Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4529
Age Group: Adult
Posted: September 24th. 2001
Getting Back To Normal
The tragic events of the past two weeks still linger in our hearts and minds and spirits. The hunt for those responsible goes on throughout the world and somewhere in New York City dedicated fire and police and port authority personnel still sift through the rubble. The images and aftermath of September 11th will undoubtedly linger forever somewhere in our global psyche and be felt throughout our societies for a very, very long time. Everyone will always be able to recall just where they were and what they were doing at those historical moments.
But now, our community and national political leaders say, it is time for us to regain our composure, to go about our average day-to-day activities and to get back to normal. But just what IS this 'normal' exactly?
Is 'normal' a world where people of Arabian descent can be pulled from planes simply because they 'fit a profile' or are making the other passengers nervous? Maybe it is. As poll results quoted in a recent article in Salon.com indicate: "Sixty-one percent of the American people think that curbing terrorism will necessitate the average person giving up some civil liberties" and in another poll that "forty-nine percent think all Arabs, including U.S. citizens, should have to carry a special ID card." Is this the new profile of what "normal" looks like?
Maybe 'normal' now includes advertising dollar withdrawals from people like Bill Maher of 'Politically Incorrect' (which has now been taken off the air in many locations and faces possible cancellation) or the memos being passed around radio stations that 'recommend' songs such as John Lennon's 'Imagine' or U-2's 'Bloody Sunday' be removed from the playlist? As Dave Denver, operations manager for Clear Channel's Palm Beach stations said, "Right now, our posture here is to keep the flow of information continuing, to obviously support a high level of patriotism. It's very important to not give the terrorists what they wanted and make sure that we on the air continue with our business so everybody will feel good about living in America." After that news broke, they went on to 'explain' that " the list was created merely as a suggestion to program directors, not a mandate." Do corporate censors--I mean, suggestions-- on what will or will not be broadcast over the public airwaves really help us feel that everything is 'normal'? Maybe it does. In any case, it sure is a tried and true technique in good crowd control theory.
Is it 'normal' that so many secular and religious peoples, pundits and pulpits are distancing themselves from the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson faster than Wal-Mart can sell out of American flags? Or is 'normal' the look of New York City as reflected on the weary faces of so many individuals from so many walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, religions or political parties as they continue to search, continue to hope and continue to work as one people? Is 'normal' to find yourself thinking at least once during each and every day, "Is it over yet?"
Is it 'normal' that while most of the people of the United States and a good chunk of the rest of the world were glued to CNN, Fox or any of the other news outlets that amongst all of the on-the-spot interviews, all of the memorial services held and all of the spiritual laymen and leaders who offered what comfort they could from the teachings of their own religions that there was not one Pagan, Pagan leader or Pagan-oriented word of insight or comfort in the bunch? Is it 'normal' to be as bothered or concerned about this lack of Pagan presence as the writer of this email and many of the folks who wrote down their feelings in last week's Pagan Perspectives forum obviously were?
For decades, Pagans have stated that they neither wanted nor needed any sort of national Pagan leadership. As the trauma of the last two weeks descended upon us however, some (And while we do have many wonderful, hardworking and dedicated local Pagan group and coven leaders all over the world, the majority of Pagans today remain- either by chance or by choice- solitary practitioners. They seem to want to know, "Who are MY leaders when I need one?") are now sensing that the lack of such a program was evident and that it may need to be looked at once again. As some Pagans have longed for a few words of comfort in this tragedy, so perhaps others, as they head out into the conflict or stand firmly here at home on the side of non-violent confrontation, may begin to look for some guidance, for some wisdom and for some Pagan spiritual perspective on just what that 'normal' thing might be. So as we here at TWV have received several forwarded copies of the email mentioned above (Our names are in it.) and have also seen the same topic reflected in the saddened comments on last week's board, we are bringing the questions posed therein out into the open in this week's Pagan Perspectives for you to comment on.
No matter which side of the national Pagan leadership question that we may be on, no matter which stance that we might hold on the causes and/our results of our current domestic instability, no matter how much we either support or oppose the world-wide military actions that are already underway, there is one thing that we all can agree upon: Pagans have a vested interest in freedom. The right to worship as we please, to assemble peacefully together, to speak up, speak out and speak openly for what we believe to be right is what has made the United States truly 'the land of the free.' In the days to come, Pagans- and indeed all Americans- will not only struggle with the thorny issues of civil liberties, domestic economics, global conflicts and religious expression amongst ourselves, but we shall also undoubtedly see these same issues reflected in various ways throughout the world.
For any nation, for any people staring at the choices that the United States faces today, these serious considerations would present a set of serious challenges. And for any nation, for any people, these serious challenges would set faction against faction, liberal against conservative, hawk against dove, civil liberties against national security and religious beliefs against secular power. And in any nation these confrontations surely would cause a quite a ruckus, stir up the smoldering passions of old resentments and generally strain the very fiber of national identity and the commitment to the ideals of 'liberty and justice for all.'
But this is not just any nation. This is America. We cut our teeth on this stuff. We can disagree on political policy, fight over religious dogmas and creeds, squabble over budgets, book bans and social morals and at the same time remain steadfast in our declaration that we are one people and one nation. For Americans- and for all people anywhere in the world who hold liberty dear- it is simply the normal procedure that we go through, the normal discomfort that we bear and the normal price that we are willing to pay in order to remain free.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, September 24th., 2001
Photo Credit: The photo above was captured three during the same evening that our cover photo was taken. Thanks go out to Wvox staff photographer Don "Two Eagles" Waterhawk (Web) for this powerful image. (location: Wendyl and Bill's ritual space in Ft. Meyers, Florida).
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