Sep 282010
 

Question:   At what point do you question what you know about Tea Party groups?

The first time they endorse and then stand by an openly Heathen candidate while the media (and, it is alleged, the opposing candidate) mocks his religion as they did with Dan Halloran?  After you read interviews with openly Pagan members of the Tea Party who have risen to leadership positions within their group?  Perhaps after you get a resounding “makes no difference to us” from the Delaware Tea Party groups while the rest of the country makes it plain with their response to O’Donnell that practicing witchcraft makes you political poison?  Or maybe now when an Nevada Tea Party group endorses another Heathen candidate, Erin Lale, author of the book Asatru For Beginners,  for State Assembly?

Candidate Erin Lale, photo credit: www.myspace.com/erinlale

May 31, 2010 – Erin Lale, candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 29, was endorsed by local Tea Party organization Anger is Brewing. Lale has also been endorsed by the LPN Vote Caucus, Liberty-Candidates.org, Gun Owners of Nevada, and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Lale plans to introduce legislation to define fees in Nevada law so fees collected for a specific purpose must be used for that purpose or given back to the taxpayers. Her plan to balance the state budget without a general tax increase is to end marijuana prohibition so the state can tax marijuana, spend $500 million less per year on prisons, free up police resources so we put more cops on the street without spending more money, bring parents back to the community which will help kids do better in school and break the cycle of poverty, have less gang violence, less border violence, and more tourist money in the local economy.

Lale is running against incumbent April Mastroluca, a Democrat. There is no primary in the District 29 race; no names will appear on the ballot for District 29 until the general election in November.

I’m not asking anyone to support the basic political aims of the Tea Party, but if you have held the view that the Tea Party is a rabidly Christian fundamentalist group hostile towards minority religions like Paganism, at what point do you re-evaluate that belief?  What does it say about Tea Party groups that they are embracing openly Pagan candidates and members, and doing so with so little drama?

Sep 202010
 

C is a registered Democrat and lives in a suburb of a large city. C requested I not use her name as her employer does not know she is a Wiccan and her Pagan friends do not know she is involved with the Tea Party Patriots.
D is a former GOP member and lives in a small town in Delaware. He describes himself as a Forge Witch. D also requested I not use his name.

_________________________________________________

P+p: How did you become involved with the Tea Party?
C: I was vehemently against the Tea Party, but after reading the interviews on Pagan + Politics, I decided to look into it for myself.  I promised myself I would read the messages and attend at least one meeting so that I could say I took the time to understand what the Tea Party is all about.  I expected to find right-wing drivel and lots of praising Jesus that we aren’t all queer, and I found it. I found the right-wing drivel and praising Jesus, not anything anti-homosexual.  What I noticed is religious comments are ignored and if they move past a surface statement and go into condemning or proselytizing, people tell them to take it elsewhere. “Take it outside” is how they say it. The same is true when people try to bring up social issues. Take it outside. They are very focused on economic issues, a bit on some civil liberty issues.

The next thing that I noticed is the level of disgust and anger directed at the GOP. I thought I hated the GOP, but this group is really angry at the GOP Party leadership. They call them the ruling class. It was surreal, reading many of the same critiques of the GOP there as what I read on the Daily Kos or Democratic Underground. That’s what got my attention and caused me to take a second look at the Tea Party and what they are doing.

What they are doing is what I wish we were doing in the Democratic party. Cleaning out the Party elite. Focusing on our weak economy. Talking about jobs. Most importantly, soliciting ideas from the rank and file and pushing those ideas upwards instead of having these platforms imposed on us from on high. It’s a very collaborative process, very consensus based. I enjoy that greatly. I’m part of the Tea Party now, in part to learn how to effect change like this within the Democratic Party and in part because the people are so very earnest and open. I’ve told them I’m a spy and only there to learn their tricks and they think it’s funny and welcome me anyway.

D: I left the GOP in disgust during the last half of Bush’s term. Anyone who thinks Bush was a conservative should have their head examined. I had held my nose and voted for him, considering him the lesser of two evils. Turns out there was no difference between him and Gore and Kerry. By voting for him, we helped push the GOP further to the left economically. It was like the Democrats and Republicans were in a race to see who could be more corrupt, who could spend more, who could take a bigger shit on the Constitution. After that, I had decided to withdraw. No donations, no votes.

When the Tea party started up, I jumped on board. At first I was hopeful it would become a third Party. I almost left during the in-fighting that shook out what our goal was. I’m glad I stayed in. We are standing together to support the most fiscally conservative candidate for each office and we don’t care about any other issue. The GOP has taken the conservative vote for granted for a long time and that is ending. The ruling class thinks they can choose the candidates and we will just have to vote for them no matter what. We don’t and we won’t. Party does not come first and control of Congress is not our main concern. The sooner the GOP understands that, the better. Right now the GOP is learning some painful lessons and they aren’t real happy with us. That’s good. I haven’t been happy with them for a long time.

.

P+p: Christine O’Donnell, what happened there?

C: Deep pockets were taken out the equation. She wasn’t supposed to win, shouldn’t have had the money to win, and if the strategy is to elect as many GOP candidates as possible to take back Congress, the Tea Party didn’t get the memo. That’s not quite right. The Tea Party got the memo and threw it in the trash. It’s amazing to me how they kick possible candidates around, argue over who will fit their economic policy ideas the best, and then there is a moment of consensus. The decision crystallizes and they all pitch in to support the chosen candidate. Her social policy ideas were embraced by some and were repugnant to others, but people were reminded again and again that the Tea Party is neutral on issues like abortion. There is a group of conservative Christians who are trying to push more of their religious agenda on the Tea Party, but so far they haven’t been successful. I’ve heard about other Tea Party groups who have been taken over by social conservatives.

D: She’s flat out bat-shit insane and I’m going to vote for her. I’m ok with a candidate who is a bit screwy on things as the mainstream would consider me a bit screwy in some of my views. It’s better than the white-washed lying politicians who keep everything vague rainbows. I’ll take someone with real-life baggage that I can see. It’s making me do a double-take when I hear Pagans talk about how weird her ideas are and then start talking about how their aura feels off today. Don’t you think some of our ideas sound daft to those outside our group?

I’ve made my decision that the number one problem facing our country is our economy and I’ll support the candidate who will rein in the deficit and not take pay-offs to screw me over. O’Donnell looks to fit that bill.

.

P+p: Some of O’Donnell’s views are being mocked, by both the Left and the Right. What do you think of Masturbationgate?

C: Everything that we are facing and the main topic in the news is if she enjoys masturbating? You’ve got to be kidding me. As long as she isn’t saying she will introduce legislation to ban self-pleasuring I don’t care what her personal religious beliefs are. My religious beliefs are that masturbation is a great way to raise fertility energy for my seedlings. I’m sure the same people who are mocking O’Donnell for not masturbating for religious reasons would mock me for masturbating for religious reasons. I thought it would bother the Tea Party. Some of them find it funny, some of them approve of her views on masturbation, but over all, they don’t appear to care.

D: I don’t care if she hasn’t ever jacked off or does it every day before eating her Wheaties.

.

P+p: A video has come to light talking about how O’Donnell “dabbled” in witchcraft. What are your thoughts on that? Will this hurt her chances for election?

C: What chance for election? I don’t think she will be elected.

I don’t like how she calls it “dabbling.” That’s my religion you are talking about. What I have enjoyed even less is the Left going after her for this. Should being a witch or “dabbling” in witchcraft make you unelectable? Is it a sign that you are mentally unstable? A joke? Progressive friends and co-workers, not knowing that I’m a witch, have had the most appalling things to say about O’Donnell and witches. It’s very hurtful to hear. The GOP Party leaders are also attacking her over this. Within the Tea Party, the response what I should be seeing from the Left. Some are questioning her fitness, but the consensus response is now, “Religious attacks are not allowed here and her religious beliefs are none of our business. Take it outside.” I’m curious how other Tea Party groups are responding to this. Are they laughing at her? Condemning her for devil worshiping? If any of your readers knows this, I would like to know.

D: I think she will surprise the ruling classes when she wins. She is behind in the polls, but we are energized to vote and we will show up to vote. I don’t think the Democrats will come out in heavy numbers.

If this witchcraft admission affects her or not depends on how she handles it. I would like her to come out and explain what happened, not denigrate witchcraft, and then move on. If it was some guy who wanted to get into her pants, that’s what I think happened, she should say so. Ideally she would talk about the difference between Paganism and 1980′s and 90′s style Plagans. I doubt that will happen. A mage can dream, right?

I haven’t seen anyone in the Tea Party throw a fit like they have in the media. When people make fun of her for dabbling in witchcraft they are making fun of us. I’m seeing Pagans do that, too. They are so interested in making a Republican candidate look bad that they are willing to hurt our own path. But no, I’m not seeing the Tea Party get too upset over this. They are saying that it doesn’t matter and is an attempted distraction, don’t fall for it.

.

P+p: Thank you for answering my questions. I have a final one – will you be voting for O’Donnell?

C: No. I don’t think I will be voting for the Democratic candidate, either. He is not a Democrat. I may be sitting this vote out.
D: Barring something earth shattering, I will vote for O’Donnell.

(edited for formatting)