[EDITED: As I sat through the day I realized that this post – hastily pounded out as soon as I woke up this morning – didn’t really convey everything I wanted it to. It has been edited from its original form. The changes are in blue, lest anyone accuse me of “covering my tracks”.
Like most people raised in this society (there are other societies that suffer this problem, but I can’t speak to them in the same way), my brain is contaminated with the idea of the End Times. Some day – and probably soon! – there will be an epic struggle to determine the fate of the universe: the Y2K Bug; the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; 2012 and the Mayan Calendar; whites becoming a racial minority; the Islamic fundamentalist takeover of the world. A guy I knew in high school had been “assured” by his “spirit guides” that there would be a race war in 2013. My own delusions of the Apocalypse always revolved around a battle between the One God and the Old Gods – or their followers, at least. I don’t believe this any more – consciously, at least – but I’ve spent too many hours contemplating this and other end-time scenarios to wholly resist the power of the meme.
Now we have the New Apostolic Reformation, which is flatly declaring war not just against the followers of the the Old Gods, but against everyone who opposes their uniquely American Protestant Free-Market-Is-The-Hand-Of-God Capitalism. (No, I won’t link to them directly. I can’t handle the troop-carriers of trolls that might unleash. Use yer Google.) Some pagans – and not just our own troll-warriors – are talking about fighting back. Others are framing themselves as conscientious objectors. This situation takes me uncomfortably back to the age of eighteen – except that back then I would not have hesitated to join the fray.
Politically, I’m a pacifist: I don’t believe that there is any justification for two groups of people to line up and do violence against one another. Personally, though, I’m a believer in self-defense: if you come at me swinging, I’ll duck, dodge, hit you with a fucking chair until I can run away, then destroy you from a distance (I am a Scorpio, after all). So … I’m sympathetic to both sides of the argument.
But … Allison Leigh Lilly, in particular, makes a lot of good points. There’s a lot of creepy nationalism in the idea of nominating any deity as the God of American Freedom; choosing Columbia or Zeus over Jesus and Jehovah … doesn’t really impress me any. The eliminationist language on both sides makes me uncomfortable. Further, the DC40 campaign does not parallel with either scenario above: it is neither a direct person-to-person attack against me, nor a move by one state against another. I don’t want the NAR/Third Wave to curl up and die; I just want them to go away and let me live my life somewhere else. And they don’t necessarily want me to die: they’ll settle for a theocratic state that subjugates me to third-class citizenship, or perhaps outright slavery. The DC40 campaign is maleficent magic aimed at motivating lawmakers to do their dirty work for them.
Fortunately, magic gives us options that are more nuanced that “let them hit me, run away, or hit them back”. We can shield ourselves – build a magical bunker, if you will. We can try to bind our enemies from doing us harm. We can do our own enlightenment-bombing of the Capital … or even the NAR, themselves (problematic, but better than trying to give anybody cancer).
Unfortunately, I’m about to leave behind my base of power. I’m not just leaving Aradia and our space where we’ve built up so much power. I’m not just leaving Pasiphae and Aidan, with whom we’ve worked with for much of the last two years, and Chirotus and D – with whom I disagree about more and more, but who I think I could convince to work with me on this one – and the KU Cauldron and all the other local groups and places of power I’ve worked with for most of my life.
I’m leaving the entire state of Missouri for a city and state where I have no relationship to the land or its people. I’m going to be rebuilding from scratch. My altar may not be able to make the move at all; at best I’m going to be able to pack bits and pieces.
Working alone. With no relationship to the land. With half my stored power left behind. Attending classes full time at a badass school (full of hardcore pacifist Quakers, I might add) which will consume more time and energy than I can really imagine at this stage (and be the magical equivalent of trying to build a ballista atop a sinkhole).
What is morally right? What is tactically feasible? What is the best long-term strategy? What are the odds that the answers to these questions are the same course of action?
What can I do? What should I do?
The answers: I don’t have them.