Before he asked Pagan troops to fight overseas, and give their life for their country, then-Gov. George W. Bush told Good Morning America that he didn’t think the military should give Pagan servicemembers equal rights with servicemembers of other faiths:
“I don’t think witchcraft is a religion. I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made.”
Last night a handful of Witches, Pagans and a Hindu interviewed Gov. Gary Johnson, and it was a productive, pleasant experience. A liberal since before I could vote, this interview has convinced me that should Gov. Johnson make it to the primaries here in Georgia, he will have my vote and it’s likely he will have my vote in the general election should he make it that far. He’s like a Gary Cooper-esque character that has waltzed in from a Capra film and it’s a rather refreshing, if somewhat bizarre, turn of events in in the 2012 campaign.
My father was an elected local rep for the UAW at the Doraville GM plant for a single term. He eventually decided not to run again but he had a conversation with a union member he never forgot. A man pulled him aside at work to ask him about his position on an issue. My father explained his position and why he felt it was the best position. The man then told my father that he disagreed with him. In fact, he disagreed with my father on a lot of issues, he said. Yet he would vote for my father if he ran again, because he felt that my father was an honest decent man who always took time to discuss the issues facing the union. That fact that he was willing to listen to people who disagreed with him, and take the time to explain his positions to them, won over people who otherwise wouldn’t have voted for him. This story came to mind after speaking with Gov. Johnson because it explains why I support him.
I voted for Obama, but I’ve frankly been disappointed in him. His change didn’t really change that much. A lot of the issues I counted on him to affect when I cast my vote have either remained unchanged or gotten worse. He’s managed to effect some compromised healthcare reform and repealed DADT, which isn’t nothing but it’s hardly the FDR-level of change I was expecting. Everyone is upset, everyone is tired of the status quo and everyone wants change, but the candidates we keep seeing on tv are the Same Old Thing. That’s what makes Johnson so refreshing, and probably the reason mainstream media has completely shut him out.
Johnson will not lie to get your vote. Think about that. He told a gay activist in the that he wouldn’t vote for federal legislation to prevent workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians even though he believes it’s wrong to be fired due to sexual orientation. He told a group of Pagan journalists that although he thinks we need to keep researching green energy he believes the bulk of our focus should be on responsible local oil and coal. If he wanted our vote at any cost, he wouldn’t have told us that.
Johnson thinks you should vote for him if you like what he has to say. I asked him directly why a liberal should vote for him. He didn’t try to sell himself to me. He said if I liked what he had to say then he hoped I would vote for him. He didn’t tell me he was the best, the greatest, or that he was going to make my wildest dreams come true. He thinks voters are intelligent people and can make up their minds on the issues and the track records of the candidates without being told what to believe.
Johnson recognizes that the military has become overtly Christian and recognizes this is a problem. He told us (and I’m paraphrasing) that if there are religious minorities in the military, then there should be religious minority chaplains, or perhaps there should be no military chaplains.
Johnson is willing to listen to average citizens and explain his views to them. You can schedule a Google+ hangout and talk to Johnson yourself. None of the other Republican candidates are doing this. Can you seriously imagine Herman Cain sitting down to answer the questions of the Pagan Newswire Collective?
Johnson admits he’s made mistakes, along with talking about his successes. He doesn’t pretend he’s a political superman who has never made a misstep.
Johnson thinks government needs to stop regulating marriage. He thinks government should only issue civil unions regardless of the makeup of the union, and that marriage should be the domain of religion. Therefore, as a straight woman in Johnson’s view of government I and my male partner would file a civil union with the government, and seek out a spiritual union, or marriage, from our religious community. Gay and straight people would have legal domestic union equality in Johnson’s view.
Johnson represents real change. I’m not sold on the Fair Tax and some of the other stances Johnson holds, but I also know our country needs real change to survive. Johnson is a completely different kind of political animal and as president he’d represent a serious change from the status quo of the previous administration and current administration. Our country was founded on the idea of government as an experiment and the Founder’s of our country experimented with a lot of different forms of government on the local and state level before they created the government we have today. They were innovators and they never intended our government to become a static institution. I think Johnson’s innovative ideas are worth trying, because it’s obvious what we have now isn’t working.
Johnson may be the most religiously friendly candidate out there. It’s true that Johnson isn’t a member of the Religious Right, but he’s not anti-religion either. If you’re not an Evangelical Christian, Johnson may be the candidate who protects your best interests and stands for religious equality. I believe with all my heart after speaking with him that Johnson will treat Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Atheists, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Muslims, Jews and Sikhs with equal respect and consideration.
When Johnson says he can balance the budget and level the playing field, I believe him. I honestly believe he can effect deep, constructive and positive change if he’s elected. I may not agree entirely with his particulars, but I do think he’s a decent, honest man with a good deal of common sense. He’s the only candidate out there right now that I think could be safely turned loose with the executive power of the Oval Office and something truly positive could come from it.
Obama has hearkened back to Abraham Lincoln as a role model. Yet Lincoln was unable to effect change without war. Johnson reminds me more of Jefferson, someone who was able to effect change with determination, clear speech and innovation. I’m still a liberal at heart, but for as long as he has a dog in this fight, Johnson has my support.
I want to thank Gov. Johnson for taking the time to speak with Pagan media (something I never thought I’d see a Republican presidential candidate do in my lifetime), and I’d like to thank Cara Schulz for her tireless efforts in putting this opportunity together.
Gov. Johnson’s website has more information on his campaign and how you can speak with the candidate via a G+ hangout.
Watch the interview and make up your own mind.