Goddess Bless America

(or, "Check your religion at the door?")

I'll explain this in a bit.

Who would have thought that my initial page would have been initiated by the destruction of the New York World Trade Towers? Certainly not I. I imagined something much less literally Earth-shattering and benign. But that's not what I got.

For those of you who know me, you are aware of the many trials and tribulations I have endured over the last three years -- three years which, by most reckonings, should have been kick-ass, over the top, rock-and-blasted-roll years.

By contrast, 1984 was a really, really good year.

Some day, I may decide to put my life story up here. But not today.

Today, I'm going to address something that's been bandied about the world in lurid detail for the last week. It's a purely personal take on it, as are most. Everyone's got an opinion, nobody wants to look at the other guy's.

Now, then: I've had some problems. Between being directly missiled by the (lack of the) technical market, having been mined by the aftermath of interdependent co-atrophy, being told in no uncertain terms by everyone close to me that I am their problem, and having the bright light of the Deific presence in the Universe shone in my eyes (that deep booming voice saying "LICENCE AND REGISTRATION, PLEASE!" didn't help much, especially with no vehicle accompanying it), life has really really messed with my mellow in a serious way.

As a result, I watched the World Trade Center get run through by a hundred-ton missile with wings, flaps and a tail. Twice. And felt...nothing.

That's right. You read it here first. I felt nothing. I sat there, watched the flames shoot out of the buildings, watched the Towers implode upon themselves, and marveled at the physics of the entire process, thinking it bloody amazing that the towers didn't topple and take out many other buildings around them. It didn't even occur to me that there were people inside the buildings! It was just a bit too surreal for me to absorb.

Once I figured out that there were people in the building, I was incensed and offended, but not angry yet. It still didn't sink in for a while. I actually thought this might have been another domestic attack, because the World Trade Organization -- whom I thought to be related to the World Trade Center -- was not well-liked since it decided to grant open trade status to China, a prime offender against Human Rights, and also the Pentagon, long a favoured target of domestic military dissidents, at least in principle. I'm sure that some of the radical peace activists -- a contradiction in terms -- would have been happy to have done this kind of damage, modulo the cost of life. They probably would have done it when the buildings were not occupied. I found the symbolism interesting.

But when I heard that one plane was possibly headed for the White House, that kind of threw that thought out the window.

I went back to my job search, and a grain-of-rice bulb flickered for an instant. There was no point for doing this today, and probably not much point tomorrow, though I tried anyway. Local work is probably not going to be affected much.

Wednesday and Thursday were completely uneventful, outside of the fact that I started getting some nibbles on my resume.

Friday came. A very dear newfound friend++ had been fading into reclusion compared to some very intense discussions we'd been having only weeks before, and I was bewildered by this. Combine this with the fact that I'm still occupationally challenged, unsure by this time of who I am, why I am here and other totally seemingly superficial problems, and then drop the World Trade Center on top of all of that.

The light went on full blast. I lost my mellow. BIG time.

I found my stuff right quick, but it took me a couple of days to find the sock I was keeping it in.

Once I collected myself and my stuff and got it all back into the sock, something else came to my attention, and it's illustrated in my dear friend's weekly page -- which you can find here -- brought a very important thing to light. We may not agree with the policies of the government or the laws made by our congresscritters, but, by and large, this is still the best place to be on the planet. Considering how small the planet is, that's still saying something.

Over those couple of days, I kept hearing "God Bless America/The USA/The United States" all over the place, and I kept seeing mixed-faith vigils occurring -- and some racially-motivated killings by the Good Ol' Boys who are ALWAYS looking for justification for them, but that's another story -- and realised that the Pagan groups were conspicuously absent. Had I had my wits about me, I probably would have conjured something up and gone to one of these interfaith gigs, walked up, pentacle and all, and spoken my peace (piece? I can never keep it straight.). It probably would have gone something like this:

Good evening to all you good and kind and just people out there. Hi. I'm here to represent as best I can the conspicuously absent Pagan/Wiccan community. Before you all freak out and wonder what someone like me is doing up here, let me reassure you that I'm here for the same reasons you are -- to mourn and grieve not only those who died in this tragedy, but more importantly those who survived them.

The ones who died are gone. They have gone on to the next world, or will come back to this one, or whatever they chose to believe. But nothing can bring them back to this place and time. May they be at peace.

But the ones who live on, they are the ones who will have to continue in this life without their friends, without their family, without their loved ones. There are probably several of you here. I think the grieving for the loss of the living is the more apt term for what we're doing.

On going forward: Like you, I would like to see some resolution, some closure to all this. I stress to our leaders that careful consideration be given to any acts of retaliation before they are carried out. We cannot will-ye-nil-ye take out a country and hope we get the responsible parties. We will need to do this the hard way. There is no easy solution to this, because our war is not with another country over a couple of collapsed buildings.

The war is with other people, over hatred and intolerance. The really scary thing is that every day, we seem to want to fight intolerance and hatred with violence. This is completely counterproductive. If we aren't using intolerance, hatred and violence as weapons, we are likely using indifference and ignorance as weapons. One might as well go up against a swordsman with a sharpened loaf of Wonder bread.

Stand up against the hatred, against the ignorance, against the intolerance.

It has been said once:

"Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand,
Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand."

We cannot ever afford such frivolities as these, much less in times like this. It's the darkness. It's the void. And it's going to consume everyone who feeds it until it is all that is left of our world UNLESS we stand up and fight it. Not with guns or knives, or bombs, or violence. Educate people. Show them your tolerance. Show them your presence. Show them your love. Show them that this is only the first step, that they must show their own love and tolerance, and that they must persevere.

I would like to say Goddess Bless America. Because I can. We live in a nation based on the tenets of Tolerance, Faith, Love, Perseverence, Acceptance, REGARDLESS of what Faith we may choose to keep. Some of you out there are bristling at my statement. I can hear you from here. Smooth your hairs down, because I'm not here to insult you. Quite to the contrary, I am here in support. We must stand together, all of us. This great nation harbors many diverse interests, cultures, and faiths. It is the largest nation on the face of the planet to do so, in combination with all the other freedoms we happen to have and enjoy. In any other country, at least one of these cultures, interests or faiths would be repressed, and those who followed, persecuted. In this country, we seem to be the closest to upholding one of the primary Pagan/Wiccan tenets, which is, "An it harm none, do what thou will." In short, if it's not hurting anybody, there's no big deal about it. For the most part, short of the legal and corporate stupidity out there, and with a few exceptions, we seem to operate on this principle.

That said, may your respective Gods, Goddesses or other Divine Influences hold you in their hands and keep you safe from harm. I hold you all in high regard for the strength you have in your faith; I would hope that you will all look around at everyone and share that high regard with one another, because we're all playing on the same field here.

Bless America, and Blessed Be. Good night.

But you're reading it here because I just wrote it this evening.

May the Goddess watch over you, and may your respective Deities hold you from harm.

Bless America, and Blessed Be.

17 September 2001

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