There’s a bit of a war going on in me this week, has been for months: my heart and head are in a tussle for my full attention. The weekend tableau of a compelling, low-hung Scorpio Moon opposing the lush Taurian Sun fully describes it: there is so much going on behind the scenes, deep and dark, that remains unexposed except as viewed by reflection of moonlight, and yet my essential energy would rather bask in the opportunities and pleasures offered in sunshine, focused on all the bright possibilities that lift and buoy us.
I suppose I might just need a vacation, but even fully engaged in all that Spring offers, the hidden bits remain in the back of my thoughts, reminding me to get to them, to open the lid, to let in some light and air. There is nothing abstract about the Taurus signature, with its earthy manifestation and sensual possibilities. Nothing frivolous about the Scorpio intensity, agitating our emotions and asking us to dive more deeply into ourselves. This Scorpio/Taurus polarity is a potent reminder that opposites not only attract, but also complete one another. We must look at the whole picture if we are to find our balance.
There’s an impressive amount of temperament being displayed lately, and this Moon position brings to mind the kind of tantrum Taurus is capable of if pushed too far. No surprise, then, to find that Ted Nugent — aging rocker, extreme righty and hunting enthusiast whose disparaging remarks about the President at an NRA convention recently brought him to the attention of the Secret Service — has a natal moon in Taurus opposed to Venus in Scorpio. Ted’s internal stressors are close to the surface. Ted has made a name for himself with sportsmen for a couple of decades, hunting and eating every winged or four-legged thing he can put in his cross-hairs, and has lately earned the notice of the liberal community, which he references as “brain dead” (when he’s in a good mood.) Regarding the coming election, Ted has encouraged his ultra-conservative followers that, “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
A Sagittarius with Merc conjunct the Sun, Ted is unquestioningly confident about his politics, as he is about his friendship with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he of the cruel desert tents, demeaning pink underwear and Department of Justice scrutiny. Sheriff Joe is a Gemini with a Taurus Mars. He and Ted are both prone to blurting out their true feelings without hesitation. But no worries: on the right of the political spectrum, such “tough guy” controversy has long been interpreted as a sign of courage and leadership.
Describing his friendship with Arpaio, Ted said, “We believe with all our heart and soul that law and order, goodwill and decency as driven by the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Ten Commandments and Golden Rule provide the greatest quality of life on Earth, and we will never back down from these self-evident truths.” But with media swarming him, Ted hasn’t kept to that lucid level of rhetoric. This week he went after his CBS This Morning interviewers with (bleeped) threats after they questioned his insistence that he was a nice guy and political “moderate.” Bless his pointy head, Ted hasn’t had this level of media attention since Cat Scratch Fever hit the charts. Of course, emotional explosions of this sort can be instructive – a’ha moments of the first water — but only if we want to know that much about ourselves. I’m pretty sure Ted has no such a desire.
The other thing this magnificent Moon does, if you listen closely, is whisper of long-kept secrets hidden down the dark corridors of the past. The Scorpio talent for keeping things securely hidden is legendary. A lot of old unsettled issues came up this week, among them George W.’s National Guard record. Dan Rather released a new book in which he discusses the exposé that put his television career in a tailspin. Rather is still at war with the network that treated him so shabbily. He’s a likable sort, a bit of a hot dog and something of a grandstander, but he paid a heavy price for running up against the Bush boys. Even now, at 80, Dan don’t get no respect.
Those of us who watched at the time had no doubt that Dubby not only disappeared during his infamous drugs-and-women period, but also counted on his daddy to set everything right with well-placed favors and cover-ups. Yet during Rather’s televised demise it only took a whiff of suspicion to bury what was so obvious from public view, serving as our first hint of the Bush family’s power and the determination of the Neocon coup. If Rather was guilty of anything, it was naivety; the same naivety that it took many of us years to shake off. New information confirming our suppositions about those “lost years” of Dubby’s has been made available recently, coinciding with the release of Rather’s book, but don’t look for news of it in the mainstream. Evidently, we still don’t want to know.
Another old incident, full to brimming with secrets, had an anniversary this week. The National Guard killings at Kent State University occurred 42 years ago, and we still don’t know who took the first shot or why it was deemed necessary to cut down unarmed protesters. Four students died and nine were wounded, one in a wheelchair for life, after a volley of bullets were fired by over-eager guardsmen, some just teens themselves.
In the polarized 1960s, authorities were seldom doubted in the mainstream, with almost 60% of adults agreeing that the students deserved what they got — damn dirty draft-dodging, flag-burning hippies! — although many of the wounded, and two of the dead, were simply passers-by, on their way to class. There’s evidence that the national rhetoric had gotten out-of-hand just prior to the protest. As noted by Jesse Kornbluth in a recent piece for Huffington, “Three weeks before the shootings, Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, said of student protest, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”" He got his wish.
Discovery of an audio recording of the incident in 2010 led two Ohio newspapers to request the Department of Justice have forensic experts use modern technology to evaluate a digital CD of the tape. Some say there is a direct “prepare to fire” order given by the military prior to the brief barrage of bullets, while some say a stray gunshot began the assault, but the Department of Justice results were inconclusive. Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich has requested — in one of his last acts at the behest of the American public — a full investigation be done while there’s still time to question witnesses. The administration seems reluctant to pursue this old, but gaping, wound. All administrations would be happier to put the past behind them, it seems. The majority was afraid of hearing the truth back then, and apparently some of us still don’t want to know.
Within days of the Kent State shootings, some four million students around the nation emptied their classrooms to protest the unwarranted violence. Within weeks another lesser-known assault on protesters — this one in Mississippi — occurred, killing two and injuring more. Reports of gunfire, similar to those at Kent State, started the violence, but no gunman was ever found or questioned. When protesters square off with armed military/paramilitary forces there is always that electric moment when everything might go wrong and often does. That is one, not the only, reason that the #occupy movement has been so scrupulous about keeping a peaceful face. Still, more than 7000 arrests have been logged since its inception, some of them disturbingly violent.
Growing a movement savvy enough to face off against the representatives of the corporate party as well as a post-9/11 police presence in the nation is a big job. It will take our dedication and attention, even if we’d rather look away. Back in the day, four million kids stood in solidarity with the Kent State victims. Four million! How many could we muster today, do you think? We’ve become used to violence on our streets, in our neighborhoods, in the news. Getting the young people of the nation to notice violence against a group of protesters today would be an uphill climb. Believe it or not, the shock of the Kent killings rattled every bone in the young body American. What would it take to do that today?
Still, we have so many tools at our disposal now that would have made all the difference during the last Pluto/Uranus transit. We can tweet, load and post, bringing reality into focus in an eye-blink. UC Davis Police Lt. John Pikes’ pepper spray assault would have gone unnoticed if it had not gone viral on YouTube, viewed more than two million times. The coming version of revolution will be passed around cyberspace like a hot potato, police brutality exposed and over-reaction noted. Culpability will not need to be pronounced for us, we will be able to see it with our own eyes. Thanks to technology, lawsuits will be filed and exploitation thwarted, if we’re fast on our feet.
We are still being led around by the aftertaste of 9/11, still dependent on a bloated, authoritarian Homeland Security to interpret a worrisome Patriot Act for our supposed safety. In defense of the greater good, can we any longer overlook the terrorizing of little kids by airport security and police officers? Ignore the tazing of children, pregnant women, old folks and the handicapped, some unto death? How about the supposed “mistake” of ignoring the screams of a handcuffed detainee for five solid days, landing him in the ICU? This is authoritarian overreach of the worst kind: mundane everyday acts of violent indifference and hostility to the public. These are things that deserve our outrage and protest before they become so ingrained in our consciousness that we forget they are a brutal and sadistic excess that can easily be turned on any of us.
The revolutions of yesteryear were fought hand-to-hand, workers’ rights won with blood and civil rights furthered by the tragic death of martyrs. The war in Vietnam killed much of a generation of young men, our iron-clad belief in government and our idealism, but it was a necessary loss if it can be counted as wisdom today. That will depend on what we want to know now, on what we’re willing to unearth in the moonlight, not to blame those who manipulated us with hate and fear, but to understand what motivates us to such mindless, irrational acts. We cannot begin to evolve past our national and global failings if we are unable to tell ourselves the truth.
My grandmother used to say, “What do you know,” pausing to add, “that you can tell?” We used to keep our little secrets, but that time is behind us. Think of all the energy trapped within those secret vaults of memory, dragged behind us like weights. On both a personal and a political level, we need to unflinchingly examine not only our past, but also our present. That’s the ground-zero in which we can decide what comes next. I suspect you won’t be surprised to know that what we learn about ourselves along the way is how we’ll arm ourselves against repeating such things in the future.
The truth, they say, will set us free, but according to Gloria Steinham, first it will piss us off. If you’re there, you’re ahead of the game, so thank your lucky stars — and maybe that full Moon this weekend, tapping you on the shoulder and whispering in your ear.