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So there have been several classes of reaction to the election on LIveJournal today. One class, into which I firmly fall, is heartbroken and angry, and is thinking seriously of leaving the country.

The second class says "what? Don't tell me you were surprised?"

To them I say no, I wasn't surprised. I've been very unhappy with the direction this country is going pretty much since I was capable of analyzing it. This election was my one last hope, that those who believe as I do would rise up and take the country back. I only hoped - but even only hopes can be dashed into shards of broken glass.

The third class is as angry and upset as the first, but they say to stand and fight, and rain bitter words on those of us who want to run away.

You know what? I wish I had the heart to keep fighting. And I cheer on those who do. But I'm done. I've got my own life to live. In the end, I put my trust in myself - not in my god, not in my country, not even in my fellow men. In myself. And I have to do what's best for myself first. This means getting myself to an environment where I can accomplish my will without anyone taking it away from me. And if you don't like those priorities - fuck you very much.

Oh, and I'm sure there are also those of you who are scoffing at the notion that there's anything to be afraid of. And to them I point out that I am a bisexual, polyamorous, Libertarian, ceremonial sex magician. I'm planning on having children soon. In the last four years people have had their children taken away from them for being pagan, for being poly, for living any form of 'alternate lifestyle' you can name. And they've been arrested, kept in jail without a lawyer, harassed and monitored. Women's reproductive rights have been set back twenty years. The country as a whole has become polarized to the extreme, and rubber bands stretched too far don't just come bouncing back. They break. And hurt people in the process.

I've listened and read and talked to conservatives in recent years, leading all the way up to this election. I've tried to understand their point of view, at least get some idea where they're coming from. And I have failed at every turn. I don't see any way to even have a debate with them, and trying simply makes me angry and frustrated to the point where if I keep it up, I will destroy myself.

Keep in mind that I'd be happy to just disagree with them if they were willing to let me live my life in peace. But I don't believe they are. And rather than standing my ground to let the bully smash his fist in my face again and again, yes, I will run away. If I have anything to contribute to this fight, it's in the words and images I create. And those I will create, but from a safe distance, so I can be reasonably sure that I can keep on creating them.

Finally, a practical note. I realize it's difficult to emigrate, and a long, expensive process. It may not be possible for me to leave for a few years, and in that time it's possible, just barely, that the country will turn around and prove me wrong. I pray fervently that I am proved wrong.

So. If you still think poorly of me for having those priorities, that's your call. But I humbly point out that you have bigger battles to fight than to pick on those who essentially agree with you.

And in the meantime, I have a life to live.


Nov. 3rd, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC)
"In the last four years people have had their children taken away from them for being pagan, for being poly, for living any form of 'alternate lifestyle' you can name. And they've been arrested, kept in jail without a lawyer, harassed and monitored."

I have not heard about any of this. Can you point me to some examples? I'd like to think the ACLU would be all over that sort of thing.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 03:53 pm (UTC)
I can think of one that I know about. It involved child coustody in a nasty divorce. The judge ordered that the child would not be exposed to paganism (I don't remember which flavor). When asked about freedom of religion, the judge responded with paganism is not a religion.

Yes the ACLU was contacted, but the ACLU does not get involved in divorce cases. Something I can actually understand, there is too much invested in them that does not matter to the ACLU.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 04:02 pm (UTC)
The basic problem is that all divorce cases are basically a swamp of irrationality and stupidity, especially ones that involve children. I wouldn't be surprised to find court cases where children were taken away from one parent for the stupidest reasons and awarded to the other parent--including cases where one parent was not religious enough, or too religious, or insisted on wearing too much pink.

Divorce cases are always inevitably complete messes and complete fuck-ups--and so, in my mind, don't count.

Now if someone has an example of a child being taken away by the state and assigned to child protective services because the parents were into something that was socially unacceptable--well, then I'd say you're probably reporting cases in Florida, where the Department of Child Protective Services there was completely out of control. But it's not a trend nor a conservative conspiracy; it's stupid people doing stupid things who really need to have a clue stick applied to the side of their heads.

Remember: Freedom and Democracy does not mean all your neighbors, friends, co-workers, acquantances and fellow human beings are rational, reasonable, or nice. It only means that you have the right to sue them into the ground if they do something stupid, irrational or unreasonable to you.

Except in divorce cases, where all I can say is "you picked the son-of-a-bitch."
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 3rd, 2004 08:29 pm (UTC)
Get a clue. Sometimes the person you married has cleverly hidden some traits. Sometimes the person you married changes for the worse. To deny somebody a right to their children for being pagan -- even in a divorce -- is unacceptable.
I just love it when people read between the lines, and who are so concerned with their agenda they don't realize that perhaps that is not what the other person said.

First, let me be clear.

I never said someone should deny anyone the right to their children because they are pagan.

What I said was:

The divorce court system in this country is broken. My examples should have established this. (Or did you skip the part about wearing too much pink? You don't think I'm talking about the First Neo-Pagan Church of the Pink Clothing, do you?)

The problem is because things are entirely fucked up when it comes to divorce (I'm watching two co-workers go through divorces now), pretty much the only thing that can be said is "you picked the son-of-a-bitch"--because given the complete arbitrary randomness of the court, you're pretty much screwed. Even if you win.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 4th, 2004 08:29 am (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. You had also said, "Divorce cases are always inevitably complete messes and complete fuck-ups--and so, in my mind, don't count."

You have completely missed my point entirely, which is this:

My discussion was phrased in the context of the fear that the greater society is attempting to impose it's collective (christian) values upon people against their will. When I said "divorce cases...don't count", what I mean is that as all divorce cases wind up being settled in rather caprecious, arbitrary and random ways, it does not count in the sense that it represents the overall society attempting to impose it's christian values upon pagans and neo-pagans.

I am in no way denegrating those who go through divorce as individuals who somehow "don't count." Such a reading is not only clearly not my intent, but places me in the worse possible light.

I'm not being granted the benefit of the doubt here.

Such a reading either demonstrates an attachment to the intellectual mis-reading that you have made (assuming I'm talking about individuals not counting, when I'm really talking about it not counting towards an example of the larger society "legislating" morality), or an attachment due to either being directly or indirectly involved in such a case.

I cannot think of another possible explanation that would suggest that my original statement (regarding overall society's attempts--or lack thereof--to legislate morality) would be mis-read in such a negative manner that two people would believe that somehow I need to be "educated" or "shown" anything.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 07:49 pm (UTC)
Except in divorce cases, where all I can say is "you picked the son-of-a-bitch."
On that comment I must assume you have never had to sit through a domestic violence hearing. The worst of the worst are usually cons capable of painting pictures that no one could possibly resist falling for. BTDT. Have the scars, minus $33K. I would love to have my 3.5 years back, AND my $33K (he promised to pay, which of course means I haven't seen one dime), but I got Thelema out of the deal -- so here I sit having done my BA in 28 months and now working on my MA, hopefully a little closer to enlightenment, while he lives in his buddy's basement. Nobody "picks" an SOB because they are an SOB. People pick SOBs because they are blinded by the chrome plated bullshit. Platinum is "too good to be true", but chrome is not so easily seen through.

Yeah, I fell prey to the machine of my enculturation and really believed "you just haven't found the right one yet" for years before I started thinking maybe it was a tree problem.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 08:38 pm (UTC)
(A) I'm sorry you are going through what you are going through. However,

(B) Please do not project the problems you are going through onto other people, including myself. For my clarification to another person, please see my other comment.

Finally (C), let me note that many people pick those who are badly suited for us because our attraction betray us. There were probably plenty of people who passed you buy who you were either not attracted to or unwilling to approach, at some level believing they were too "nice" or too "unapproachable."

Hell; I've been there, done that, bought the whole fucking wardrobe of t-shirts.

I'd love to say something pithy or wise which would help your problem--but there is absolutely nothing I can say, even expressions of sympathy, which will mean squat. All I'll note is that it's probably best to seek council or at least someone to talk to who will try to listen and help you rather than reinforce your situation.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 10:48 pm (UTC)
so you have proven that you did not read all of my reply accurately -- the situation is past, over. It has in fact been over since I was a Miverval (dead now for more than two years due to college costs). What is it that I am going through? Shall I feel tortured because there's a guy who can't find anyone new to con and thus lives in his friend's basement, or shall I feel tortured because while he sits there making no progress at all -- I have surmounted the whole thing -- paid off bills, done my BA and am nearly finished with my MA.

Are you sorry to hear that I "got" Thelema out of the gig? Feel free to contact me directly. I am really not sure what part of "what [I am] going through" I should be unhappy about. I am very happy to be a single graduate student.

All I am saying is that perhaps you don't see the semantic impact because you may have never had to witness such a thing unfold in your own life. I simply think that something more akin to "bummer you didn't see the real [him/her] until it was too late" would be much more appropriate than telling someone that they are the one who picked the SOB.

It's kinda like telling a sick person that you "understand" rather than "can imagine". Understand implies that you have been in terribly similar situations. "Can imagine" implies that the notion MUST by left to imagination because you have nothing upon which to base your judgment, no common experiences.
Nov. 4th, 2004 12:02 am (UTC)
It's kinda like telling a sick person that you "understand" rather than "can imagine".
With all due respect, you seem to have a rather large chip on your shoulder to assume that I can't possible "understand" or "imagine" or what-not, or to initially attack me based on a throw-away comment.

Regardless, I wish you peace. Goodbye.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 04:03 pm (UTC)
It took me five minutes online to find...
Nov. 3rd, 2004 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: It took me five minutes online to find...
You have linked to a copy of a lawsuit filed by one party against another without providing any additional information. What exactly from that document am I supposed to take as useful facts in analysis of the section of Heather's lines quoted in my original comment?

Now I'll buy that CPS are regularly a bunch of assholes and bigoted idiots, because I know they frequently are. But what you've linked to is hardly damning. Of course, I definitely can believe that you spent no more than five minutes searching, because in a similar amount of time, I was able to find a whole host of far more potentially useful, relevant and verifiable information concerning that case, starting with the 'About The Authors' section of this bit which actually provides context to the whole discussion. And at the very least, there is a claimed fact presented there: "DCF withdrew the fraudulent petition on December 18, 2002 admitting they had no evidence" which should be verifiable (or disprovable) through State of Connecticut court records, if one wished to look into it.

Furthermore, inside this initially rambling, disorganized and nearly unreadable at the beginning but slightly clearer toward the end recounting of the saga surrounding this case (as written by the mother), she quite clearly says "I NEVER lost my kids".

So, while I can understand your desire to locate and publicize instances of injustice which demonstrate that "[i]n the last four years people have had their children taken away from them for being pagan, for being poly, for living any form of 'alternate lifestyle' you can name. And they've been arrested, kept in jail without a lawyer, harassed and monitored", neither the link you've provided, nor the claimed facts of that case coming from the plaintiffs themselves seem match those concerns. The closest it comes is harassment and monitoring which are certainly bad, but clearly in this case children were never taken, no one was arrested or kept in jail without a lawyer. And even harassment and monitoring of minority populations by (as w3woody describes them) "stupid people doing stupid things" is certainly not anything new in the last 4 years.

So I guess I'm still asking after cases exemplifying Heather's expressed concerns.


firesea: self-portrait
Heather Keith Freeman
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