. Funny how the threat of the apocalyptic end of civilization works to keep even fanatics friendly and honest.

b) Mass-migration to somewhere else. Not too many countries are likely to take us, but some might. Canada or Australia might be moved enough by their sense of right and wrong to take in a million or so Pagan refugees. More likely, there is probably a third world country out there somewhere which would salivate at the thought of a million Westerners who just happen to know a whole lot about really lucerative high technology.

Then there is Alaska. Total population, not more than 700K or so. And, there is nothing that the locals can do to keep American and Canadian Pagans from migrating there in any numbers they want. If 700, 000 U.S. Pagans migrate there, we become half the population, probably more than enough to reduce any fundie persecution efforts to comical impotence. Add a few more of us (I think the 700K estimate of the U.S. Pagan population is rather low, and there are plenty of Canadian Pagans, as well), and we are the majority. I do not have secession in mind, here. Instead ask yourself this, how much effect would an anti-Mormon persecution have in Utah?

The American political system is Federalist. That means that localities, particularly states, have a LOT of power. And Republican fiscal policies are likely to make that more the case, and not less. The fact is that, even in the rather centralist American state of the present day, there is not a whole lot the Feds can do if the people of a state wish to quietly and discretely practise their own lifestyle. There are not enough Federal police, and probably not enough troops, to patrol somewhere the size of Alaska with very much efficiency. If we settle in, become local citizens, police, and town council members, the Feds will be in the weird position of needing to depend on Pagans to enforce their laws.

While some people have advocated a Pagan homeland, we are not really in a position to make that happen. But, it is possible to run a part of the United States as a de-facto separate country, even if we remain legally a part of the U.S.

To pull this off would require more than just getting into our cars and driving, of course. We would need to have Pagans on the ground in Alaska who would be willing to help other Pagans locate job leads and homes. We would need a good deal of money, once the migration got going, to establish Pagan businesses and settlements. But, the amount of money I am talking about is not in the billions of dollars. It could be done with donations, especially from, say, certain very wealthy Pagan female rock stars who live in England and dye their hair red (not that I have anyone in particular in mind, are you listening, Tori?). A certain amount of kaletia, a Gaulish word meaning approximately "endurance" or "guts", would also help. We may have to be cold and hungry for a while, but if things get really hot under Bush, I would suggest that it would be well worth it.

We are not a numerous people, and nobody loves us....except maybe the Gods, which is more than enough.

I Voted As Did Many Other Americans And Like Them, Find Myslf... Nov 11th. at 12:46:00 am EST

Ian Stuart (Tulsa, Oklahoma US) Age: 34 - Email

I voted as did many other Americans and like them, find myslf shocked by what is occuring. It is not, however, a shock stemming by the fact that the process is in turmoil but by hat the turmoil signifies. The country proves equally divided by the results yet more so, it is in danger of being polarized by the indecisive nature of there being neither a clear cut nor a decisive victo. What this means to pagans (as well as anyone else) is that a "you or me" mind set could very well dominate our country as a result of what has been called indecision 2000. It is a situation poised not just for a democrat - vs- Republican freeforall, but where the American people come to vehemently view all issues as black or white. Coming at a time when Paganism is becoming more and more viewed as a faith rather than a fad, what reversals might our movement as well as others face when the line is becoming clearly drawn between opposing forces on all levels?

I Voted For Nader, In California. I Didn't Even Have To Feel... Nov 11th. at 12:37:41 am EST

Luis Felipe Morales (Santa B‡rbara, California US) Age: 23 - Email

I voted for Nader, in California. I didn't even have to feel guilty about that, thankfully, though in truth I'm not too inclined to feel guilty in any case... being as how, of course, Gore f***ed his own campaign up far more effectively than any third (or fourth or fifth) party ever could. As every commentator I respect has said, this election ought, by all rights, have been a Democratic slam dunk. But enough said about that.

Bush certainly isn't about to concede for anyone's good, because he actually has the votes on his side, at the moment. Gore isn't going to concede, either, not for now at any rate. And let me say to anyone who hasn't already heard it that IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO WINS because neither side has a 'mandate' nor, more to the point, a working majority in either legislative camera. And we've only elected a President, in any case... not a King. Anyone who sees the Reagan era about to be reincarnated is forgetting how much American voters loathed Jimmy Carter in 1980, not to mention practically everything else about the socio-econo-geo-political milieu.

I am not happy to hear the Witchvox editors repeating the same line all the news sources can't get enough of about how 'America is almost equally divided into one camp or the other.' Fritz and Wren are two of the most intelligent, driven, ass-kicking people around, but really, guys. America isn't divided into the Right and the Left this year. It's firmly united in the Center. It's not that voters split sharply on the candidates -- it's that we could hardly tell them apart.

Finally, the impact either President could have on the Pagan community is just about nil. America is sailing right along towards greater and greater spirito-religious freedom, at the grass-roots level, and the Supreme Court doesn't actually have that much to say about it. Even in the Reagan-Bush years -- hmm, how many of YOU out there were watching paganism & company grow and grow and grow? (I wasn't -- but I've done my homework and I know it did. Just off the top of my head, ADF and Keltria were born in the middle '80s. Starhawk's books were published in the '80s. Marija Gimbutas was drawing thousands of people to the idea of the Goddess I think she was sort of a crackpot, scientifically speaking, but her ideas had a wonderful effect on folks. Riane Eisler was writing in the '80s. Carol Christ was writing in the '80s. Margo Adler's 'DDTM' was published in 1979 and went into X-hundred number of reprints through the Evil Decade. The list goes on. If Bush gets the White House, so what? We're here, we're not going anywhere. He'll only get four years, maybe (BIG maybe) eight. Chin up, people, the sky is not falling.

One Person Wrote In That He Wasn't Worried About Bush's Views On... Nov 11th. at 12:09:11 am EST

Linda (OKC, Oklahoma US) Age: 46

One person wrote in that he wasn't worried about Bush's views on witchcraft because the courts had agreed that it was a religion. But courts can roll back previous decisions. If you remember, the death penalty was ruled as cruel and unusual by one Supreme Court only to be overturned by another. The frightning thing about Bush is that, if he is indeed the next president, may end up appointing up to five new Supreme Court justices. That is how many are expected to retire in the next eight years. So yes, he can appoint both federal judges and Supreme Court judges and they can indeed reverse the decision that says witchcraft is a religion. The way Bush feels about witchcraft, the death penalty and the environment, he'll probably end up burning witches using old growth forest. And I'm not saying that to be funny. He has paranoid tendencies, the kind that led Nixon to do Watergate, and there's no telling what that spoiled rich boy who always got his way will do.

I Voted For Harry Browne In This Election As In The Last... Nov 10th. at 11:59:09 pm EST

Olympia (Huntley, Illinois US) Age: 25

I voted for Harry Browne in this election as in the last one because:

"I would rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don't want and get it." -- Eugene Debs

As many people have learned this week, we do not directly vote for candidates and that members of the electoral college have not always followed popular vote. So much for the "throwing away your vote" argument when we don't actually vote for our president, but rather just suggest who we would like to see in office.

I could go on for quite awhile on this subject, but I won't.

So I will just say that I sleep better knowing that at least I voted for what I wanted, instead of settling for the least offensive candidate.

I Know Many Canadians, Including Myself That Wish They Could Vote During... Nov 10th. at 11:32:21 pm EST

Catherine Guay (Gatineau) Age: 19 - Email

I know many Canadians, including myself that wish they could vote during the U.S elections. I can't help but think how much Canada is affected by the American leaders. For instance, Bush wants to start digging for oil up north near Canada's borders. He believes that it would help America's economy and make it more self sufficiant when it comes to crude oils. While this may be true, he didn't seem to stop and think about the ecological aspect of his plan. Gore pointed out that drilling for oil up north would be an environmental disaster. Drilling would mean killing off several species of endangered plants and animals that seem to thrive at that very location. For this and many more reasons, I would vote for Gore, but that is only my opinion.


I Believe That The American Vote Does Not Count! I Believe The... Nov 10th. at 11:27:49 pm EST

Ocean Moons 13 (Sedona) Age: 46 - Email

I believe that the American vote DOES NOT COUNT!

I believe the system is fixed and completely corrupt. I believe that the election is nothing more than a big put on. I wouldnt be suprised if they have Hollywood writers and directors producing them.

Justice, ha! The amount of justice you recieve in this country is determined by how much money you have.

In Arizona you can go to prison for 6 years for having a joint, but if your wealthy you can get by with a fine for murder in California.

A diplomat drunk runs down and kills a kid in d.c. and no charges are brought. police in N.Y. have a drunkin party at a hotel and fire their weapons in the hotel and destroy a police car, yet no arrests are made.

If I had a photographic memory this list could go on for decades.

Justice ha! There is no justice in America.

A large electric prison fence should be put around washington d.c. and lock all those crooked low lifes up for good.

I Voted For Gore/lieberman. Until Tuesday, The National Election Was Sort... Nov 10th. at 11:00:23 pm EST

woodspirit (burlington, Vermont US) Age: 32 - Email

I voted for Gore/Lieberman. Until Tuesday, the national election was sort of a sidenote here in Vermont. We have some very deep issues to grapple with up here, so for me and I would guess many of us, Washington and the presidential race sort of dropped off the radar screen sometime last summer. but, of course, after tuesday all eyes are focused on florida of all places. of all the scenarios i ran through my head when I went to bed on tuesday evening, who would have dreamed? hollywood couldn't have done a better job.

i was not particularly crazy about voting for gore - he is the lesser of two evils, but, i feel, still evil. he is part of the washington establishment, having spent virtually his entire life there. he is rude and abrasive (in my opinion) not to mention condescending. he has an distressingly dysfunctional relationship with the truth. normally i would have voted for neither gore nor bush, but the thought of a bush presidency sends shivers down my spine. he reminds me too much of ronald reagan. as a pagan, as a father, i couldn't in good conscience NOT vote for gore.

i'm not sure what the solution is to the election troubles in florida. it seems to me, though, that unless they let the people of palm beach county vote again, they'll never know the will of the people considering all of the evidence of irregularities in the polling there. That is a mighty big spike on the palm beach county bar for buchanan. while the ballots didn't seem all that confusing to me, different people perceive things differently. I can see how it could be confusing. i don't know if it is even legal to have a revote, but it would seem unless they do something decisive like a revote, this could go on for months, if not years in the courts. The american nation cannot and should not be expected to withstand what that would entail.

i am resigned to a bush administration. we try to remain positive. i think the pagan community has a strong enough voice that we can be assured that mr. bush and his republican congress will not roll back our rights, or anyone else's for that matter, without one heck of a fight. as a community we will continue to speak out against injustice and prejudice. we will fight for the rights of the women and the children and the working people and the poor and the sick and the elderly. we'll continue to fight against the desecration and decimation of our mother, the earth. we will not give up.

and yet, i am fearful.

As An After-thought To My Previous Post -- The Issue Of Bush's Non-acceptance... Nov 10th. at 10:24:37 pm EST

Roger LaVern Girtman II (a.k.a. Gwalchmai) (Bay St. Louis, Mississippi US) Age: 19 - Email

As an after-thought to my previous post --

The issue of Bush's non-acceptance views of Paganism is moot and shouldn't have been a factor in voting. Here's why:

First Amendment - Freedom of Religion, of course that means nothing if Paganism isn't considered a religion, right?

But it is and it cannot change... The US Supreme court declared Wicca and similar Pagan paths as a legally distinct and valid religion. Yes the court can over-turn that... or can they?

They COULD have -- if they hadn't already upheld the decision. Now we're in the books for good and there's nothing anyone can do to change it.

So... no matter what Bush and/or Gore thinks they can't change it, so it shouldn't matter what they think, but the other issues that they CAN affect, DO matter! (It may be interesting to note that Gore voted AGAINST allowing the Fort Hood Coven to practice, in last year's fiasco, under the grounds that Wiccans in the military were Satanists-in-Disguise. [That is an inferred comment, not a direct quote, if I'm wrong on that point, I appologize, but I don't belive that I am.])

Nonetheless, the original point remains, our religious legal status can't be changed, therefore it shouldn't matter what anyone thinks about it. (Anyway, I always have wanted a good excuse to meet 800, 000+ Pagans on the steps of the Capital building -- Haven't you?)

Yes, I Voted -- For Bush-cheney, Because I Agree With His Political Views... Nov 10th. at 9:53:46 pm EST

Roger L Girtman II (a.k.a. Gwalchmai) (Bay St. Louis, Mississippi US) Age: 19 - Email

Yes, I voted -- for Bush-Cheney, because I agree with his political views. It seems to me that Gore has over and over again looked toward the minorities with miraculous, lovely-sounding plans and firm numbers... but the numbers are derived from incomplete, and inaccurate sources for the express purpose of LOOKING like Gore knows what he's doing. Gore's plans, albeit seemingly virtuous aren't applicable -- the majority of them simply cannot be done. Bush's plans are within the realm of possibilities, and he hasn't mislead the country by plucking numbers out of the air. He has broad pland, which can be modified to the circumstances as the situations change. Thats why I voted for Bush.

As far as the Flordia charade goes -- if the voters there weren't intelligent enough to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS (which were printed on the ballots) or, at the very least, ask for help, I for one hope and pray that their vote's DON'T count.

Gore may have gotten the popular vote, but that majority is limited to a few large states in areas where those voter's issues are better solved at the state and local level. Look at any nationwide map, by state or county...and you will see that Bush's supporters cover a MUCH larger AREA of the nation, which because it is a widespread ares, those voters don't have the luxury of appealing to their local and state governments. That is the exact reason why the American founders created teh Electoral college -- they knew that a few large states could out-vote the entire country popularly, and that jsut isn't fair. Otherwise, California and New England would be able to control the entire nation. Thats just not right! In my humble oppinion, Gore should concede to Bush out of the simple facts that 1- Bush got more states, and 2- Bush got more electoral votes (contoversy set aside).

If, in the end of this debacle, Gore is named President-elect, I will respect his position, and his office. I cannot, in good conscience, respect a man who whined and complained his way to power.

I Am Very Concerned At The Thought Of A Republican Administration And... Nov 10th. at 9:36:03 pm EST

Aedh Rua (Sterling, Illinois US) Age: 35

I am very concerned at the thought of a Republican administration and Congress in this country. The majority of Republicans view Pagans, Wiccans, and other "occultists" roughly in the way that the Nazis viewed Jews in the '30s. I doubt that the Republicans will have enough of a majority to pass laws against us, but it probably won't stop some of them from trying. Keep in mind that Jesse Helms tried to pass anti-Witchcraft laws in the 1980s, and that Bob Barr wished to ban Pagans from the military only last year.

I suppose that they might try to take tax-exempt status and non-profit postal rates away from Pagan churches, and to encourage various forms of discrimination. More than this would be very difficult in the sort of divided Congress we are likely to have. The "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare of the late 1980s might have a repeat, but that effected very few Pagans. Ironically enough, that particular case of hysteria mostly effected Christians, often Fundies.

Conservative courts could give us more trouble, particularly in child custody cases, and it seems likely that a Bush in office would appoint mostly very conservative justices to Federal courts. Still, he would probably have very great trouble getting such people confirmed.

More generally, a Bush administration would likely see an upswing in racial, sexual, and sexual preference discrimination, with very little that we could do about it. This is more a matter of not enforcing existing laws than passing new ones. Bush could do much damage simply by inaction. Attempts at censorship, especially of the internet, might be popular enough among many Democrats to have a good chance of success. This would effect us only slightly, but is still not a good thing.

What can we do about it? Frankly, I support Gore's attempts at winning, no matter what methods he uses. For us, this is a matter of dealing with real oppression, and Bush is the candidate who stands for that oppression. We do not have the luxury of abstract Constitutional correctness. Our struggle is a struggle against those who would destroy us.

In the future, as distasteful as it is to act like Christians, we must grow, in numbers, wealth, and power. We certainly do not want to seek converts, but we must make a concerted effort to reach out to anyone who is already Pagan, and looking for contacts, and to people who are essentially Pagan in belief, but who don't know what to call themselves. We must seek alliances with others, but I think it is important also to clearly express our own perspective(s).

More distasteful, still cynical chuckle), we must stop fighting each other, COMPLETELY! No more witch wars, no more Pagan-Heathen disdain, no more trad comparing. We are all in the same boat, with the same enemies, enemies whom I will never again underestimate. I want never again, ever, to be as frightened as I am now. I want never again, ever, to be ruled by a regime made up of enemies of my religion. To prevent that we must become strong, overwhelmingly strong. We must stick together, no matter what, and love one another as one people. We must not hate our enemies, don't get me wrong, for hatred will accomplish nothing. But we must make it impossible for anyone to ever harm us.

We are not a numerous people, and nobody loves us...

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