Gary Johnson is speaking to needs and changes that affect Pagans and sub-cultures that are related to it. Because the more we stand up and address those needed changes, the more will get done. Because it’s time for us all to get up off the couch and stop barking at the TV. – Brad Murphey, Murphey’s Midnight Rounders
Murphey’s Midnight Rounders are performing at a rally for Libertarian Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson on Friday. The rally is part of Gov. Johnson’s nationwide tour of colleges. The event takes place at Hill Ballroom starting at 12:30 pm. PNC-Minnesota will have coverage of the event and was able to catch up with Brad Murphey, of MMR, about how he feels about performing at a rally for a Presidential candidate and why Third Parties are worth taking a look at by Pagans. The following is the full statement:
Murphey’s Midnight Rounders
For me, this election is going to be decided by the issues. Yes, important issues come up in EVERY presidential election. But this time, there are issues that are important to the Pagan Community. There is a movement in this country, to marginalize Pagan thought, beliefs and practices. That, alone, tells me that we are making an impact. If we were not, there wouldn’t be such vocal resistance to it.
The Wiccan Rede tells us “An ye harm none, do what thou wilt.” Whether one is Wiccan or not is not my point. It’s still a good philosophy. Paganism tends to embrace and defend many sub-cultures that have been marginalized by (dare I say it?) mainstream thought. “If it’s not hurting anyone, why not live the way you want to live?” It’s not an entitlement, it’s a right. There should be NO REASON why someone should not be allowed to live the way they want to, if it’s not hurting anyone. Who is it hurting if two men or two women (or more, for that matter) want to bond together as mates? According to the laws in this country, there are rights and privileges that are afforded them for this commitment.
There are many who believe that any Pagan philosophy or religion should be, at best, a second-class belief system and therefore the First Amendment to the Constitution does not apply to them. There is no such classification in the Constitution. But, instead of accepting it verbatim, they want to CHANGE the wording so that Pagans are…again…marginalized. Acceptance is not taught or encouraged…let alone, defended. Instead, too many of the people who believe in this marginalization are our lawmakers and judges who were brought up to fear that which they refuse to understand. There’s an old song from the musical, ‘South Pacific’ that goes like this: “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught from year to year, It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear, You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
We, as Pagans, tend to profess acceptance (or at least tolerance) of individuality and lifestyles that we may not subscribe to. Those lawmakers, judges, priests and ministers, politicians and just plain everyday folk who are so vocally resistant are really saying, “We will not tolerate acceptance. We will not embrace any who do not live like us. We would rather re-write law and society in our image than allow change and evolution of that same society.”
There is a war on drugs that has been actively waged in this country for many decades. It’s been waged on legal grounds, economic grounds, social grounds, medical grounds and religious grounds. The trend in this war has been to pick on Marijuana as the leading culprit and responsible for all the societal ills we can name; addiction, divorce, educational dropout rates, homelessness, joblessness, laziness and anything else you can think of. This war on marijuana has been based on four things: misinformation, outright lie, ‘power over’ and greed.
We have pumped TRILLIONS into this war when there’s no way to win it. When I say trillions, I’m not exaggerating. 25% of this country’s population is currently or has been incarcerated. A HUGE percentage of that population is there on drug-related convictions. I’m not talking about the heroin addict who robs someone to pay for his habit; I’m talking about someone who was arrested with an ounce of pot in his pocket. Our taxes go to law makers, law enforcement, prisons, court personnel, attorneys, medical labs and more, just to pay for this war. But substance prohibition does not work. That was proven in the US in the 1930’s. To make matters worse, the health and economic benefits of marijuana HAVE been studied and proven. Now, we can bandy all day about who is to blame for the war; who benefits from the war and the prohibition…big pharma, the cotton industry, myopic religious leaders, whatever. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the American people have been lied to for generations about marijuana and only a relative few benefit from this war. It hasn’t stopped people from smoking it…just like Prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking. I could go on and on. But, legalizing it and federally taxing it would help the economy to the tune of BILLIONS every year. And that’s just ONE of the benefits.
The two-party system is broken. That is proven every time a candidate other than a Republican or Democrat is elected into any office. People vote for whomever they believe will defend their needs and rights as citizens. That has been proven by the fact that there are more than two political parties. Period. Having more than the two ‘major’ parties is proof that democracy CAN work…as long as we stop trying to break it. If we are to evolve, as a civilization, we must have a government that evolves with us. But what seems to happen is that the two-party system is more concerned about keeping the status quo, rather than changing to meet the needs of the people. What worked 50 or 100 years ago only continues to work through more stringent regulations and formidable resistance. But if we have a Constitution that says we have an effective voice, it’s time to use it. Sitting at home and barking at the TV set does not bring change. Getting on Facebook and barking about politics does not bring change. Historically, the only way change has been effected in this country is to get out in public and change it. When enough people stand up and say, “we demand change,” government will listen. The stronger that voice; a) the more initial resistance there will be to change and b) EVENTUALLY, those who govern will listen and change with those needs.
So, why did I agree to play for the Gary Johnson Rally? Because Gary Johnson is speaking to needs and changes that affect Pagans and sub-cultures that are related to it. Because the more we stand up and address those needed changes, the more will get done. Because it’s time for us all to get up off the couch and stop barking at the TV.
Murphey’s Midnight Rounders is not a Pagan Band, per se. We are a Folk Band (we like to call it ‘Power Folk’). Our music addresses what we feel and who we are. At the same time, all of us in the band are Pagan, so a big percentage of our music speaks to that subject: honoring Deity, tradition, and approaching the goddess with mirth and reverence. That being said, for a band that is all Pagan and sings about Pagan issues, it was an honor to be asked to sing at a rally for a presidential candidate. It says a lot about him, that, as a candidate, he is more open and supportive of the Pagan religions.