Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Unhinged Party

Although it’s cold, it’s exhilarating to walk outside and feel that fierce wind blowing away one season and bringing on the next.  March is always an amazing month, since the return of spring never seems quite possible.  Those naked, barren trees are like a permanent feature of the landscape, but it won’t be long before it all comes to life. 

This month holds even more change than usual.  Not only are there two eclipses, but the outer planets are involved in a dance led by Jupiter.  There are indications of rebellion – Jupiter is inconjunct Uranus, the planet of change.  There are hints of deeper reform – Jupiter is trine Pluto, planet of long-term trends.  And there’s financial instability – Jupiter is square Saturn, planet of limitation.  All this in one month. 

With the surge of primaries and caucuses in March, it’s clear that stakes are being raised, bets are being placed, and winners and losers declared.  But I think that more is going on. 

My own feeling is that the Republican Party is in its death throes.  It’s becoming unhinged, dividing itself into two parties, at odds with each other.  If they do give Trump the nomination, then a big block of Republicans will split off, call themselves something different, and run their own candidate.  If they manage not to nominate him, he’ll start his own movement of renegade Republicans.  My sense is that there are people working out plans for both these eventualities, right now. 

It figures that the Republican Party would divide eventually.  It’s been the party of racists and millionaires, and what do these two constituencies have in common?  Not all that much.   The goal of uber-wealthy families is to hang on to their assets, and the goal of racists is to hold on to a perceived personal superiority, even when it doesn’t benefit them in any way. 

For the last fifty years, the super-wealthy have used racism and misogyny as tools, sometimes overtly and sometimes subtly, as ways to increase their own power and influence.  Anything that makes money for them is branded as good, and anything that distributes money more fairly  – unions, public education, welfare, women’s rights – is bad, or sometimes just terminally unhealthy, and is blamed on “those people”.  This has been the tactic that created the modern Republican party. 

But we live in something of a democracy, and so politicians have had to come out in favor of the things that ordinary (non-rich) people want.  This requires artfulness.  They have to say “small business” when they mean big corporations, “safety” when they’re talking about profit-driven prisons, and “national security” when they’re trying to boost weapons dealers.  

And now here comes a politician who has none of that artfulness, and who threatens to collapse the whole structure by being too obvious about it.  He blurts out racist and misogynist things instead of using the well-honed dog whistles that his party has refined over the decades.  Even though he’s a millionaire himself, he doesn’t seem to have learned the language very well.  He doesn’t have that millionaire sense of solidarity. 

So, like an iceberg in Antarctica, the Republican Party is going to calve.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be better off as a nation, although we could make some progress during the time it takes for it – or the new party -  to build itself up again.

And what about the eclipses of March?  The first one, a total solar eclipse on March 8, has Jupiter in Virgo facing off against the sun, moon, Mercury and Neptune in Pisces.  This mass of Pisces planets is like the solid dedication of true believers, who only need something or someone who will fulfill their fantasies of deliverance. 

This yearning to believe in something has a lot to do with Trump’s success.  He’s the “Great White Hope”, a figure who can rescue the flawed dreams that have been fed to white people in the US.  We’ve seen him in history before, and it doesn’t usually work out too well.  But this figure has been known to do a lot of damage before going down in flames.    

On the other side of the wheel is Jupiter in Virgo, which represents the principle of social organization.  With Jupiter in an earthy sign, this is a practical process, involving observation, good tools, and a certain amount of trial-and-error.  A static society is not a healthy one, and so Jupiter in Virgo represents change that’s both logical and ecological.  Ideally, everything grows organically and cooperatively.  Of course, for true believers, this is limiting and even boring.

Then on March 23, there’s a penumbral lunar eclipse.  It’s not quite as intense, but because the sun is in the fire sign Aries, there are conflicts that now move into the open.  This eclipse emphasizes the Aries/Libra axis, which is about independence vs. law.  Rebellious movements could gain a foothold. 

The Jupiter/Saturn square is very close, and so there could also be an economic downturn around the time of this eclipse.  This won’t necessarily last a long time, but it’s a good idea to be a bit more frugal in March, in preparation for this.  There could be a moment of reckoning when many people have to figure out what to do about long-term commitments.  Can we still afford to do the things we once planned? 

As a society, we may also have to look at long-term plans.  Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of travel, so problems with roads and bridges may become more evident, and perhaps very dangerous.  Funds will need to be diverted to deal with this, and where will these funds come from?  The millionaire class, and their pet politicians, will join together with an obvious answer:  let’s try again to get rid of health care. 

But Jupiter’s other aspects do point to change, so there will be a regrouping.  For many of us, spring is a chance to sketch out the world we’d like to live in.  If nature can reinvent herself, why can’t we?  For myself, I’d like to see a world with neither racists nor millionaires, but I think that will take more than one season. 

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