Christine O’Donnell is not a witch.
At least, that’s what the tea party-backed candidate for Delaware’s Senate seat keeps insisting.
The controversy erupted after Bill Maher aired a 1999 clip from his former TV show Politically Incorrect. In it, O’Donnell said, “I dabbled into witchcraft—I never joined a coven. … I hung around people who were doing these things.
She also said: “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn’t know it.”
1. How do you not know that you are on a satanic altar? Somehow—and we’re just speculating here—we imagine there’d be clues.
2. Ouch—witchcraft doesn’t exactly fit well with the überconservative tea party ethos.
Which, of course, is why O’Donnell’s been doing everything she can to reassure voters with a campaign that includes a TV commercial disavowing any affiliation with all things witchy, pagan or Wicca related.
Still, with the election—and Halloween—just around the corner, perhaps O’Donnell shouldn’t be so quick to dodge the accusations.
Witches and witchcraft, after all, could have a lot to offer O’Donnell and, given that she’s significantly trailing the Democratic nominee Chris Coons in the polls, perhaps she ought to consider the following points:
Sex: In the ’90s, O’Donnell, appeared in an MTV documentary talking about her anti-masturbation campaign. In it, she explained, “The Bible says lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust.”
Witches, on the other hand, know that celebrating sexuality and sensuality (self-produced or otherwise) is not just OK, it’s downright awesome. Why do you think there are so many chants, spells and rituals on the subject?
Live a little, Ms. O’Donnell—you could probably stand to relieve some of that campaign stress with a little guilt-free solo recreation.
Gender equality: In 2004, O’Donnell filed a gender discrimination complaint against her employer, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, claiming she’d been demoted because ISI’s “conservative philosophy … dictated that women should be subordinated to men.”
O’Donnell was allegedly fired because of the suit, and later sued ISI claiming wrongful termination due to gender discrimination. (She eventually dropped the suit because she couldn’t afford an attorney.)
O’Donnell, 41, has also talked often about trying to balance a career with a healthy, fulfilling life, and in 2003 she penned an article titled “The Women of Middle Earth,” in which she reflected on the Utopian ideals of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world:
“There’s the attitude that’s normally on the conservative side … that stifles women. There’s almost the stereotypical attitude of, to be a true woman, you have to stay at home. And I’ve actually had people say to me, ‘Why do you choose a career over marriage?’ Honestly, I’ve had only a few significant relationships and they’ve broken up with me. And one of the things I’ve been told is, ‘If you weren’t so strong, you’d be married by now.’”
So, here’s the thing: Witches obviously don’t discriminate against women but instead nurture a culture of strong, feminist ideals that promote the kind of independence and equity that makes one strong enough to find a partner who isn’t intimidated by such qualities.
Education: Over the years, O’Donnell has claimed or implied that she’s studied at Princeton University, the University of Oxford and Claremont Graduate University.
Impressive—too bad she didn’t actually take courses at any of those schools.
O’Donnell does, however, have a Bachelor of Arts in English which she completed on September 10, 2010, after reportedly finishing her course load and paying up on some long-overdue student fees.
Listen, a real witch knows that you don’t need to lie about your education, because education is an ongoing pursuit achieved through a constant quest—both formal and informal—for knowledge, truth and clarity.
That pursuit’s not witchy, O’Donnell, it’s just smart.