North Carolina Pagan running for city council seat

Cara Schulz —  November 1, 2017 — Leave a comment

HIGH POINT, NC – Megan Longstreet is running for an open seat on the High Point City Council. Ms. Longstreet says so far that her religion has not been a factor in the race. The incumbent is not running for reelection, but has endorsed Longstreet’s challenger, Monica Peters.

Longstreet is the mother of three children and says that a situation, which arose last year involving her oldest child, pushed her from being an activist to running for office. She says her daughter, who has Lupus SLE, was no longer eligible for Medicaid after she turned 21.

She spent ten months battling both the Medicare and Affordable Care Act denials of coverage, after which she was finally able to enroll her daughter in the ACA.

Then in June Longstreet’s daughter suffered three strokes. She believes it was due to not receiving medical care during those ten months of being uninsured.

While her daughter was in intensive care, she was further diagnosed with a rare vascular condition called Moya Moya. Longstreet says that after the doctor left the room her daughter told her, “Mom, if it wasn’t for you, I’d be dead already. No matter what happens to me, I need you to go out and help as many people as you can. What about all the people out there who don’t have a mom? What happens to them?”

Longstreet says that’s when she made the decision to run for office.

Longstreet is running as a Democrat on a platform of what she calls progressive values. Her platform includes LGBTQ rights, creation of a living wage, ending systemic racism, ending the war on drugs, and universal single payer healthcare.

We spoke with Longstreet more about her religious beliefs and her campaign, and how to the two intersect.

The Wild Hunt: What Pagan religion do your practice?
Megan Longstreet: When I was a small child I was never indoctrinated into any particular religious path. I could often be found lying in over grown fields or sitting in trees. My earliest memories are of talking to trees, plants, rocks or the clouds in the sky. Around the age of 13, I went to my mother and told her that the Earth often spoke to me and I asked her what religion it was that taught about a goddess. I had read many books about religions but just couldn’t find where my place was in these religions. She said I should reach out to her longtime friend Pam and that is how I came to learn about Paganism.

I learned about Wicca, carried that label and practiced as a solitary practitioner for many years. I no longer identify strictly as Wiccan and have broadened my path to include many different spiritual practices. I consider myself an earth Witch as I find that my strengths lie in Earth magic and the magic of life and love and growing things.

TWH: Are you involved in your local religious community?
ML: I am a solitary practitioner. I participate in Pagan activities when they come my way, but I also participate in activities with Christian churches, such as food drives. I attend Buddhist ceremonies that I am invited to by my neighbors from Myanmar. I welcome the opportunity to connect with people of all faiths and paths with no restrictions.

TWH: How have your religious beliefs impacted your politics?
ML: I think being a progressive and being an Earth worshiping Pagan go hand-in-hand. I am a visionary and try to see the potential beauty that can be created on a local level. I am open minded and believe that nothing is impossible. For me, being a Pagan is a lifestyle. I look to my faith and to nature to guide me every single day in everything I do.  I believe that the goddess regularly puts me where I need to be. I hold the Wiccan Rede close to my heart, “An ye harm none, do what ye will.” I also believe strongly in the law of three. What you put out into the universe, returns threefold.

I am committed to putting out good intentions to my community. I believe that when I am elected, I will be making choices based on what is best for my community.I find that my spiritual beliefs allow me to see things from all perspectives, from small to global. I have allies within all the local political parties, including Green, Libertarian, Democrat, Republican, Socialist and Communist. I want to build bridges within my community.

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TWH: You say you’ve been an activist for a long time. What kind of activism have you been involved in?
ML: From very early on I often found myself in situations where I have used my voice to stand up for others. Whether it was standing up for my fellow students getting bullied on the playground or speaking out about the systemic poisoning of our food systems by giant chemical companies like Monsanto, I’m the one at the back of the pack trying to ensure that no one gets left behind.

In this day and age there is no shortage of worthy causes to get behind and I have tried to advocate for as many as I possibly can. I’ve advocated on issues such as environmental policies on climate change, pollution, animal rights such as factory farming and humane shelter policies, freedom of religion and keeping the separation of church and state, immigration issues and advocating for immigration reform to keep families together and uphold the American legacy of E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One), conquering the systemic racism that holds our country divided and affects people of color at all levels of government including school curriculum and disciplinary practices, women’s rights and the patriarchy that perpetuates violence and sexual abuse, LGBTQ+ rights and the right for same-sex marriage, and the corporatization of our federal government where our laws are manipulated to harm the citizens and profits are put over the needs of the people.

TWH: Why did you decide to run as a Democrat in a non-partisan race?
ML: The incumbent is not running again but has endorsed my opponent. My opponent is technically unaffiliated but is backed by a newly formed Super PAC. I identify strongly with Democratic values and wanted to run openly as a Democrat. I believe that nonpartisan races exclude marginalized member of our community and I wanted to make sure that in this off year election that I am doing everything I can to include everyone in my very diverse ward.

TWH: I noticed a canary symbol on your Facebook banner. Is that from the Canary Party? Can you tell me about that?
ML: I am a member of the recently formed Guilford County Progressive Caucus. I joined this caucus in an effort to find and support more progressive candidates in my area. I consider myself a progressive because I support progressive values, such as LGBTQ rights, living wages, ending systemic racism, ending the war on drugs (I am strongly in favor of cannabis legalization), healthcare for all/single payer healthcare, ending prison for profit, incarceration of children, seeking alternative energy sources and ending our oil dependency, etc. We are focused on translating these progressive values into local values and supporting local and state candidates to make changes here in our daily lives.

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High Point’s city government is comprised of a mayor and eight city council members. Two council members are at large, while six represent wards. Longstreet is running to represent Ward 3. The election is slated for Nov. 7 and The Wild Hunt will update with election results.

Cara Schulz

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Cara Schulz is a journalist and author living in Minnesota with her husband and cat. She has previously written for PAGAN+politics, PNC-Minnesota, and Patheos. Her work has appeared in several books by Bibliotheca Alexandrina and she's the author of Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping and (Almost) Foolproof Mead Making. She loves red wine, camping, and has no tattoos.