Washingtonian Arteriosclerosis: Saturn, Uranus, and the Paralysis of the Heart

February 5, 2009

As you read this, Saturn and Uranus are giving each other a nod from across the skies, making their second opposition in a series of five. This is one of the most challenging of planetary combinations, as there are no more dissimilar planets than these. Saturn holds the status quo and is (not necessarily politically) conservative, because its job is to build things that last, then do what’s required to maintain them. No passing the buck here. Uranus on the other hand gives us the sudden, sharp shock to the system that brings it back to life where it has stagnated, sometimes triggering radical change. It induces flexibility, vitality, and rejuvenation.

This is what happened with the election in November. To see how stunningly these planets can interact, consider the probability of electing the first African-American president of the United States, directly after George W. Bush!

This Is the Time of Our Maximum Divide.
In politics, the exact opposition of Saturn and Uranus also has to do with the divide between progressive elements in government and “retro” conservative elements that resist change. Each of these archetypes tempers the other and needs to co-exist to create a healthy (government) system. On a deeper level, what we are seeing is the rebalancing of the scales between these two segments of government.

One of the possible effects of an opposition in human affairs is a hardening of factions, and that’s what we see now. This has resulted in one of the shortest presidential honeymoon periods on record. This hardening of the arteries of government now threatens the life of the nation and its ability to survive. In this, the second opposition, it is the time of our maximum divide --- when a shift has begun, but the old deposed faction is running scared and hasn't yet seen the good in it all.

However, this is not surprising, if you understand human behavior. When there is a sea change brought on by events, people are thrust deep into their inner, psycho-spiritual wound. They are frightened, and all their deepest fears are articulated internally, about their own survival and whatever shadows of the past remain there. The Republicans as a group are frightened about their survival. They are thrashing around like a trapped animal, fighting for their life. It is no wonder that the hardest most bitter side of their persona is being expressed right now. It’s the only way they know how to play the game, yet they do not see how their adamantine position makes the situation infinitely worse.

Saturn and Uranus have been building toward their opposition over the past eight years. While the elements of radical change against the oligarchic status quo were submerged, it appeared as though Saturn had won. The Saturnian group (the party in power, the Republicans) hardened into a faction. A faction works solely toward its own petty ends and does not seek reconciliation with others but justification for its existence within. It plays a “king-of-the-hill” game with others, its only goal to win at any cost. Thom Hartmann, in his book Cracking the Code, points out that we should not make the mistake of thinking that Republicans are playing democracy. They are not. They are playing “win at any cost” and do not place country before party. (paraphrased)

Obama is trying to get them to play democracy again, and over the long haul, they may — they must — start doing so. However, it is likely to take the full extent of the Saturn-Uranus interaction — through July 2010 — for them to get it. The factions were not built in a day, and they will take time to break down. It is understandable that, as Saturn and Uranus make their second opposition, the stimulus package would become the football in a petty king-of-the-hill skirmish. With the Republicans holding the nation’s economy hostage over less than 1% of the package’s spending, it is truly a case of barking and whining at shadows.

It All Started With the Two Santa Clauses.
The seeds for this shift in power were planted in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement – and the last time Saturn and Uranus opposed each other. There is a revealing article by Thom Hartmann, “How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years”. It details the cataclysmically simple manner in which the Democratically developed “good for all” system was sabotaged by Republicans in a blatant power grab that showed careless disregard for the good of the nation.

In it, he explains the strategy that was devised by Jude Wanniski for twisting the social democratic principles of the good-for-all system. Hartmann says,
By 1974, Jude Wanniski had had enough. The Democrats got to play Santa Claus when they passed out Social Security and Unemployment checks--both programs of the New Deal--as well as when their "big government" projects like roads, bridges, and highways were built giving a healthy union paycheck to construction workers. They kept raising taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things, which didn't seem to have much effect at all on working people (wages were steadily going up, in fact), and that made them seem like a party of Robin Hoods, taking from the rich to fund programs for the poor and the working class. Americans loved it. And every time Republicans railed against these programs, they lost elections.

In 1976, he rolled out to the hard-right insiders in the Republican Party his "Two Santa Clauses" theory, which would enable the Republicans to take power in America for the next thirty years.

Democrats, he said, had been able to be "Santa Clauses" by giving people things from the largesse of the federal government. Republicans could do that, too--spending could actually increase. Plus, Republicans could be double Santa Clauses by cutting people's taxes! For working people it would only be a small token--a few hundred dollars a year on average – but would be heavily marketed. And for the rich it would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts. The rich, in turn, would use that money to import or build more stuff to market, thus increasing supply and stimulating the economy. And that growth in the economy would mean that the people still paying taxes would pay more because they were earning more.
And thus we have the current situation.

Obama’s Role
What will come of this rebalancing process, the first that occurred after the mid-60s revolutionary period? Obama is set on reconciling the opposites, because that is what he has to do in so many ways with his chart. His birth chart is full of paradoxes, and he is hard for people to figure out because of that. As long as he maintains his center and does not throw himself (and his principles) away to the conservatives, he will be successful. However, he’s learning too.

I am deeply disappointed in the direction of his economic team, which is essentially headed by Larry Summers. However, I am not surprised. It is highly unlikely (but sad to see) that in human affairs of state we will get it right on the first try. There will be at least one more economic stimulus plan, because this one isn’t going to work very well. Too much of the old system is still incorporated in the plan: tax cuts to the wrong people, pay-outs to corporations, as concessions to the Republicans. It isn’t progressive enough — Summers isn’t listening to the right voices.

Perhaps the Democrats are discovering that they have the power to put in the process what they REALLY want, and that they need to come to the table with their full agenda, instead of putting what the Republicans want in before negotiations start. It is okay to bring your full vision of perfection into the light of day, even though it has been deeply damaged in the past.

The Saturn-Uranus Healing Journey
Withe the Saturn-Uranus interaction lasting two years, it represents a long process that does provide rewards over time. Many Democrats are bitter and resentful about the way they were cruelly ostracized and marginalized when the Republicans were in the majority. Yet, the best way to heal the chasm that exists between the two parties is to listen to and be open to each other. Evidently, the Democrats will be teaching the Republicans how to do democracy again, and revive the heartbeat of the nation.

Now that Uranus has injected its dynamism, the situation has been turned on its head: The outsider-progressives are now in the status-quo position, and the Republicans the radical opposition. We are just about learning to cope.

© Terry Lamb