Dear Friend and Reader:
If you dare to watch the news, you may get the idea that civilization is unraveling, or at best, that the political situation of the United States is so mired in its own insanity that it’s never going to get out of the swamp.
We are watching, silently for the most part, while every major problem that affects the world is being ignored. We are watching while war and epidemics spiral out of control — and yet while everything else is being made into an issue.
All aspects of life — success, failure, education or the lack of it, poverty, wealth, gender, economics, one’s skin color, the food we eat, one’s internal organs (especially if female), the heat that prevents you from freezing in the winter, all communications from the most private to the most public, the meekest personal choice and even the subtlest emotion, are all subject to being politicized.
That is a weird word, and a stranger concept. In our time of history where it seems the destiny of humanity and every other species is being gambled, we are all standing at the intersection of the personal and the political.
Every last thing we desire, need, think or do can be turned into a political commodity, processed by spin doctors, spliced into a 30-second ad and force-fed back to us with an emotional charge designed to manipulate — that is, politicized.
Our political systems, that is, the structures that supposedly run society, are nakedly answerable to nothing but the power of money. We all watch as the opinions of ordinary people and the wellbeing of ordinary people are ignored.
We are told there are issues, but nearly all the time, ideology is merely packaging designed to motivate political contributions. Congressional representatives, who must seek re-election every two years, spend their entire terms fundraising for the next election.
When I look at many politicians, I see a strange sickness emanating from them. It is imprinted on their faces, in their body language, in their voices and in what passes for reason. The parade looks like a pageant for who should get their photo in the dictionary next to the term “narcissistic wounding.” I look at many of them and wonder how anyone, anyone at all, could take them seriously; could trust them with anything, much less the fate of society.
Politics is deceptive, and for at least as long as we know, it always has been. Of the people I know who are involved in politics, I expect most of them to lie to me. I have for many years had friends in politics and as time has gone on, I have noticed that fewer and fewer of them reveal any capacity for truth — by which I mean their words and their actions being in alignment. It’s not enough to be personable or charming to seem real. The bottom line is that metric between words and actions.
When I was in my 20s, I got out of political campaign writing, something I was passionate about, because I figured out that in order to do that particular job, I would need to lie to the public on a routine basis.
I have done so personally. I have said things to public bodies, been quoted in newspapers and made written statements that were untrue based on my understanding that it’s simply how the game is played — and that my role as campaign manager was to win the game.
For example, in politics one never reveals a candidate’s true position if it’s going to cost the candidate votes without some other gain. One never gives their opponent an edge like that. If there is a campaign spending limit, and the limit prevented a real campaign, I would break the rules and do it in as untraceable a way as I could, and make sure the supporting documents looked good. In the campaigns where this happened, every single candidate did the same thing; if you did not, you would be assured to lose, which defeats the purpose of running.
I was always sure to lie for the ‘right’ cause and on behalf of the ‘right’ people, people I sincerely supported and had personally vetted, though it was deception nonetheless. Not wanting to play that game, indeed being disgusted by that game, I got out, and pursued being an investigative reporter, where verifiable truth is the only commodity. My time spent directly in politics was a blight on my conscience that took me many years to work out. This is why it helps immensely not to have a conscience if you want to be in politics.
Deception is the very feedstock of politics, as the game is currently played, and as it’s been played for a long time. One must actually do it personally to understand this fact in a meaningful way, and even then few will ever admit it. Once you’ve been involved, then it’s possible to look at any person in a position of power making a statement and know that the statement is either an outright lie, or conceals some deeper truth.
I think that on some level, most people understand this intuitively, though there’s another problem. Many who are eager supporters of one side or another, or who have dedicated their lives to an issue, are happy to have their self-deceptions affirmed by the glamour and supposed glory of the political ritual.
In politics, once you win, it no longer matters how you got there — at least not to the winner. It does not matter if there is collateral damage. This is especially true when a political position hurts others or deprives them of their rights. When you look at the political game, at the orgy of fear and manipulation, and if you think it’s in some way normal, you have been swallowed.
I have also worked for some fantastic candidates who were strong enough that the truth was the thing of value. In those circumstances there was no reason to lie, except for the little part about campaign spending limits, which (where it may have once existed) seems to be a rule made to be broken.
This problem manifests on many other levels, most of them rather sly. The idea that it’s OK to lie in order to get your way is a manifestation of politics. A great many people feel that it’s OK to lie, as long as they deem it harmless and convenient (for them). In that condition, there is no question of personal integrity, and it’s then impossible to hold others to a standard of personal integrity and not be a hypocrite.
This is a reflection of the larger politics that overshadows us, and it’s something that feeds and vindicates the conduct of politicians. In other words, those who lie, and lie to themselves as a way of life, are far likelier to accept the fact that their supposed leaders lie as a way of life. To compromise truth means that after a while it becomes impossible to see it, and it is then perceived as nonexistent. Everything is just another position, just another posture.
Meanwhile, we are confronted by local and global problems that we know are urgent, and at the same time facing political problems that just seem intractable. The system, especially on the federal level, is not broken; it’s a rusted-out wreck. It has some of its original shape, it’s vaguely recognizable as what it once was — but it sure looks like it ain’t goin’ nowhere.
• • • • •
It is into this hot mess that we are called upon to show up for an election and cast a ballot. We are called upon to take politics seriously enough to take time out of work, errands, taking care of the kids, Facebook or whatever, and fill in the little circle. We are called upon to have some integrity and participate in a way that is integral to civic life. We are called upon to do what people have been shot at for demanding the right to do.
We must, by some miracle, pretend that all of this insanity does not exist, and make some rational choices about who will be better. It’s not easy, because nearly everything that happens in politics is an invitation to ignore politics, to tune it out, to get distracted or to do something seemingly more important or more pleasant.
Everything we see in politics offers some evidence that it doesn’t really matter, and that the best we get is the lesser of two evils.
It therefore takes extra courage to have the discernment to see there is one political party that has made it a point to repeatedly shut down the government. There is one political party that blocks nearly every vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It’s a party of government officials, paid from the public coffers, who proclaim hatred of the government itself, and are willing to damage or destroy it any way they can. There is one political party that does everything — anything and everything — to block participation in elections.
There is one political party whose platform involves being against people having the right to seek health care. There is one party that would block all reproductive rights of women, which lately (and astonishingly) would include blocking access to pregnancy prevention. Both of these are in violation of long-settled constitutional law, and common sense.
There is another political party that has problems of its own. In many ways it is equally sold out, not to Greenpeace but to the same mega corporate interests as their counterparts. They demonstrate their being sold out by refusing to fight; by refusing to stand on any principles whatsoever.
Together both of these parties create a system that seems to support the status quo, that suppresses new voices and new ideas, and that makes you wonder who is who.
Meanwhile, the struggle of life has many people feeling exhausted and demoralized. People feeling stripped of not just their humanity but also of their basic energy are not necessarily in a position to participate, or to fight. People who are “entertained to death” may see little reason to get up off the couch, as long as they still have one.
• • • • •
Despite some compelling appearances, the political system is not as monolithic as it seems. There are many voices, many points of view, and yet there is a power structure that marginalizes and silences many of them. The other thing to remember is that nothing is as intractable as it seems. Nothing is as permanent. The wheel of progress, or of karma, or of justice, is always turning, no matter how slowly.
There are idealistic people who want to get involved; there are honest ones. In many ways it is the culture of politics that corrupts people, that grinds them down and that compromises them. The culture of mandatory deception makes people into liars. Somehow this has to stop.
While we are alive, there remains a future, and while there are people younger than us, there remains a future worth investing in. Cynicism is not a viable position because, of its own, it will produce nothing. Hope is not a viable position, because it does not lead to progress, and it can be as paralyzing as bitterness.
Between these two extreme polarities, we have the power to do what we can. My position on voting is that it’s vitally important — and not the only important thing. It is, however, a first step. Just showing up to the polls, even if you submit a blank ballot as a protest, is evidence that people on the ground — which holds up the political ladder — are awake and paying attention.
Just like going to church on Sunday does not render one spiritual, voting does not render one a real participant. It’s necessary to find many other modes of involvement — beginning with being an informed citizen. If politics as it is thrives on one thing, it is festering ignorance. Ignorance is not stupidity. The root of ignorance is the word ignore — to voluntarily not know. Ignorance is a conscious choice.
For many years I was so disgusted that I did not vote. I participated in issues as a journalist, where I had much more influence than merely casting a ballot. At some point I changed my mind and made a different decision. It went something like this. I looked at who was benefitting from lack of participation, and I figured out that the other guys — that is, people whose positions on issues I could not stomach — were benefitting. It was that simple.
I also decided that it would be personally hypocritical to advocate awareness of politics and participation in politics and also set the example of not participating on the most basic level. So, I plan to vote in the Nov. 4 national and local election. I will need to hold my nose in some races, and I may write in the names of my friends in others. But I will be there.
Planet Waves Monthly for November, 2014, #1021 By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Something you’ve recently learned or discovered about yourself now must be taken to heart in a relationship situation. Self-knowledge is the basis of any agreement you have with another person, and when you gain some of that (or what looks like quite a bit) it will necessarily influence your agreements with others. Or rather, it will if you are paying attention, and if you want to live sincerely. You have long known that you could not fit yourself into any situation or partnership that is smaller than you are. True, it’s the way of the world to try to cram ourselves into these situations, though such a compromise will eventually fall apart. You might start from the premise that no compromise is possible — not, at least, on the specific matters you have identified. And then what? Well, one solution to that puzzle is that you proceed as an individual on your own terms, and others will get to enter your life as individuals on their own terms. A relationship is not two people living as one, because in truth that is not possible. It’s two people acknowledging their mutual existence, respecting one another for their similarities and their differences. If this sounds like walking over a cliff, it’s because maturity is in short supply these days, though from the look of your chart, you are being called to tap into your deepest reserves.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — How you feel keeps changing, and that is the key to progress. If you are aware of the changes, then by definition you are aware of how you feel. That is the essence of your ability to direct the course of your life. All your other senses count, but your physical contact with your body and with your environment will provide your most intelligent guidance. That is a moment-to-moment reckoning with reality. You may be looking straight at the illusion that your existence is somehow about all these other people. They are involved, that’s for sure, though not quite in the role that you think. For one thing they don’t have the power to limit you. To the contrary, their role is to provide support, structure, and at times something to resist specifically so that you can assert your individuality in a meaningful way. There’s a big difference between doing this in theory or in fantasy and trusting people enough to stand up to them with your ideas. You don’t need to be defensive about this, though that temptation will exist. You also don’t want to put anyone else in a defensive position. Rather, you can assume an affect of neutrality, or of making an inquiry in the pursuit of truth. Set aside right and wrong for a moment, and allow your ideas to mingle with those of other people, and see what develops.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — For about six months, a topic has been on the agenda of a close personal relationship. It rises to the surface and then disappears. Sometimes it seems easy to consider; other times it seems too personal to talk about, and it’s the thing to avoid. Yet sooner or later you need to clear the air, with yourself and with people around you who in truth have a right to know what’s on your mind and share what is on their mind. In an intimate relationship, everyone needs to be listened to, otherwise it’s not really intimacy. Said another way, avoiding the most meaningful topics is an excellent way to turn down the level of contact, a way to make intimacy less intimate. Once you check for that factor and make up your mind how you feel about it, the next step is to have the conversation. You may feel intimidated by the weight of the past, or by how much there is to heal, when you write it out like a shopping list — though that is not how healing works. The larger questions all involve trust, and how to consider what has happened in the past. They are closely related. Trust is built and maintained, in a delicate process. Part of how that happens is that everyone involved demonstrates through their actions that they really have learned from history. That, and there are no more agreements to deny or pretend.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — There is a risk involved in everything. You flirt with this; it’s time to embrace it. It’s understandable enough that you’ve been cautious lately. You may have been knocked on your heels by some unexpected factor, and you needed time to review and revise your plan. What is essential is that you gradually draw yourself out of that aversion, use what you know and begin to take some calculated chances again. The key here is strategy, which you need to honor on every level — financial, creative, psychological and most of all relational. One central question is, what’s the role of others in your life? You might also ask what is the role of others in their own lives? These days you have a tendency to draw to you people who are fundamentally self-centered, and I suggest you learn to spot them before they gain any ground on you. It’s true that everyone needs to take care of themselves; everyone needs to eat. By self-centered I mean at the expense of taking care of anyone or anything else, and in particular, you. You will recognize these people energetically because you will feel depleted by them, and never truly nourished. Take the chance and move on quickly. You need partners who share your values, who share your ability to take care of others, and who can be self-focused with a very broad concept of self — all of us here.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — It’s not as complicated as it seems. It will be, if you try to analyze your emotions, and re-analyze them, and expect everything to add up to the same thing every time. To me, your solar chart says the place to start is to set limits, including limits on yourself. If you feel any competitive or jealous vibes, that is the place to start. If you feel resentful that you cannot express some deeply held need or even a basic feeling, that’s the place to set a limit, in the form of knowing that such cannot persist. If there is a need for leadership in your environment, everyone must play their role in a cooperative way. The challenge of your astrology seems to be finding a balance between being the center of your own world, and being part of the wider world. That balancing point involves being clear what you have to give. You are in an excellent position to offer support and affirmation, even though it’s clear that you are facing certain distinct emotional challenges. Yet as you acknowledge and work out these matters, you must stay a few levels above them, and a few steps ahead of them. Your planning must involve your probable emotional and physical state if certain conditions emerge, and include a plan to avoid those conditions. Be clear, especially with yourself. Be professional, including and especially in your own home.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Maintain your clarity of mind. There are forces in motion that are way larger than you, and they seem to be in operation in all areas of your life. You are not going to control them, but there are more and less appropriate responses. The more appropriate responses all begin with applied intelligence. Rather than being about how smart you are, this is about what you do with your information and your observations. It’s about what information you use to inform the choices you make, and knowing when you must make those choices. I assure you there will be moments when a decision seems too difficult, without enough time to think about it carefully. That is why you must be aware of your environment, prepare in advance to the extent that you can, and most of all, know yourself. The sensation of time as pressure is something to consider. Rarely will any perceived shortage of time be as urgent as you think. What is vital is that you set a structure for time, and work with a plan at all times. Set a deadline for everything. If you have to make a decision, make an inquiry and determine how much time you reasonably have. What feels like you have an hour may turn out to be two days. What feels like forever may be one week. Clarity of mind translates to time is of the essence.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You must continue to be careful with your money, though if you are both cautious and shrewd, you can come out well ahead by one month from today. Financial literacy is something that’s sorely lacking in a culture that’s supposedly all about money. However, ignorance is not your friend, not now and not ever. Presently, there are practical matters that need your attention, but the larger theme seems to be a question of honor. I know those don’t usually count for much, especially where money is concerned, though at the moment this is something that matters a great deal for you. Honor translates to impeccability. It means that all your actions with money and finance must match your stated values, including how you earn and how you allocate your resources. It’s essential that you work with a plan, and with full knowledge of how much you have at any time. Money is a measurement of power, though few people see it that way; it’s more often a place where they feel disempowered or cut off. Nobody who is good at handling or manifesting money got that way by accident. At minimum it required a decision and at most a long series of experiments, challenges and lessons. Do your part to help yourself. Get serious about your finances. Get real about how important this is to you and the people who depend on you.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — There is a sober quality to your charts this month, though it may take you a little while to catch onto that. You will the moment you get your mind out of the clouds, and away from any idealistic visions of how things might be. There are times for idealism and there are times to be fully focused on what is happening right now. If you want to unlock the potential of your moment, if you want to have it be more than a dream or a potential, I suggest you take the grounded and steady approach to your life. What is required the most of you is commitment. Not the words or the idea, but steadfast action, sustained over time. There are days when you will need to be content with less progress than you know is possible. That is why you will measure your progress in longer stretches of time than a day, a week, or even a month. When things seem difficult you must not allow yourself to lose your gumption or to choose what seem like easier options. Easier is not necessarily better, though there will be times when you’re sure that it is. In just a few weeks, Saturn will begin the process of moving from your sign to Sagittarius. Saturn has been a consistent guide and mentor to you, and in the remaining time that Saturn is in your sign, it’s necessary to internalize the Saturn principle, which translates to self-leadership.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You seem to be under pressure to get your life together, as if the responsibility gene has woken up. To me it looks more like the ‘be true to yourself’ gene is kicking you from the inside. You might say that’s the most significant responsibility you have, and at the moment it seems to be shocking you to your senses. Aspects this month may be sending you the message that this is your last chance to accomplish something of real meaning. It’s not your last chance, though it’s worth respecting the finite nature of time, and of a lifetime. Opportunities are temporary in their current form. They may reincarnate as something else, though the opportunity you have now is an original. You might be wondering if it makes sense to proceed based on a sense of frustration or limitation. For example, if you don’t resolve it before you make a move, will you carry that sensation with you into your next endeavor? There are two distinct schools of thought on this matter, one being that you begin something new exactly where you left off from the previous endeavor; therefore, never make a decision from a point of frustration. Another is that such a place offers you the necessary leverage, friction or motivation to break out of your inertia. Those moments are indeed precious, and I think they can be rooted in true strength.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You must keep your cool at all times. There will be times when this won’t be easy. You are potentially the most volatile ingredient in any situation, and in every one of those situations you have something to lose. It is of course a blight on our times how many people live like they have nothing to lose, which is creating an increasingly reckless society. You at least know you have something at stake. You can remind yourself that you depend on your friends and your allies, and that you would have little to show for your efforts had you not had their cooperation in the past, and if you don’t have it going forward. So you have a good reason to be aware of, and to adjust, your responses and your tactics. One way to know you’re in jeopardy is if you ever get the thought that you can go it alone. That may be your one warning, valid because it contains the idea that the people around you are expendable, and therefore, it does not matter how you treat them or how they feel. Yes, it can be burdensome to think about everyone and how they are doing, all the time — and I assure you that such care and attention could save your career, your reputation, your business or an important friendship. And if you stay alert and even-headed, you will have opportunities to solve problems and regain your creative grounding.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — I suggest you read a little about transactional analysis. That’s the form of therapy that developed the concept of transactions wherein people play the role of adult, parent or child. Everyone is involved in these transactions all the time, it’s just that they are rarely called what they are. Your job this month is to maintain the posture of adult. In that role, you need to relate to others as adults when possible. That is the easy part. Then comes relating to those acting like parents and children in a way that is appropriate, and wherein you don’t come out of the adult role — the place where you are stable, sane and fair-minded. People know how to play games designed to get one another out of adult role. People are, for example, constantly setting up situations where they must be treated as children, in a real sense compelling others into parent mode. You must be aware of this, not fall for it, and if you do, get back to your centered, present, adult mind as soon as you can. This is going to take some focus, as there will be situations wherein you will need to be rather bossy. With them, I suggest you do an adult thing and make sure that you establish, by agreement, the priorities and how the pecking order has to work in order to meet pre-established goals on time and in good form.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — What is it that you said you’ve always wanted to do with your life? When exactly do you think you’re going to do it? There is something in your charts saying that ‘when’ is right now. There’s something reminding you to connect your longterm vision with a point of focus — that is, to envision, to look and to actually see. That might feel like a beginning, but the truth is you began long ago. What you have in your hands is a moment when you can gather your principles all in one place, and recognize their validity. You have an even rarer moment when you can see the shape of time, and work with it. It is vitally important you recognize consciously that you have a future, and that your future is your most precious resource. It’s even more significant that you become aware of your vision, and that you connect it with these other ideas — the future and the shape of time. As you know it is easy to squander time, and that translates to being easy to squander a lifetime. Every force of nature seems to be guiding you in a better direction, that of embracing your potential as real, and honoring your own journey on Earth as a matter of integrity. This is not as dramatic as it seems, though you may have to establish some new patterns of consciousness. Like all journeys, that begins with a single step.