Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the Gods?
So opens Bonnie Tyler’s song “Holding Out For a Hero” and to be completely honest, in today’s crazy times it is an appropriate question (though I would ask ‘where have all the good people gone?’). During the early- and mid-1980s, the Pagan community lived through the uncertain times of the Satanic Panic. Fueled by a new rise of ultra-zealous “Christian” preachers shouting at new members of their radio- and tv-airwave congregations, every individual practicing a belief system not recognized under the Big Five (Christianity, Judaism, the Muslim faith, Hinduism and Buddhism) were considered to be “Satanic” and dangerous to the minds and well-being of its adherents. Jobs were lost, reputations trashed beyond repair, and children were taken from their parents – all because of individuals praying to Gods other than those prescribed by the Big Five.
I lived through those times. I was in a more protected environment, known as the United States military. But I got a front row seat to watch my friends in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth metro-mess have their families torn apart, lose their jobs, and have to justify their every action to Child Welfare Protection. Sometimes those explanations were not enough, no matter how hard they tried. There would be no fair shake in that deal. Children, afraid of being separated from their parents chose to leave the home and hide in the safety of familial friends. Yes, children ran away from the home so that they would not be placed into the terrible foster-care system that Texas had at that time (and arguably still has to this day). Heroes were few and far between during those times. Over time, the “Christian” agitators were discredited as the paragons of virtue that they claimed to be. And later, their claims would be laid to the side as measures of using fear to keep people in a panic. Fear is a strong controller.
After a time, people stopped caring what faith you belonged to, and kept to their own business, for the most part. Soon after, people started to pay attention to who you loved. And we have fought this particular battle hard and long. Many of the same Christian agitators from before have arrived again – continuing to spew their versions of hate and fear. Proclaiming that differences between people are reasons to avoid others, to treat them differently. We need a hero…
I find it quite interesting that certain types of people find comfort in coming out of the shadows, depending on who is President – at least here in the United States. When President Obama was in the position, people had no issues about coming out and being who they are…openly. Now, with President Trump in the position, many of the people who peddle hate and fear have started to come to the forefront and display their wares for sale. Yes, for sale. Think about how much money has gone into buying those moronic red hats. All so that one can be readily identifiable as part of “those people” without saying a single word. Without changing a single one of my personal values, I could wear one of those hats, and find myself no longer a target of the bile spewed from that side. Instead, I’ll find myself catching nine kinds of special hate and hell from those on the other side. All over a fucking hat. Really. We’ve become street gangs, fighting one another over the color of our clothing.
Do we need to fight this fight? Of course, we do. Everyone has the right – Constitutional and otherwise – to love who they choose, how many they choose, and in the manner that they choose, all in consideration that all parties are agreed and consenting. I do not need to be involved in your relationship or sexual habits unless you invite me in, and I choose to accept. In a country that is founded on the ideals of human freedoms, I cannot fathom why the citizenry needs to be worried about what happens sexually in the walls of your home between consenting adults.
But the sex side of things is only one part of the overall fight. People need to be able to practice whatever Spiritual beliefs that they have because that is part of being a free human being: believing what you believe. Sure, be a foaming-at-the-mouth fundamentalist Christian. Come preaching your beliefs at my door. Don’t be offended when I politely say ‘no thanks.’ Don’t be freaked out when I come out into my front yard ready to take your life if you happen to decide that throwing a brick through my window is an appropriate response or burning a cross in my front yard seems like a good idea. I have the fundamental right to protect myself and my property under whatever means possible. And were I dumb enough to do the same to your home because you decided to reject my overtures to be a follower of Crow or Coyote…I’d expect you to do the same. Otherwise, we can agree to disagree – and find another basis to be friendly to one another.
We need a hero. That hero isn’t going to win the fight in the streets or in the courtrooms or in the hearts of others. Those heroes are going to be the folks that will be there when the fight is done, helping to heal the rifts that widen further and further in our society, as our politicians plan their way to exploit the law-making functions of this country to force their narrow concepts of love and morality on us all. We are going to need those Spiritual medics when all the fighting is done, which it hasn’t even really started yet. I’m holding out for these kinds of heroes…because we all live together on this ball of dirt zooming through space. And there are far bigger problems that will need our attention very soon, some would argue that the time is right now. Yes, we definitely need some heroes…