I have been taken to task for my curt response to Mike who responded to my post on John Boehner and torture. My reply has grown to being a small post of its own that I hope will interest a number of readers. It addresses issues far bigger than Mike’s complaint.
I am continually torn with how to address the issue of politics and spirit. I am not only a Pagan, I am also an American citizen and a political scientist. That is my field of expertise. Anyone who looked at my blog before I was asked to join Beliefnet will notice that it was much more political than it is now. And I posted less often. And it is hardly the only blog on this site that deals with politics to a significant degree.
That is a bit of context. Now to the issue at hand. Is this blog too political?
Pagans as I use the term focus on the Sacred as it manifests in the world. That means we should be concerned with its well-being. That also means we should oppose those who would destroy or desecrate the world through ignorance, malice, or greed.
I am afraid that refers to MOST Republicans and MOST conservatives these days. It was not always so, Barry Goldwater was remarkably liberal by modern standards. There is nothing about what conservatism used to be that would preclude conservatives being Pagans. And I suppose some of the current kind could be today, if they worshipped Ares .
I am among the first to admit these failings are hardly limited to the Republican and conservative side of the political divides in this country. But it is also true that as a group they have done more harm and are doing more to prevent ameliorative action than any other organized force in America today, with the possible exception of the corporate oligarchy.
When conservatives begin to police their own ranks a bit better, when they loudly criticize the moral monsters in their ranks, when they start electing conservatives who demonstrate some adherence to principle, or start pushing back against the criminals who have hijacked their position and their name, I will be far gentler. I am a political theorist who prefers reasoned debate.
So far, with few exceptions, they haven’t. Torture defender John Boehner is the Minority Leader in the House, not some crazed back bencher like Barbara Bachmann. Glenn Beck is super popular with the conservative crowd. When some Republican Congresscritter dares criticize Rush Limbaugh, a few days later they come crawling to the feet of the Immense One, to apologize.
Do old style conservatives still exist? Yes. But if you didn’t know where to look, you would not easily find them. They stand out as much as spottted owls, and are about as common in public discussions. two come to mind that my more political readers might have heard of: Meghan McCain, who has more cojones than all the ‘conservatives’ in Congress and the media, and Andrew Sullivan who still cares about things like law and decency as amounting to more than slogans.
Some people may want to stay utterly uninvolved in the affairs of this world. Fine. But remember, these people have imposed themselves on us. they have sought, gained, and miused political power. They say they are wagng a ‘culture war’ against us.
I wish I could ignore them. At one level the world can definitely take care of itself, but at another level I don’t want to look back in a few years and say I wish I had done more.
I make my headlines pretty clear as to whether it will be a political or non-political post. Don’t read the political ones – it’s easy to know what to avoid. But don’t presume to tell me that when I am addressing politics, I am not being Pagan or it is not a ‘Pagan Blog.’ I do not say this is THE Pagan Blog, it is A Pagan Blog, as it most assuredly is.
If you do not want to be involved in political issues, don’t post comments on political posts. It’s easy. The post immediately before the Boehner one was far far longer and utterly non-political. But Mike ignored it to make whatever point he wanted to make on the other.
The media has done a mostly horrible job reporting to the American people as to the crimes committed in their name, and even now most media figures are making light of these issues. I feel a responsibility to make information available to people who do not follow political events closely. That includes many readers of this blog. I do not simply bad-mouth people – I provide links to back it up, and they are respectable links.
Some people deserve bad mouthing as terrible examples of human beings and terrible examples of American citizens. In my view there is not enough moral condemnation of the extreme right in this country – not nearly enough. I know that to some degree I am ‘preaching to the choir’ – but given what we have been through the past 8 years, we all need to know we do nor speak and act alone. We have been through a period when those who saw fairly clearly the horrors ‘conservative Republicans’ were going to unleash on our land were attacked as un-American, sympathizers of terrorists, the ‘hard left,’ traitors, and worse.
Now the criminals who held power speak of a bi-partisanship they did not practice then and are not practicing now. They urge us to look forward and let bygones be bygones, though the crimes they committed stink to the heavens. Too little discussed is just how many of the current gang of criminals got their start in the Nixon White House, or later got awar with cimes under Reagan, when George H. W. Bush pardoned them all upon becoming President.
Democratic members of the ruling elite are often happy to let bygones be bygones because so many lost any moral standing by caving to conservative threats during the Bush II years. If
justice is to be done, it will be because Americans insist on it. If
justice is not done, it will happen again because it means that if you
have enough power, the rule of law and basic decency no longer apply.