I will say that Lora O’Brien has done an awful lot of work in this area (Irish spirituality/ Irish paganism and politics) and she sums up a lot of her views here: https://youtu.be/mxPJILQrt8k. My own agree with the views expressed there but given some of the discussions given out on various pagan groups I’m a part of, I wanted to express them here.
I know the common “polite” and “mannerly” custom has been for decades not to discuss politics or religion in polite company. Well, I don’t claim to participate in polite company all that often and this blog is quite definitely religion- or at least spirituality – orientated. I’ll make no pretensions on that score. I will also say clearly (again) that my spirituality informs my politics and vice versa.
Do you remember the post a few months back on how to honour Brigid? And how prominently the causes I believe she supports featured in that post? Brig Ambue is an aspect of Brigid I find very attractive.
I’m a white, cishet, Irish woman who has also the privilege of a bloody good education, decent salary, good health care options, etc, etc, etc. I hold a lot of privilege in this world in general (and frankly, I consider being born on this island and being party to this culture as a privilege as well). I have a lot going for me. That doesn’t mean life hasn’t been hard – it’s been bloody hard at times. Really hard. But most of the time, me, my religious views, my political views, my gender, my sexual preferences, etc, etc have not been the issue (ok gender has been at times, but not most of the time).
Brigid works with me and part of that work is supporting the community and that means supporting some of those causes I mentioned above. Part of it is signal boosting. Part of it is monetary. Part of it is making myself very uncomfortable and using myself as examples of things that need to be made public. Part of it is writing posts like this to explain why politics and spirituality are interlinked. This is not my core skill, just saying, it’s definitely something I have to be pushed to do.
Part of my work is ensuring my political representatives know how I feel and how I want to be represented on particular issues. Part of my work is ensuring that people who are feeling unsafe and oppressed have the means to discuss that. (Fair warning: if you’re rich, white, able-bodied, straight, etc you’re not being oppressed. Trust me. If you disagree with that, I strongly suggest getting yourself some education about systemic privilege. Also – are you in the right place at all?)
That means that sometimes in my facebook groups, I post on US politics, because a lot of our members are US based. And in the last week, it has been a tense time in US politics. I’m not a Trump supporter. I think it a signal that what is meant to be the “greatest” nation on earth could elect such a leader. A bad signal, just in case you were wondering. Aside from his attitude to women (remember the “grab ’em by the pussy” comment????), his attitude to migrants, his attitude to health, his attitude to anyone who isn’t rich is absolutely disgusting. I think Trump has shown how there are many areas in the States that are feeling their rights being stripped from them. Whether these people are imagining this issue or not comes back to politics.
To me, a government’s role is to look after their people. Leaving people in food deserts is not looking after them. Leaving people in work deserts is not looking after them. Leaving people working 2+ jobs just to keep food on the table is not looking after them. Leaving people in such fear for their lives that they riot and face down armed police forces rather suffer for One. More. Minute. is not looking after them. It’s an important job to ensure all citizens and inhabitants have the means to feed, clothe and house themselves according to the standards of the day. ( I once heard a Republican politician state that since 99%+ of homes in the US have fridges, they can’t consider themselves in poverty. It was an interesting theory to say the least….) It’s equally important to enforce the rule of law, but to also ensure the law is fair and just.
Seriously, how could Brigid not be interested in this? How could any deity not care about their people and how they are looked after?
There are many comments coming up in pagan groups lately that they were hoping this was a politics free space. Our religion, our spirituality, cannot be separate from our politics. Politics is what deems which religions are ok to practice and which aren’t. Politics is what decrees what is ok to discriminate against and what isn’t. Not law. Politics. Politics tells us who is ok to punch down and who isn’t. Who is “acceptable” and “respectable” and who isn’t.
So, I will say again for those in the back: I believe Trump was a bad president for the majority of people in the US. I believe Biden isn’t great, but he is at least better than Trump. Mind you, one of the Halloween pumpkins and turnips might be better than Trump. Who you vote for, who you support politically, who you give your time, energy and money to all feed into your spirituality. There is a cognitive dissonance between practicing a spirituality so in tune with the needs of the community, the needs of the tuath, the needs of the people, and voting for a party that ignores all of that.
As I type, it looks like Biden has won the US presidential election, so I’ll be lighting a candle in thanksgiving to herself. I have no doubt that Trump has already started his legal campaign now, he has certainly already started his “election fraud” campaign, so there is still work to be done here. But the US presidential election is only the tip of the iceberg. And this translates to your own locality as well, US or not. Who are you voting for in your local elections? What elected officials are in your area? What are their views? Do you know who these people are who are meant to be working for you? Learn about how politics works in your locality so at least, come election day, you can make an informed choice regarding which box your X goes in.
For those suffering from the election season, there are a couple of threads in the Brigid’s Forge group on facebook to talk about what’s going on. I will say though that the group doesn’t allow bigotry, oppression etc. I run the group and my word is the final word. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you should know the things I support and allow. Here’s a link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318562765289760 I look forward to welcoming you there.