“Wait. You guys vote?” my Christian classmate had asked, as though I and all other Wiccans spawn from caves. Yes, I’d explained. Wiccans do vote. Like my Christian classmate, my faith informs my civic involvement. But also because Wiccans believe in Magick—a change incepted through both faith and action. Every day I may pray for a world working diligently for justice and sustainability, but the prayers mean little if they are not matched with action. Therefore, this Wiccan will be voting on November 8th.
Being a Wiccan means I believe in a multi-gendered Divine embodied in the Earth. I, like many Wiccans, believe in a concept called “As Above, So Below“: what happens in the microcosm is reflected in the macrocosm and vice versa. I believe in preserving balanced ecosystems, both in the environment and in society. An ecosystem can fail when one species becomes invasive, preying on other species without predators of its own. In society, injustice is an invasive species. Just as an invasive species threatens the whole of a landscape, so does injustice threaten the whole of society.
Donald Trump is a human manifestation of an invasive species.
Because of that, I am not voting down-ballot. I am voting for Hillary.
Is she perfect? Hell no. Was she who I wanted to see on the Democratic ticket? No. I voted for Sanders. Was it disappointing when Sanders did not receive the Democratic nomination? For me, yes. As a Wiccan, I reflect on the holistic picture, the challenges as well as the blessings. It is encouraging to watch Clinton embrace aspects of Sanders’s platform and watch Sanders continue his work in the Senate, unbridled by the restrictions endemic to the Oval Office. I have put my support behind Hillary.
Initially, I didn’t feel this way. I considered writing Sanders in, supporting a third-party candidate, not voting at all out of protest, as many frustrated people are doing. But my mind was changed through both honoring my Ancestors and thinking about my Descendants, two practices common to Wiccans like me.
We are deep into the Samhain (Halloween) season at which Ancestors are venerated. I think about what my Ancestors sacrificed on my behalf, even those I never met such as my Great-Grandfather, my Popop. I imagined myself not voting or voting for a third-party candidate of whom I knew little about, just to make a statement. I imagined trying to explain it to him if he were to appear before me: Did you see the last debate? I might ask him. Do you see what our choices are? I just can’t. And then I imagine his response in a thick Czech accent: I crossed the ocean at 16 with only my 9-year-old brother. I never saw my parents again. And now you ‘JUST CAN’T’?
Did I feel so strongly against Hillary Clinton that I could have looked Popop in the eye and said with full conviction, Nope. Won’t do it. Thanks for coming over, though...?
I did not have that conviction.
I also imagine the time in which I will be an Ancestor. Could I explain with conviction to my Descendants, either in person or in my mind, why I had passed on pushing back against an avid climate change denier, whether or not I ever meet them? I was just so tired of being confined to the two-party system…I might say. They might respond, Oh sure. We’re tired of battling rising seas off the coast of Kansas. We TOTALLY get it.
I did not have that conviction either.
I, like many Wiccans, believe in a time and place for proper action. There is a time to plant, and a time to harvest. There is a time for challenging the status quo with a down-ballot vote, and there is a time for setting aside personal desires for how things “should be” and vote with all people in mind. Trump’s appearance on the national stage has turned a hot, glaring spotlight on the ugliest parts of our national landscape—its racism, xenophobia, sexism and violence. His being elected would not only validate these presences, but would potentially move us backward on the progress we’ve made in LGBTQ rights and scrap green energy initiatives. Now is a time for purging these presences, and one way to do it is make spectacularly beat him on November 8th.
But even as the Trump campaign continues its sensational nose-dive, it is far from the time to get complacent. It is not yet the time to “rock the vote.” As I wrote in a letter to my community, if you truly believe that one of the third party candidates is the most qualified to be President of the United States, cast your vote for one of them. If you truly feel that none of the candidates represent your interests and that none of them are qualified to be President of the United States, abstain from voting. But please―do NOT do this out of apathy. Think carefully about your protest abstention or third-party vote. Do not treat your vote carelessly.
I will continue to vote down-ballot in my local elections, supporting Green party candidates or other smaller parties when the stakes are not like this. I look forward to a stronger Green party in the future and an eventual challenge to the two party system we overly rely on. But not this time. Hillary isn’t perfect. Electing her won’t automatically purge the hate and violence Trump stirred up, but defeating Trump is a step in pushing these energies to rot and fall apart. But rather than get absorbed by human consciousness again like metaphorical compost, let them be swept away with the winds of progress, justice, and sustainability.
I hope so, anyway. I’ll put my faith in that. This Wiccan is voting for Hillary.