When I wrote the post Woman Fired From Panera For Being Pagan! I had no idea my follow-up would be about Michigan’s GOP leader using words like “witch-burning” to discuss political strategy. But here we are.
“Witch Burning” As A Political Threat
Two people sent me articles informing me of comments made Thursday by Michigan Republican Party Leader Ron Weiser. During a local meeting, he called Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, State Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson “witches”, saying the party needs to focus on “softening up the three witches for a burning at the stake” for the 2022 elections. He then went on to joke about not being able to “assassinate” U.S. Representatives Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, presumably having to settle for trying to vote them all out of office.
Allow me to remind my readers, that last year Michigan radicals hatched a plot to kidnap and murder Gretchen Whitmer. Oh, and remember how a bunch of gun-toting “protestors” stormed the Michigan State Capital? And let’s not forget what happened on January 6th, 2021 when Trump-supporting insurrectionists (IE: part of the Republican Voting Base) attacked the United States Capitol (incited by the former president) with shouts of “Hang Mike Pence.”
And the Michigan GOP Leader Ron Weiser thinks calling for a “witch-burning” is appropriate political humor? He does this as individuals are harassing and killing Asian Americans while Republicans continue to wrongly identify Covid19 as the “China virus”.
Let’s not forget how people have been getting spat on or harmed (some even killed) because wearing a mask during a pandemic has been made political by the GOP. Weiser is using hateful language when people in his own party have taken the words of their leadership as legitimate instructions.
Well, this citizen of Michigan who is an actual Witch takes exception to Weiser’s hostile, threatening, and reckless comments.
Weiser Has No Remorse For Witch Remarks
After sparking criticism and calls to resign, The Detroit News reports Weiser responded on Twitter that his comments”are clearly being taken out of context.” But he admitted he should have “chosen my words more carefully.”
Personally, I believe Weiser should be removed but his party will never do such a thing because he is using his voting bases “language.” People in that crowd laughed when he “joked” about “assassination”.
GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock tweeted saying “calling someone a witch is not misogynistic.” Wrong. The term has been used as a slur and accusation against “uppity women” for generations. Weiser’s use is pretty clear. So yes, “witch” is misogynistic in this case.
Additionally, Weiser is insulting those of us who practice witchcraft as a spiritual path, practice witchcraft as a non-spiritual path and call ourselves “Witch” as a personal, spiritual, or practical identifier. Weiser used “witch” in an accusatory fashion, the way the folks in Salem Mass did oh so long ago.
And I have a problem with that.
Stop Using Witch As A Slur
Witchcraft is on the rise in America. Paganism has been on the rise for quite some time. Christianity has been the overculture of this country but it is on the decline. Even so, too many people feel they must live in the isolation of a metaphorical “broom closet” because fear of Witches and Pagans is still being promoted or taught through popular media and the pulpit.
How do I know? Because our readers and podcast listeners tell me in emails and comments. They worry how their Christian family will respond to the knowledge of one of their own practices a different spirituality or is a Witch. Some have lost friends, lovers, spouses, siblings. It is difficult to live on the fringe of society, even if being a witch is now aesthetically acceptable in some places.
My point is our difficulties stem from “regular folk” getting in a tizzy when the word “witch” is thrown into the conversation. We have a real concern when people such as Weiser use “witch” to whip up aggression (or in his case stoke political fervor among his constituents) against political rivals. Who’s to say one might not decide to take some of that “hellfire” when public gatherings are available to us once more? Think I’m being ridiculous. See above about all the violence being done because some people don’t want to wear a damn mask!
So just…stop. I am asking you nicely.
Stop using “witch” as a slam, a threat, or a way to demean someone. Look at the landscape and realize there are more of us than you think. And personally, I’d like to know that one day people like my friend “K” will never have to worry about being called into a managers office to be raked over the coals for being who she is — a Witch–because some co–worker found out about her spiritual beliefs, “got scared”, and reported her.
“The World Needs Her Witches”
In June 2019, Phyllis Curott wrote a response to a New York Times rambling editorial in response to an article by Tara Isabella Burton about witchcraft in America. In the article, Phyllis writes:
“Witchcraft is the fastest growing spirituality in America. Pew Internet Research has finally confirmed it and it is making news. The movement nurtured with so much love for so long by so few has exploded into mainstream visibility and influence. Which requires those of us who have called ourselves Witches for many years and those who are just coming to it, to see, think and speak clearly about the true wisdom and ethos of Witches and Witchcraft and Mother Earth: We are part of a sacred world and so we are all called to live in a sacred way.”
Not all Witches have a spiritual craft. Not all witches practice in the same way. There are multiple paths and traditions to follow within witchcraft. We have different goals, visions, and priorities when it comes to our workings. But make no mistake that we are here. Witches live in all corners of life as neighbors, friends, spouses, students, leaders, co-workers, and business owners.
Many of us work as solitaries while others gather in covens but we do gather. We are citizens who have families, jobs, and we vote. If our existence makes certain groups of people uncomfortable then maybe they need to educate themselves on who witches truly are and what we actually believe and do with our witchcraft instead of getting all of their information from the more conservative purveyors of mythology.
Maybe it is high time people acknowledge the reality, that we live in the 21st century and stop using our existence as a way to catalyze fear, aggression, or scorn. As a human being (because anyone can practice witchcraft regardless of gender) I am reclaiming the word “WITCH.” And I hope others will join me. Especially Michigan Witches (and Pagans) when it is time to vote in 2022. Then we’ll show you, Mr. Weiser and Co., some real power.
Ron Weiser Issues A Late Apology
Bowing to increasing pressure, an article in the Detroit Free Press says GOP Leader Ron Weiser issued an “apology” two days after his “burning the three witches at the stake” comments made about Whitmer, Nessel, and Bensen. Basically, he apologizes for being flippant and is sorry for offending people. Weiser states he has “never advocated for violence and never will”, promising to be more respectful in future dialogues.
It should be pointed out that earlier in the day, Weiser criticized Dana Nessel’s “manufactured outrage” about his misogynistic and comments and the “assassination joke” about Meijer and Upton, before expressing his “regret.” Yeah, no. Not believing it.
Ron Weiser’s “apology” is nothing more than political theater. He’s trying to get people to back off. Too little, too late for this Witch. Because he has made his disdain for the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General of Michigan very clear. These three confident women gall him.
The 2022 elections are going to be fun.