Archive for Politics

We need joy

You don’t need me to tell you how bleak the news has been lately. Massacres, political oppression at home and abroad, natural disasters, threat of nuclear meltdown, tornadoes, union busting, racism, and tragedy. Half the time I want to hide under the bed, or stop listening to the news.

I didn’t wake up at 4 a.m. to watch the royal wedding, but I looked at pictures on the Internet, and it gave me a thrill. The hats alone are enough to cheer anyone up. I watched my DVR Today Show coverage on Saturday, and a little more of it on Sunday (there was a lot), and I have to say, it felt good. I’m not one of those royal-obsessed people, but you absorb a certain amount of information, and y’know, I’m Oscar obsessed, and there were two Oscar-winning movies about this particular royal family in the past four years. It’s a strangely-constrained life the Windsors lead, but they allow people to gather around a sense of nationalism that transcends politics. The occasion was beautiful, and when Prince William leaned in and kissed his bride a second time, yes, I kvelled.

And then, last night, the news that Osama bin Laden has finally been killed. I know it’s strange and ambivalent to celebrate death, but I celebrate a victory, and a closure, and a sense of triumph, and again, a sense of nationalism that transcends politics (although there are definitely politics involved).

We can’t just be serious-minded day in, day out, caring about all that bad stuff and struggling to make a difference. We need the punctuations of joy. We need to feel, this is good, this is pretty, this is a win. We need to hug each other and say YES! We need to know that life has all the colors, not just the grays.

How lovely that all this happened around Beltane. May the springtime be our color in a life with too much gray. Blessed be to all!

September 11, 2009

I have a tattoo of the Twin Towers on my right arm—fairly prominent, about 3 1/2 inches high. Often, strangers stop me to talk about my tattoos, and usually, since 9/11, this is the one they notice. The most common question I get is “Did you lose somebody?”

This used to surprise me. We all lost somebody. We all lost every one of the victims. I hope it takes nothing away from the people who lost spouses, partners, children, parents, and beloved friends and relatives, to say that the collective loss is profound.

We all lost somebody.

People had all sorts of reactions: Fear, rage, panic, numbness. I was, and remain, deeply sad. The hole in Ground Zero remains a hole in my heart.

My all those who lost their lives that day be at peace. May their loved ones be comforted. Let all those who sacrificed so much, physically and emotionally, in rescue and recovery efforts, be acknowledged and healed. May all of us pause for a moment to reflect upon all that we take for granted, and how swiftly it can change.

Please politicize my death

I can’t say it any better than Amanda Marcotte.

Rest in Peace, Senator Kennedy

Liberals and progressives have lost a true champion. Kennedy was a committed and vigorous defender of just about everything I value; of protection to the unprotected, of true liberty, of the rights and dignity of all people. He was an orator and a pitbull. He was never weak, never centrist, never known for compromise, yet got things done. The world is a poorer place today for his absence.

Pagan Values Month: Putting the “poly” in polytheism

Pagan blogger Pax has declared June to be Pagan Values Month, and is asking Pagan bloggers to write about Pagan values.

Fundamental to our values, I believe, is pluralism. Everything we believe, even the lines we draw in the sand, must be rooted in plurality. There are many gods, many paths, many truths.

Monotheism has “mono” as a root value. One God, one Truth, one Right with all other things Wrong. This is a net negative for culture, I believe.

Polytheism allows us to worship many gods, few if any of whom are “jealous Gods.” None of them seem to demand that we worship Them and Them alone. Kali has never asked me to cease worshiping the gods of Wicca, and vice versa. Doing one thing fervently, wholeheartedly, with body, mind, heart, and spirit, does not prevent Pagans from doing another, very different, thing with the same wholeheartedness.

There are surely things that are wrong, but a pluralistic world view means that, once we have found something we know to be right, we do not know that everything else is wrong. One god worthy of worship does not make all other gods false. One life worth living does not make all other lifestyles inferior. One candidate worth supporting does not make all other candidates assholes (although, y’know, maybe).

It’s easier to love your neighbors if you’re a pluralist, because you don’t have to hate their choices. It’s easier to be a good citizen, because you aren’t judging your fellow citizens by rigid moral standards that don’t allow for cultural and personal differences.

I could apply the core value of pluralism to lots of specific issues. Pagans tend to support same sex marriage and GLBT rights, because it is consistent with polytheistic values to support a plurality of ways to love, and a plurality of expressions of gender. Even heterosexual Pagans, even Pagans like me who are part of a Pagan tradition deeply rooted in gender polarity. Because even though my tradition works on the basis of gender polarity, mine is not the only right tradition. If someone found something incompatible with my tradition, whether it was the gender polarity thing, or the skyclad thing, or anything else, they could find a different tradition, and they wouldn’t be less blessed, less spiritual, less beloved of the gods.

I could continue in this vein, of course. GLBT issues are just one example. Reproductive freedom is another. Surely I know Wiccans who are against abortion because they find it incompatible with a fertility religion, but most Wiccans and Pagans are pro-choice because the very concept of choice is rooted in plurality; we can each make our own choices even when they differ from one another. (And by the way, when I say “most” are this and that, I am not pulling that out of my ass, there are actual statistics out there.)

So, pluralism, as expressed in the sacred (polytheism) and the mundane (politics, community relations) is a core Pagan value.

Amazon responds

Here’s the whole thing, from Amazon spokesperson Drew Herdener:

This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.

It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.

Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.

Please help: Amazon’s crazy new policy

This has been all over the Internet in the past 24 hours. Amazon has “de-listed” hundreds of gay and lesbian books from it’s sales ranks.

Please sign this petition protesting this decision.

I’m sick of the economy

Who isn’t?

But seriously, it’s all I hear about. It’s all I read about. The radio has gone to 24-hour-economy. CNN probably has an Economy Logo.

And obviously this is an important story, arguably the most important story right now. But you know what? It’s not the only story.

We’re still at war in two countries, peace has not yet been achieved in Middle East, and the situation in Darfur is still dire. The battle for civil rights continues, reproductive freedom is still being chipped away at, and gay marriage is still not legal in most states. Many Americans lack healthcare, global climate change is an increasing crisis, and there are cute kittens caught in trees right this very moment.

I get it. Economy. But please tell me something else too.

Normal business travelers

There’s a commercial I’ve been hearing on the radio for some kind of premium for business travelers. I am not the best advertising audience in my pre-caffeinated state; I don’t know which hotel chain is being advertised, but it’s something about a free stay after ten stays.

And the spin is, hey, you’re being rewarded for things business travelers already do. So “it’s like being rewarded for wearing a tie. Or like being rewarded for shaving. Or like being rewarded for putting on pants.”

What do these things have in common. Umm….I know!

They’re things male business travelers do.

Now I grant you, female business travelers often put on pants. But they also often put on pantyhose. And makeup. And that wasn’t in the commercial.

Once again, the default person is male. And you know what? I must have heard that commercial ten times before I realized the problem. Because “the patriarchy, you’re soaking in it.” Because I, too, think of the default person as male, despite a lifetime of feminism. Sigh.

Obama versus Vader

I kid you not. These action figures are Teh Awesome. (h/t House Next Door)