Recently, the news was filled with reports about the Massachusetts special election to fill the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s seat. Although polls show that people in Massachusetts tend to be politically liberal and support the Democratic party, the election was won by a more conservative candidate and a Republican, Scott Brown.
Both the news media and the “blogosphere” have been inundated with know-it-all pundits giving all sorts of reasons for the vote. The Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, was showing up in the polls just a month or two earlier with a 30 point lead over Mr. Brown. What caused this surprising shift in popularity to take place?
Well, I’m not one of those well-paid pundits (I wish!) who are giving all sorts of political concepts for the vote. Instead, I’d like to point out something that most of these “experts” are ignoring.
In 1983, claims were made about alleged activities at the McMartin Preschool in California. The police investigation ran for four years. Trials ran from 1987 to 1990. It was the longest and most expensive investigation and trial in the history of California. Although nobody was convicted and all charges dropped, it managed to ruin careers and lives (of the accused, the accusers and their families) and mark the beginning of what has been called “The Satanic Panic.”
Although people have been claiming abuse by Satanists for ages, after a book called Michelle Remembers was published in 1980, claims about Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) started to appear in droves, all with similarities to the claims in that book. Even though every responsible studyâ€”even from the FBIâ€”states that such claims are untrue, for over a decade the Satanic Panic persisted. It persists today among some people, primarily those looking for a supernatural cause for things they can’t understand or control.
Back in 1984, in Malden, Massachusetts, a case of child abuse was reported to the police, allegedly taking place at the Fells Acres Day Care Center. The children at the center were interviewed by a nurse, not a specialist. Initially and repeatedly they stated that nothing had happened to them. But after more and more questioning, the young children were allegedly induced to say that a clown had molested them in a secret room at the day care center. This followed the pattern of what happened at the McMartin investigation: initial denials followed by bizarre unsubstantiated assertions after leading and intimidating questions. But with McMartin, the jury saw through the situation and found the defendants not guilty (although the defendants spent years in jail during the trial). In Massachusetts, Violet Amirault, her son, Gerald, and his sister, Cheryl Amirault LeFaveÂ were imprisoned for years.
So what does this have to do with the recent election?
Martha Coakley: D.A.
Ms. Coakley became the local District Attorney in 1999. According to Examiner.com, “by this time hardly anyone believed they [the convicted people] were guilty of the horrendous crimes they were alleged to have committed. In fact there was no evidence that anyone had abused any children in the Fells Acres Day Care [Center].
“But what did Martha Coakley do when the Parole Board voted unanimously (5-0) to pardon Gerald Amirault? She did everything in her power to see that he stayed in prison, including sending an assistant DA to oppose his release at the hearing. Coakley also went on talk shows to spout her views about his guilt.”
Coakley reached an agreement with Cheryl Amirault LeFave, allowing her release for time served as long as she agreed not to talk to the media about the case for ten years.
Although most of the pundits in the media are ignoring it, in Jason Pitzl-Waters excellent Pagan blog, The Wild Hunt, he points out that several people were bringing up Coakley’s actions over just this case. He quotes a columnist who points out that Â Ms. Coakley had a 30 point lead in the polls. Then Ann Coulter wrote a column about this case and Ms. Coakley in December 1999 and later the “Wall Street Journal” did an editorial about it just before the election.
Both Ms. Coulter and the “Journal” may have had their own agendas in bringing this up as I doubt that either would have supported Ms. Coakley and would write whatever they could against her. Nevertheless, Ms. Coakley’s participation and support for this scandal, what Ms. Coulter called the “second most notorious witch[sic] trial in Massachusetts history,” could have been one of the contributing factors to Ms. Coakley’s defeat, perhaps even the most important factor.
A Question of Personal Ethics
This brings up a serious ethical question that faced voters. Ms. Coakley was generally considered to be more politically liberal than her opponent, Mr. Brown. If you are politically liberal, do you vote for Ms. Coakley even though she worked to keep a probably innocent man in prison and allowed a woman who was probably innocent to be released only under the most draconian of terms because the alleged crimes were supposedly Satanic? Or do you vote for her more politically conservative opponent? In other words, do you vote for her more conservative opponent based on something terrible she did or do you vote for her because you agree with things she may do? Or do you not vote or vote for a third party candidate who stands no chance of winning?
This is not a political blog, it is one with focus on magick today. As the paths of magick, Witchcraft, Paganism, and other spiritual traditions become more popular, they are intersecting more frequently with the secular world. Sometimes they can be harmonious. Sometimes they conflict. I believe that preparation is a key to successful magick, and being prepared for any contingency can make your life run more easily and help you avoid the pitfalls we all encounter from time to time.
You deserve a voice in your community, and that means when you become an adult you have the right and responsibility to vote. At one time, not too long ago, the amount of information getting to us through the media was limited. It was difficult to discover the truth. Today, there is so much information getting to us through numerous media forms that it is difficult to discern the truth from the opinions. As a magickal person, I believe you should be prepared for elections by discovering the truth about candidates, initiatives and measures. Be prepared, and when it’s time, be sure to vote.
What do you think?