It’s 2012. That means it’s an election year. As many of you are probably aware, the politics and media frenzy have already swung into top gear. Frankly, I’m a little tired of it–it’s been a media obsession since February–but I read the paper online daily and all the discussion and speculation on the election has brought me to a speculation of my own.
What if we had a Pagan president?
What would this person be like? What would their policies be? How would they handle conflict and foreign and domestic affairs?
Obviously, I can only speculate with generalizations from Pagan belief, since there are so many varieties of Pagan and a president could come from any one of those varieties. But I think I can come up with a fairly decent idea of what a Pagan president would be like.
To start: a Pagan president is more likely to be female rather than male. Not because there are few to no men in the Pagan traditions, but because there just happen to be a lot more women attracted to the paths. There are actually a good number of men involved in Paganism to some degree, but women still outnumber men. A PP is also more likely to be middle-aged or older, as there are higher numbers of those age groups currently, though the younger demographic in Paganism is rather large and certainly growing fairly rapidly. Still, I think many Pagans still fall in the categories of middle aged or older.
This would be a refreshing change for the White House. Imagine, a woman running things instead of a man. What a novel and attractive idea!
I also think a Pagan president is far less likely to pander or bow to demands from the uber-Christian segment. One of the main ideas (as far as I can tell) of many Pagan traditions is respect for others and for other religious beliefs. This means that a Pagan president (for brevity, now abbreviated to PP) is more likely to want to balance opposing ideas and not skew too far in favor of any one religion, including their own.
A president represents an entire nation. A president, therefore, will at times have to act against his or her conscience or personal beliefs in order to do what is right for the country. A president should put the peoples’ needs before his or her own beliefs. While I think it is good that a president has some kind of belief system, I don’t necessarily think a good president should govern based solely on personal beliefs, especially in this country. There are just too many divergent beliefs and religious systems for any one system to be best to advise them all.
OK, back to qualities. I think a PP would definitely do their best to enact environmental reform. Nature is too large a part of so many Pagan traditions for a PP candidate to not attempt to protect the environment. This quality comes not only from Paganism but from many other belief systems, so I don’t see this one as Pagan-exclusive. It’s just more likely that a PP would enact such reforms. These would probably include efforts to rebuild forests, cut down pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, research and development initiatives for alternate means of transportation to decrease the oil consumption, protection of endangered and threatened species, etc.
Many Pagan traditions also have a respect for life. This makes it more likely that war would be the second or even third option, not the first, when dealing with “threats” to the country. However, I also know many Pagans who say they won’t hesitate to defend themselves or their families if they are attacked. A president basically has the entire country as their temporary family upon taking office–so this issue could potentially go either way. My personal thought is that a PP would err more on the side of diplomacy first, attack second, but if someone attacks first…it’s difficult to say, really.
Hmm, what else… I think a PP would support freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to good medical care. I’m not even going to speculate on the abortion debate–I’ve seen Pagans go both ways on the issue, and I don’t think anyone can generalize that one or say which way Pagans are most likely to lean. So no comment on that one. I believe many Pagans would support gay marriage, so a PP would be more likely to support gay marriage–but not necessarily a Constitutional change to support it. As I understand it, marriage is a state issue, not a federal issue, and marriage is not federally mandated. It’s taxed through the state, not the federal, government. But I believe that if we define something as a right for one segment of society, then it is a right that must, by definition, be applied to all segments of society. I think a number–half or more–of Pagans support gay marriage, so either way you look at it, a PP is more likely to support it than not.
So basically, a PP is more likely to be a middle-aged or older female, supportive of environmental reform, gay marriage, healthcare rights, and religious freedom, and more likely to be diplomatic rather than jump to warfare unless there is a need for conflict.
This is probably a stupid post, but ah, well, what can I say. I was just thinking about what a Pagan president would be like and decided to write my thoughts down, despite the high number of generalizations. It probably doesn’t help that I’m exhausted at the moment from work. Well, hope you enjoyed!