How I became a Geocon (or: True Tales of a Pagan Republican)
I’ve had a tough time deciding how seriously I should take my political party registration, and by extension which party to belong to. I wasn’t registered to any party at first (they called it “independent” in those days, but the advent of the Independence Party of America saw that changed to “unaffiliated” so inattentive voters wouldn’t register with that party by mistake. I’m thinking of forming an Unaffiliated Party, but I digress.), but I eventually joined the Green Party because of its unambiguous environmental agenda.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
Yes, the Green Party cares about the environment, but it spends a tremendous amount of energy on social justice issues, which I believe is an entirely separate agenda. I agree with the environmental agenda, but I’m a social conservative with libertarian streaks; when it comes to people I believe in individual freedom, which is in conflict with a lot of social-justice work. I remain convinced that the Green Party would be more effective if it focused on the beastly things we do to the planet and let another group focus on the beastly things we do to each other.
So that’s when I became a Republican.
It started out as a joke (like these things often do), but I came to realize some things about party politics.
A hyper-focused agenda doesn’t get a party any traction.
A political party’s views is a representation of its members, not the other way around.
Having more than one choice on Election Day is supposed to be the point.
In my home state, smaller parties fight for members by running major-party candidates on their lines. It’s the only way the system will let them play, and they’re stupid enough to think it benefits them. In my town, this means three or four lines for Town Supervisor, but only one name. It’s a Democratic town, and the Republicans have left the field.
My understanding of Republicans is informed by my late father (who wanted to legalize marijuana and kick George W Bush out of the party) and Teddy Roosevelt (who welcomed immigrants as long as they embraced America over their own culture, and started the National Park System). I’ve come to realize that “conservative” and “conservation” come from the same word, and that wanting to save the Earth isn’t actually a very liberal idea at all.
I like the idea of spending money to protect those without a voice, such as forests, deer, and children. I believe that money on programs for humans is a red herring, because I’d rather that money be in my own pocket so I can decide how to spend it, thanks. Put the blank check I’m willing to write for education into something useful like teaching kids how to value the congealed energy that is money, and trust us to make our own decisions.
I believe in a transparent, simplified tax system that makes it very clear how much we’re spending to fund our government. Don’t hide it behind thousands of little taxes and fees, and don’t tax businesses. Business is just going to pass the cost on to me as a price increase; I would rather it all be wrapped up in one big tax bill so I can see what’s going to Uncle Sam and what’s not. Systems like the value added tax hide the true cost of government.
I call myself a Geocon because I’m a conservative Pagan Republican. Conservation of our natural and human resources (kids) will protect our future, preserve our economy, and keep the United States a strong and relevant nation. There are plenty of Pagan Democrats, but Pagan Republicans should not be restricted to people who “cling to their guns and their religion.”