Illustration by Emil Alzamora
Most people in the United States do not know what they have likely avoided with this week's election miracle, basically because they're not quite up to considering such a possibility. We Americans tend to be extremely naïve about politics and always greet the future with hope and a barbecue. That's why it's possible for abuses of the kind we've witnessed endlessly for six years (far more, really) to go on unchecked until finally someone, some other factor, speaks up—and even that is extremely rare.I have been wondering every single day when we would get the message of the torture and sexual abuse of prisoners in Iraq (whom we were supposedly saving from tyranny). I've been wondering when we would get sick of seeing American GIs bashing in the doors of poor Iraqi families; when we would get fed up with the Guantanamos and extraordinary rendition and torture flights; when we would finally find compassion for our sons and daughters coming home with missing limbs, brain trauma, blind and deaf, or packed on ice in metal caskets.
I have wondered every day when we would figure out that we possessed responsibility for the lives of up to a quarter-million Iraqis (so far) who have been killed and maimed under bombs or in the crossfire, and the generations of people throughout the Middle East who will be inhaling the residue of our depleted uranium shells eternally.
And I've wondered when we would sicken at the cost of this mayhem, now estimated at more than two trillion dollars (that is to say, $2,000,000,000,000.00) and counting—a cost that will be borne by our grandchildren and their children, in addition to economically strangling the current generation of Americans. That is not money. It is the life force energy of our people, because money is generated by human effort and creativity.
I have also been wondering when we would notice that gay-bashing went from a relatively contained problem to a vast national movement. And, just personally, between you, me, and the world, if I were a parent and heard that the public schools were teaching a religion-based "abstinence only" program to my children, I would be back with a legal team and seek a federal injunction to stop it.
Apparently, some of this—we don't know what or how much—got through to some people the past few weeks. Americans tend to vote their emotions. We are an emotionally cut off society, and behold, something came through; we actually felt something and responded. Thankfully, there were too many separate races on the ground for Karl Rove to steal them all. Convicting Saddam on a Sunday did not work. The "Rev." Ted Haggard turning out to be gay helped the gay and lesbian cause a lot. The timing was impeccable. The heroic woman I kept seeing in the charts for this time of year turned out to be a male prostitute.
Yet understood properly, this week's election victory is strictly symbolic; it is a statement of intent; an unfulfilled promise. It is, to borrow from Martin Luther King Jr., a check that has not yet cleared the bank. The war, widely supported by Democrats and renounced by nearly none of them, even as the layers of fraud have poured out of the closet, will most likely go on for a long time. Long after we leave Iraq, the mayhem will continue (remember Cambodia). Even Marco Polo, who traveled the region in the 13th century (then known as Iraq, as it is today), commented in his diaries on the brutality of the country's people against one another when they lack a strong leader.
Measures that the Bush administration has put in place to disembowel our Constitution still exist, and will exist, for years. Halliburton still has its contract to build prison camps in the United States. Dick Cheney is still breathing. And I'll accept that Bush will leave office on January 21, 2009, the day after someone else is inaugurated. Not the day before, an hour before, or five minutes before.
The Good Guys?
The image that most Americans have of their country is based on World War II movies, which always have us coming in to save the day. We tend to remember Patton and forget about Coming Home
or Born on the 4th of July
. Patton is the truth and Coming Home
is just the result of an unfortunate 25-year era filled with dope, longhaired hippies, groovy chicks, and protests. The United States is always the good guys. For this reason only, we can go into Iraq claiming to be doing the world a big favor, swearing it has nothing to do with Halliburton, oil or the vicious hatred of Muslims that has in recent years become a holy sacrament.
It is true that millions of people protested the imminent war on February 15, 2003, under that blazing Leo Full Moon. But the other half of the country, the one that doesn't come out on a cold day and march in the streets, was sure enough that Bush was right about Saddam being the one who took out the World Trade Center, that they agreed we better go in and clean things up—just like we did in 1942. Just like Grandpa Sam and Uncle Howard did.While we think we're saving the day, someone else is busy stealing it from us. It may be that on Election Day, we stole it back. Maybe. Everyone I know in politics agrees this is big news. Bigger than Fitz indicting Rove. Bigger than Dick Cheney quitting. Equivalent to what dumping Bush in 2004 would have meant.
Yet we have seen Democrats collapse, even under just a little pressure, time and time again, even at crucial moments. It is easy to put the pressure on. We don't know if Nancy Pelosi has quietly been issued a death threat by one of Dick Cheney's flunkies. Hey, it's easy. And all we need is something vaguely resembling a second 9/11, or something worse, for all bets to be off.
This is not the time to think we won and it's all gonna be chill. It's the time to start participating more intensely, with greater sobriety and less hope. We need to stalk our congressional representatives, be on a first-name basis with their aides, know what their local offices look like, and actually know what is happening in our government. We have earned the potential for influence; that is different than power.
Will we use it? Politics is tedious, hard work, and most people who get involved are extremely neurotic, and they confuse power and pleasure. You lose more rounds than you win. It's not like eating ice cream or taking your dog to the beach. Until you get really, really good at it, politics is nowhere near as much fun as going to work.
But somebody has to do it. I nominate us.
Mercury Transit of the Sun
Now that I have that off my chest, Election Day and the day after were certainly interesting days astrologically. I would go so far as to say they were promising and in many ways completely strange. From a distance, however, it did not look too hopeful—it all looked very slippery to me. I guess it's just a matter of who slipped.
Retrograde Mercury in Scorpio made an exact conjunction to Venus in Scorpio. This was exactly 90 degrees from Neptune in Aquarius—the cosmic happy pill we've all been swallowing since the late 1990s, sending a little shockwave through that energy pattern. Simultaneously, everything aligned on another plane of space: Venus and Mercury were parallel to Neptune (somewhat like an exact conjunction, but subtler); and the next day, Mercury crossed the disk of the Sun, called a transit (a parallel plus a conjunction simultaneously). Each one of these events is rare; putting them together is extraordinary, and something extraordinary happened.
For Aries Point fans, the focus of this activity was right at the center of the fixed signs, which are on a 90-degree harmonic with the first degree of the zodiac. In other words, the midpoint of the fixed signs is directly connected to the beginning of the cardinal signs. So the superaspect involving the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Neptune also picked up the Aries Point, amplifying its effects many times. I completely missed this, the total sum, before the fact, and have only put it together in the past couple of days.
Of all these events, the Mercury transit of the Sun is the one that points to the beginning of a new era, particularly given where it was placed in relation to the Aries Point. Think of Mercury etching a line across the Sun, or Mercury eclipsing the Sun. The small meets the great; the Mercury boomerang that has been thrown at us again has finally come back and clocked the King (the Sun) on the head.
At every defining moment of the Bush administration, Mercury has been the most prominent planet, and the alignments have been strikingly well timed and precise. The two events we're most familiar with were the election of 2000 and the coup d'etat of September 11.
With the first, Mercury stationed direct in the last degree of Libra the night of the 2000 election, just as the polls closed in Florida. Bush, who lost the popular vote and should have lost the electoral vote, won the presidency.With the second, Mercury was rising, exact to the degree, in Libra, just as the September 11 incident manifested. An event that required the government's negligence to happen at all became the weapon used against us over and over again.
These are old examples—but they are salient, and they fit a larger pattern. The sequence of events Tuesday into Wednesday fits the pattern closely, with a grouping of aspects tightly focused on Mercury at center stage.
Unless we are playing Nostradamus, we cannot really say what this holds for the future. There are too many X-factors involved, one of which is how desperate people will react when their situation becomes genuinely desperate. But we can generally describe the climate: the progressed Sun of an important United States chart now in Pisces (starting exactly on Election Day 2004, and which, incredibly, will stay in force through 2034), which is just another way of saying that we've got some things to talk about here beside the rising tide.