Sep 032010

This post has very little to do with Paganism, and for that I apologize. But it is about political issues that Pagans went on and on about in the past, but now I just don’t hear much about anymore.  How did these issues drop off the Pagan radar?

Patriot Act: When the Patriot Act was streamrolled through Congress, there were some voices of dissent. Those voices were told to STFU in a pretty harsh manner and the majority of Americans were happy to trade their rights for the illusion of safety.  Very similar to how we traded in our rights to win the War on Drugs.  Both have been stunning successes.  (That’s gallows humor, if you are wondering)

As time went on, more and more people spoke out about this Act, people on the Left and people on the Right. (More on the Left than on the Right)  This reached a crescendo during the 2008 Presidential election. Repealing the Patriot Act was one of the reasons cited for why people voted for Obama.

Has the Patriot Act been repealed? No. It’s been extended and defended by the Obama Administration as a needed tool. But now the Patriot Act suddenly doesn’t matter. Where are the impassioned blog posts by Pagans about how Obama is an evil bastard for supporting the Patriot Act? How he is a fascist looking to create a police state and this is proof?

But there isn’t just silence on this issue. Oh no.

Military Tribunals: Right this very minute there is a military tribunal going on at GitMo. This tribunal is for a prisoner who was captured as a child, after his father forced him to fight starting when he was 9 years old.   In 2008 military tribunals were the worst thing ever.  2010…eh, what’s the big deal if we use it on victimized and kidnapped children?

GitMo, Due Process, Secret Foreign Prisons, Rendition: In 2008 the very concept of a place like GitMo was seen as a stain on our country’s honor. It had to close and close NOW! Except, it hasn’t. Even from those most adamant that it had to immediately close and Bush could have closed it when ever he wanted, I now read about how we have to patient and I’m sure it’s a pretty hard thing to do and we can trust Obama to do the right thing.

Not only that, but we opened another (larger) prison to indefinitely hold enemy combatants without charges in Afghanistan.

More than 600 detainees are held at the US Bagram Theatre Internment Facility – known by campaigners as “the other Guantanamo”. Not only are there no plans to close it, but it is in the process of being expanded to hold 1,100 illegal enemy combatants; prisoners who cannot see lawyers, have no trials and never see any evidence there may be against them.

Crickets are chirping regarding this.  And you don’t suppose, since the Obama Administration has “reserved the right” to use rendition, that a bit of “rough questioning” is being used on prisoners in Afghanistan?  Torture, denial of due process,  and secret prisons where people just disappear forever no longer seem to be much of a concern in the Pagan community.  Why?  Is it because about 75% of Pagans voted for our current President?  And since he’s on your team you’re going to overlook this?

I got to tell you, if you were a fan of Bush’s security, civil liberties, and war policies you have nothing to complain about with Obama. He has either continued or one-upped every Bush policy and act. So I find the criticism of Obama from some on the Right who were for these policies hypocritical. However, if you were an opponent of Bush’s policies, if the mere thought of rendition and warrantless wiretaps sent you into a frothing rage, why can’t Left-leaning Pagans muster up even mild irritation with Obama?

(Like a bad infomertical) But wait!  There’s more! More assaults on your civil liberties that you may not have heard about:

Law Enforcement in the USA are using full body scanning technology (like what airports are starting to use) in roving trucks to be able to look inside your vehicle as they drive by.  “It’s no surprise that governments and vendors are very enthusiastic about [the vans],” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). “But from a privacy perspective, it’s one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable.”

The police can also secretly place a tracking device on your car and they don’t need a warrant to do so.

There’s more, but I don’t want to depress myself.  But it would sure be great if more Pagans could get all fired up again like you were in past years.  You are still needed to fight the good fight.


Thanks to Michael (from the comments, below) for this.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) have filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s asserted authority to carry out “targeted killings” of U.S. citizens located far from any armed conflict zone.

The groups charge that authority contemplated by the Obama administration is far broader than what the Constitution and international law allow. Outside of armed conflict, both the Constitution and international law prohibit targeted killing except as a last resort to protect against concrete, specific, and imminent threats of death or serious physical injury. An extrajudicial killing policy under which names are added to CIA and military “kill lists” through a secret executive process and stay there for months at a time is plainly not limited to imminent threats.