Wiccan Prime Minister?

Barack Obama is being inaugurated today.  What?  You already knew that?  Dang, so much for my blog being a source of late-breaking news.  It is of course significant because he is black.  Just as JFK’s election was significant because he was Roman Catholic.

I know it seems silly now to think that Catholicism vs. Protestantism would be an issue in selecting a President, but 50 years ago, it was.  (Maybe in another 50 years, skin colour won’t matter either.)

But back to religion.  I have a friend who is a practicing Wiccan, and who ran for office in the last federal election.  I don’t for a moment believe her religion affected any of the voters, but what if she had been on a bigger stage?  What if she had been running for the leadership of her party or even Prime Minister?  Even if you believe that Canadians are tolerant enough to handle that, imagine a devout muslim or sikh running for the US presidency.

Why should it matter which invisible friend you believe in?  I personally don’t believe in any supreme being.  But then I don’t believe in acupuncture or meditation either – and that doesn’t lessen my regard for those who do.

So why is it that people can get over an obvious physical difference like race or gender, but not a subtle variance in belief systems?



What’s Worse: Economic Meltdown or Societal Chaos?

Over at Scott Addams’s blog a few days ago, he postulated a scenario in the upcoming Presidential election.  It goes like this:

The markets continue to tumble for the next 7 days, so that by Tuesday everyone who has assets is even more skittish than now.

Obama continues to gain in the polls until he has a seemingly insurmountable lead (like 70-30 or something crazy like that).

On election day, people get nervous when they’re alone in the voting booth, and start second guessing their choice for a black man (if they’re latent racists) or a “socialist” (if they’re latent fiscal conservatives).  Of course, they’re embarrassed about telling their friends they didn’t vote for Obama, so everyone still thinks he’s going to win, but he doesn’t.  McCain wins.

Everybody freaks out.  Some people will think that the election was rigged, some people will think the voting machines got hacked, some people will point to the impossibility of American blacks ever having true equality, and some will have crazy conspiracy theory explanations.  Regardless, everyone freaks out.

Poor, urban people freak out in the form of rioting in the streets.  Wealthy people freak out in the form of solidifying their wealth and security – shutting the castle gate, as it were.  Institutions like banks and large corporations freak out by freezing up until they see what the outcome is going to be.  There will be a general societal schism between haves and have-nots not seen (in a civilized country) since the French Revolution.

Sounds pretty bad, right?  So why isn’t someone taking steps to communicate with all concerned NOW, so the uncertainty isn’t so explosive on November 5th?  Of course it could be that some genius has already thought of this and come to the conclusion that almost no-one changes their vote at the last second, so the whole thing is moot.