"Why WADL like a duck when you can fly like AREN"

"Why WADL like a duck when you can fly like AREN?" is the tag line that has been appearing on the AREN /WADL mailings since the name change and restructuring.   In addition to beating a dead duck, this signature file asks a very interesting question.

Why was WADL so successful in bringing together a variety of different Pagan groups and organizations?  How did WADL succeed in creating a large network of Pagan activists, when so many other organizations failed at the task?

What made WADL unique, and a viable force in the community was the way it was organized.  There was no central authority, per say.  Each WADL chapter was independent of the others.  Local WADL Regionals made their own rules and established their own networks of activists.  Due to its structure WADL encouraged participation of a very diverse group of independent folks who would not otherwise consent to being "organized".

Wise 'ol cuss Isaac Bonewits once said " trying to lead Pagans is like trying to herd cats". This statement just about sums up the nature of our Community. Many of us find the Patriarchal  political structuring of these alphabet ego agencies disgusting. If we had wanted to play follow the leader, we would have stayed Christian.  WADL was designed to accommodate this mind set.
The new AREN is not.

Perhaps one of the scariest comments we have heard come out of the new AREN was part of a statement issued by a WADL/AREN Attorney, Creide Stewart, and published in GrotonWitch's GRIMOIRE - 11 Jan '00.
Ms. Stewart's entire statement can be found HERE {click},  reprinted courtesy of GrotonWitch's GRIMOIRE.

"We are attempting to nationally organize our efforts in an efficient manner which allows us to address problems, network with other groups, educate the general public, etc.  We can only do that by presenting a united front -- not backstabbing other organizations with similiar goals. Our only hope, in my humble opinion, is to start acting LIKE groups such as the Christian Coalition and ADL.... if you can't beat them, join them as it were."

Sorry AREN, but we think that this statement is just so wrong on so many different levels. 

First off, despite assurances in Ms. Stewart's letter and in the WADL/AREN name change press release posted HERE{click},  that  "all current members, state representatives, regional directors and officers will be confirmed in their positions",  WADL New England Director, Diane Des Rochers was politely uninvited.  Ms. Rochers was one of the last original appointees of  WADL founder, Dr. Leo  Martello.  AREN suggested that Ms Rochers might be happier starting her own organization, and they even suggested a cute name, "NEWT - New England  Witches Taskforce".  So much for "presenting a united front".

Then there's the "if you can't beat them join them" concept. 
Does this mean that perhaps one day, if we adopt the tactics of the Christian Coalition and the ADL,  a Pagan group like AREN can intimidate the American Rutabaga Eaters Network into changing their name. Not the answer people!  We prefer the "if you can't beat them, die trying, come back, and try again" method to achieving lasting social change ....  that's why we're Pagan. 

Reaction to the new name AREN has not been very favorable either. Gone is that spooky 'ol "W" word ... WITCH.  It has been replaced with the much more PC "Alternative".  What's up with this obsession some recovering Christians have with labeling our Faith as an "alternative"?  Just what are we supposed to be an "alternative" to?  The root word has such negative cogitations to it. Being an "alternate" means sitting on the bench feeling guilty that you are hoping one of your teammates is injured so you can get in the game. Being an "alternate" is listening to hours of testimony, just in case one of the real juniors gets sick.  Being "alternate" means  that "in case Ms. Aurora Borealis is unable to fulfill her duties", you are there as back up.  Second best just in case the best is not available.  Not exactly how a lot of Pagans wish to view their Faith. 

So in answer to your question Mr. Foster, "Why WADL like a duck when you can fly like AREN?" 
Longevity.  The average American Duck lives 25 years, a Wren survives only 4 or 5.

AREN has a long way to go before it can hope to live as long and as fruitful a life as the poor 'ol duck did.