How appropriate it is that, just as Neptune (pretense) conjoins Chiron (wounds) for their last hit on America’s Moon in Aquarius, it’s election time in the USA.
Negative Neptune manifests as addiction, self-delusion and the passive acceptance of unhealthy situations, which the shrinks have delicately termed enabling. I propose that we all take a pledge not to enable this November.
Specifically, I mean that we disabuse ourselves of the fantasy that the Democrats will or can save us from the Republicans. Generally, I mean that we stop pretending that the grotesque games played by the two major parties reflect anything real.
Even using the word “politics” to refer to the Dem-vs.-GOP charade feels increasingly wrong. What most Americans mean by “politics” (from polis: “city”; cities being where the wheeling-and-dealing goes on [if you don’t count Bohemian Grove]) — has nothing to do with how the country actually works. If it did, politics would be a genuinely interesting topic. But the word’s meaning has been reduced to the mock battles waged by the two halves of our national duopoly: the No-Apologies Plutocrats (Republicans) and the Kinder, Gentler Plutocrats (Democrats).
Each of these teams is subsidized by the exact same legalized bribery — a.k.a. the lobby system — involving the exact same corporate interests: Big Armaments, Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Pharma and All the Other Big Guys; in virtually equal numbers of billions of dollars. Yet the supposed distinctions between the two parties are portrayed as Earth-shatteringly definitive and critical. Whatever thin party differences the impresarios of Pretend Politix can find — differences based on pure theory, not facts and figures — are orchestrated into religiously staged contests, a.k.a. elections.
It’s not that this rivalry isn’t serious business. It’s just that it’s pretend.
By means of nonstop, high-glitz news coverage, the election season monopolizes the public discussion just as football does in football season. The analogy between Pretend Politics and big-money athletics is drawn quite deliberately by the media, which has trained voters to see the whole show as a gladiator sport. Its media advocates range from the reasonable and personable — e.g.Rachel Maddow — to the flagrantly despicable — e.g. Glen Beck. But whatever their intended message, the greater significance of these commentators is that they collectively legitimize Pretend Politix. And they have done it so thoroughly that most Americans don’t think of their country in any other terms.
Chris Hedges calls it “junk politics.” Gore Vidal calls it “show-biz politics.” What is it for? It’s a diversion. It is what keeps Americans from thinking or feeling too deeply about the astounding inequities perpetrated by their government-sanctioned corporate overlords. Inequities which, were they to be considered outside of the bubble of Pretend Politix, would appear barbaric and preposterous.
Such as the fact that, after precipitating the meltdown that has created a chronic unemployment rate of 20%, the financial sector still calls the shots in Washington. Or the fact that while millions of Americans have been pitched out of their houses onto the curb over the past three years, their government is seriously considering preserving tax cuts for families earning over $250,000.
Or the fact that while white-collar criminals are awarded bonuses the size of a Third World country’s GDP, one out of seven US citizens lives in poverty. Pretend Politix has so diverted the national mindset that, even for that struggling one-in-seventh voter, the rich-white-guys’ game still drives the narrative.
Good reasons to reject Pretend Politix range from its ethical repulsiveness to our own financial self-interest. But such is the power of group-think (note the placement of US Neptune in the 9th house) that, in a country as obsessed with money as the USA, where public coffers are so bottomed-out that schoolteachers have to cough up their own money to buy books for their students, the public sits back and accepts as perfectly normal the obscene avalanches of cash wasted by Pretend Politicians mounting their campaigns.
There are linguistic reasons, too, to turn up our noses at Pretend Politix. Anyone who holds out the hope that language might mean something – that words are vehicles to express the moral dimension of humanness — can’t help but recoil from the tritely earnest hypocrisies that stumble out of the mouths of politicians from Left and Right; their obvious artificiality an insult to human intelligence and a crime against language. Corrupted further by each repetition, the cliché-sodden teleprompter speeches that have become the norm in Pretend Politix should automatically disqualify the speaker and everything s/he stands for from being taken seriously. The fact that they do not is a testament to how low the public’s standards have sunk.
Last but not least, there’s a political reason to repudiate Pretend Politix. To wit, that it nowhere addresses the single most relevant fact of American public life: that the system is jerry-rigged to serve corporations. If politics did address this, everybody’s approach would shift.
If the federal government were seen to be no more or less than what it is – the centralized bureaucracy of a corporate state – liberals both phony and genuine would save themselves oodles of time and energy. If that central fact were named in political discussions, everyone would understand in a New York minute why the nation’s priorities are upside down.
There’d be no more barking up the wrong tree where economic reform was concerned. There’d be an end to the celebration of personalities. Our smart, good-looking president would be taken down from his pedestal, and his role in the system would be examined. His crestfallen fans would not be standing around in listless naivete, scratching their heads in incredulity about his bailouts and stimulus money having gone to Wall Street instead of building schools, libraries, public transit, and green jobs.
So what’s the alternative to investing in the trumped–up pep rallies, the inane faux-debates, and the sentimental patriotic baloney of Pretend Politix? We can’t even begin to answer this question until we leave the circus behind, turn off the fog machine, unplug the TV.
When we wrench ourselves out of Neptune’s shadow, we open up to Neptunian inspiration. Once we make the break, we’ll know at once that we’ve made a wholesome move. Like fresh air into the lungs, ideas that have realness in them will start coming our way. There are some vitally alive, ingeniously original energies floating around in American society right now (try Ralph Nader again; he’s still telling the truth), and in other countries (check out the anti-corporate Scandinavian firm Kraft & Kultur).
We don’t have to look far afield for inspiration. Thanks to the vacuum created by our repudiation of Pretend Politix, we will attract into our lives ideas and people exactly appropriate for us. We may find ourselves invited into a humanitarian group (Aquarius) operating on a global level, or to a regional organization lobbying for solar and water power for our local community. We may find ourselves inspired by a neighbor who’s redirected her domestic waste water, or by a friend who’s started an anti-consumerism magazine.
These ideas are signs of the times. They are products of the moment, given the cosmic crossroads at which we stand. Individuals who are living through their charts right now are on fire with ideas like these. Even if we do not yet see ourselves as way-showers, there are leaders among us serving as role models.
It may feel so good to ride this current that we never go back to the network news.