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The case for a 100% Democratic vote

I have put a more complete argument for why I think Pagans should vote 100% democratic up on my personal blog.  Here at Witches and Pagans I compress it only to the issue of women and the feminine.  In reality that should be enough.  My basic point is not that the Democrats are awesomely good. In almost every case they are not.  It is that their opponents are awesomely bad, in every case.

                         The War on Women and the Feminine

  Pagan spirituality in almost all its forms praises feminine values, usually in through a Goddess.  The Republican Party has demonstrated over and over again that even during times of high unemployment, attacking anything that empowers women takes precedence over all other issues with the possible exception of increasing the wealth of the 1%.  Most of my readers will know of the recent comments by Todd Akin that women when raped cannot get pregnant along with Richard Mourdock’s ‘insight’ that when they do get pregnant from rape, it’s God’s gift. (Theological coherence is not a right wing trait.)

The Republican and right wing attack on a woman’s right to choose whether to be a mother when she finds herself pregnant is of long standing.  But this past year it has broadened enormously and ominously to assault anything that empowers women except as obedient servants to right wing values.


• The Republican controlled House passed a bill with overwhelming Republican support that would allow hospitals to let pregnant women die rather than give them an abortion if they thought it a matter of ‘conscience.’ 

  The Republican Party and its theocratic allies, Catholic and Protestant alike, are now attacking contraception. Contraception causes no abortions and gives women control over their lives more than any other single development in human history. Honest conservatives (there are a few, and I respect them) admit as much

  This attack on contraception is relentless and implacable even though abortion rates drop when birth control is easy to get.   Pregnant women should die if their doctor dislikes abortion, but women should not have free access to contraceptives.  Nothing proves more clearly than this that these people are in no sense ‘pro-life.’ It is a marketing label with as much depth of commitment as any of Mitt Romney’s many promises.

  Republicans argue women who have abortions should face criminal charges.  Some might dodge the issue, but this conclusion grows out of their arguments and some have made the implications explicit.

  Republican legislators have intervened into women’s relations with their doctors, forcing doctors by law to perform unnecessary vaginal probes of women seeking legal abortions. Far from wanting small government, they want theocratic domination over every woman in the country.  As a start

  The Republicans and their religious right allies lie and lie and lie regarding giving people medical information about abortion and other issues specific to women.

  The religious right and their Republican allies fought administering the HPV vaccine that reduces a woman's chances of getting cervical cancer.  If it were administered they argued more young women would have sex which was apparently worse than their getting cancer.. For them, better women dead than independent or powerful. 

  Republican dominated states with strong antiabortion laws provide less funding per child for foster care, smaller stipends for parents who adopt children with special needs, and smaller payments for poor women with dependent children than do states with strong abortion rights laws. In 1999 Louisiana had America’s strongest anti-abortion laws and spent $603 annually for each poor child. Liberal and Democratic Hawaii spent $4,648. 

  Nearly half the states with the strongest antiabortion laws did not make it a crime, for a third party to kill a fetus of any gestational age so long as a deliberate abortion was not the reason.  But six of the strongest antiabortion states that do not criminalize fetal battering prosecute women for prenatal drug use.

  They have sought to cut funding of the Violence Against Women Act 

  The Vatican whose agents enthusiastically support Republicans argues that ordination of women is a crime on par with sexual abuse by their priests. 

There is a pattern here that only someone in deep denial could miss: an attack on women as independent and self-governing beings and an attack on feminine values, especially spiritually.  In their place they praise “manliness,” which involves talking tough, never serving the country, and debasing being a strong man to, as Neoconservative Harvey Mansfield put it, “the claim to protect is the claim to rule.  How can I protect you properly if I can’t tell you what to do?”  Michael Ledeen, another Neoconservative supporter of Romney’s, says Americans “must not be left to our own devices.  We must be forced or, under ideal circumstances, convinced or inspired to do good.”   The religious right agrees. Right wing theologian Bruce Ware tells us "it's true that in the Trinity itself--in the eternal relationships of Father, Son and Spirit, there is authority and submission, and the Son eternally submits to the will of the Father--if that's true, then this follows: It is as Godlike to submit to rightful authority with joy and gladness as it is Godlike to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority."

Be they secular or religious, the 'manliness' of the Republican right is the ethics of a baboon troop. They debase men as much as they seek to dis-empower women, all in worship to whatever form of domination appeals to them.

This is one of the biggest differences between even corporatist Democrats like Barack Obama and his Republican opponents, and it is great enough that I cannot imagine any informed Pagan voting for Romney and his enablers.


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Gus diZerega DiZerega combines a formal academic training in Political Science with decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing. He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, studied closely with Timothy White who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and also studied Brazilian Umbanda  for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva.

DiZerega holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, has taught and lectured in the US and internationally, and has organized international academic meetings.

His newest book is "Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine (Quest, 2013) received a 'silver' award by the Association of Independent Publishers for 2014. It puts both modern Pagan religion and the current cultural and political crisis in the US into historical context, and shows how they are connected.

His first book on Pagan subjects, "Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience," won the Best Nonfiction of 2001 award from  The Coalition of Visionary Resources. 

His second,"Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and a Christian in Dialogue" is what it sounds like. He coauthored it with Philip Johnson. DiZerega particularly like his discussion of polytheism in Burning Times, which in his view is an advance over the discussion in Pagans and Christians.

His third volume, "Faultlines: The Sixties, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine," was published in 2013 and won a Silver award from the Association of Independent Publishers in 2014. The subject is obvious, and places it, and the rise of goddess oriented spiritual movements and our "cold civil war" in historical context.

His pen and ink artwork supported his academic research in graduate school and frequently appeared in Shaman’s Drum, and the ecological journals Wild Earth, and The Trumpeter. It now occasionally appears in this blog.


  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler Saturday, 27 October 2012

    Dear Gus,
    Very nice blog. It is getting very tiring fighting the women's issue debate over and over again. The Repulsicans are trying to take away the right for a women to have a say over her my own destine and body. I thought we got this straighten out a few decades ago. Guess not.
    As Tina Fey said, "And if I have to listen to one more grey-faced man with a $2 haircut explain to me what rape is, I'm going to lose my mind!"
    Your new book sounds great!!

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Saturday, 27 October 2012

    Thanks Constance. It should be out the latter half of 2013.

  • David Polllard
    David Polllard Sunday, 28 October 2012

    Your essay makes great sense for people living in the ten or so hotly contested states. However, for those of us living in the other 40, where the electoral college vote is a foregone conclusion, voting for 3rd Party candidates like Gary Johnson, or (my choice) Jill Stein can send a message that the delegitimization for non-corporate voices is unacceptable.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Sunday, 28 October 2012

    True enough for the vote for President, but not for down ticket, not unless you are completely certain the Democrats will win those as well. But note the irony - at that point the message sent is sent only because it can be ignored.

    Frankly, I am unimpressed with third parties as amounting to anything but ego trips for candidates and tools for the main party farthest removed from their position UNTIL they begin seriously campaigning for majority vote elections instead of plurality vote ones as we have now. Then it would be reasonable to vote for a third party and send a genuine message because if no one gets a majority there can be a run off, and if a third party gets enough it can displace one of the main parties in the run off and perhaps win. With majority vote elections we would not throw our vote away or help the party we like least by voting for a third party. Serious third parties in states with initiatives should put such initiatives on the ballot, and that none have done so tells me they are in it only for ego and theater.

  • David Polllard
    David Polllard Sunday, 28 October 2012

    The ego issues I've noticed before, and is particularly a problem where dealing with "self-funded" candidates.
    The problem is, at least here where I am in Texas, the Democrats often fail to run candidates for office - this is not a local office issue, but even on many of the *state-wide* offices. Leaving a choice of voting for what is essentially a Christo-fascist, or a third party candidate. (I'm not using the fascist term lightly here. At this year's state Republican convention Rick Perry was getting roundly booed for his "liberal" policy statements.)

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Sunday, 28 October 2012

    I wish I had light to shed regarding Texas, but all I can offer is my sympathy!
    Alas, my arguments carry no weight when there is no Democrat to vote for.

  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills Sunday, 28 October 2012

    Great points and many thanks for all the links! As an aside, I'm glad to see posts on here arguing for both Democrats and Republicans, but I've always thought BBI Media does a good job presenting various viewpoints in their publications!

    I agree that this election is important in light of how women and our rights have been underfire by the extreme right. I really hope the Republican moderates can take the lead in their party eventually.

    I also hope men can understand how damaging it is for them to have only one concept of "manliness" as these right wing folks do and see that supporting women's rights in this election makes sense.

  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven Monday, 29 October 2012

    Emily: thanks for your compliments; BBI tries very hard a) not to wear our personal politics on our sleeve and b) to offer all well-reasoned arguments. For my take on the subject of Republican moderates, feel free to check out my (rather overlong) comment at GOPagans' recent post.

  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills Wednesday, 31 October 2012

    Thanks! The wide variety of coverage has kept me as a reader!

    Also, thanks for the heads up on the Republican column. I checked it out and enjoyed your commentary on the issue. I tend to vote across party lines, depending on who seems best for my community.

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