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Taking A Last Look
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

IS THE world your oyster? The oyster metaphor seems to affirm that we are in our rightful place, equipped with all we need and protected by an aura of security and wellbeing: revved up and good to go, in other words. Not many of us feel that way at this point.

Planet Waves
Illustration by Danielle Voirin.
I read a witty article the other day in which the author said, with a bit of gloom, that he usually gets the lollipop with the fuzz on it. I know the feeling. But a lolly is a lolly; maybe that's oyster enough. Maybe that's all we'll need during this transitional period.

When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I think out loud. Today I'm thinking out loud about cycles -- about how far we've traveled and how shockingly apparent things, that would have run us in the last political cycle, have become; how quickly things have fallen apart in the last months, how gaping the holes in the system. A lot of people who thought the world was their oyster -- theirs and nobody else's -- are suddenly finding a fuzzy lollipop in their hand and wondering what went wrong. About damned time!

Most of us, of course, are members of the Lollipop Guild. Our oyster days are behind us, as least for the time being. Just about everyone I know is facing difficulties: professional, economic or personal, or supporting loved ones through such struggles. It's a big cosmic squeeze these days just to get through the day. So many of us are facing survival issues our third chakra is dictating our lives; this chakra is a power center located near our navel.

As we clear blockage in this area, some of us are sporting little Buddha bellies we can't seem to get rid of, carrying the weight of life in obvious ways. If you're nodding in agreement, don't fret; this is appropriate and, hopefully, temporary. As we go through this shift of an era, issues of power are shifting as well.

Pluto is doing its final spin through Sagittarius so we're getting a last look at some of the things that defined that long period. I'm heartened that our response to these issues, at long last, has finally taken on some semblance of sanity. Religion is one of those things that led us on a mad dance in the last years. Western culture has had no end of difficulty actually understanding the meaning of jihad and spent entirely too much time studying the prospects of the Rapture and the possibility of Armageddon.

Just think where we might be today if we hadn't gotten sidetracked in this nonsense. Perhaps it would have been wiser to deal with actual problems as opposed to the fictional and/or prophetic, but I suppose without having these unfounded fears looping in our conversation, we'd still be asleep to governmental and corporate abuse. These years have provided us the fodder for change, the hunger for transformation.

James Dobson, the Big Daddy of the theocratic Evangelical movement, has had access to the White House from Bush's early months in Washington. Recently he accused Barack Obama of "distorting" the Bible and holding "fruitcake" notions about the Constitution. (James, James, that's so yesterday ... if yesterday was the 12th century.) Obama got right back to him on that and accused him of "making stuff up."

According to the polls, most people agree with Obama's statement. New surveys find the population much more relaxed about the shoulds and have to-s of religious thought than we've been led to believe. And frankly, they're indicating an advanced case of weariness over the entire topic. Being forced to examine every jot and tittle of religious extremism has given us opportunity to claim our own belief system. Bad news for the Evangelicals and a fuzzy lolly for James -- his oyster days are gone forever.

And speaking of the Rapture, John McCain has said that a draft would be appropriate to World War III. Since he's also agreed with Newt Gingrich's notion that we're in the early stages of a Third World War, I think we can all see where this is going; especially since McCain's top adviser is on record as having said another attack on the United States would be a "big advantage" for his candidate. Transparent enough for you?

John Bolton's recent assertion that Israel will attack Iran prior to a new president being sworn in, echoed by conservative New York Times columnist William Kristol's comments on Fox News that an Obama victory could prompt Mr. Bush to launch attacks against Iran, makes a pretty potent statement about where the GOP wants to take us in the future. With McCain's polling numbers so listless, and with the majority of Americans tired of warring, one would think they'd change their tune; but they're sticking with it, led by an increasingly daft president who is sure this is the path to both his legacy and the prospect of democracy sweeping the Middle East.

Too much molehill, too little mountain in their plans, I think; too much chest-thumping and too little understanding of either the area or the process of nation building. And certainly too much arrogance in terms of the desires of the American people. The more we hear these kinds of statements, the more the public stops picking the fuzz off their lollipops to roll their eyes and wonder if the government could be any less sensitive to their needs or safety.

Mr. Bush's tenure, coinciding with the last years of the Pluto transit in Sagittarius, will go down in memory as a great black hole of confusion and deliberate manipulation; and all during that time, the president himself never gave us a sense that the world wasn't his own personal oyster. No, with every published bit and piece we learned that all was well, all was peaceful; he slept well at night and was enjoying his tenure in the White House. Even now he gives us that impression, loathe to let the slightest bit of defeat slip into his comments, despite the lowest popularity numbers on record.

In stunning ways, the government is in a holding pattern now, counting down the 200-plus days Bush has left. The Government Accountability Office has assessed Bush's war and found that the expectations imposed on it by Bush and the Pentagon are irrational: the report is being ignored. The Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling last year, gathered information on greenhouse gases and public safety for the Bush administration, yet the White House refused to open the e-mail and it's been in limbo for six months. It remains unopened to this day, while the EPA is preparing a watered-down report in its stead. Evidently, if you don't read it, it isn't true. It's no wonder Mr. Bush feels happy-go-lucky and fit-as-a-fiddle; his political machine is protecting him to the bitter end, but that bubble he lives in has a timeline -- the world won't be his oyster much longer.

Even rich pets can't count on oysters, these days. Leona Helmsley, a woman described as "The Queen of Mean," left her nasty-tempered little dog $12,000,000 recently. The world was Leona's oyster, although she ended up serving some time for tax evasion; only "little people" pay taxes, said the Queen. Now her dog, who is aptly named Trouble, has had his inheritance reduced to a mere pittance by an unsympathetic court.

Trouble will only be able to count on $2 million for the rest of his life, as a judge decided Helmsley's grandchildren, ignored in her will, should have something as well. Since his annual expenses total $190,000, perhaps Trouble will have a little Buddha belly toward the end, worrying about his doggy future; or not. Two million bucks is a lot of puppy biscuits, and I can almost guarantee there won't be any fuzz on them. When I think of how many malnourished children that money would feed, I have to agree with Leona's nickname.

Coming to harsh reality after all these years of being sent on a fool's errand for the Religious right and the neo-conservative vision of imperialism is reason enough not to feel cozy and protected in our oyster shell. Add that we've endured practically no oversight on government, assaults from predatory capitalism and little assistance from media in decoding the truth from the outright lies.

The public has been left vulnerable and disillusioned. We've had to find our way through this maze ourselves, discovering the websites and news providers that matched our own experience with factual information. We've learned a lot the hard way, and we're wary of being led down the primrose path again. Let me quote George Bush to illustrate: "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." (One of the obvious perks of electing a new president is no longer having to squirm through a Bushism.)

This little retrograde review we're doing will be over soon, and we'll be back to the no-nonsense energy of Pluto in Capricorn. One way of looking at it is that authority will get worked over now, instead of philosophy. We'll turn over every (Federal) rock, investigate every (corporate) shadow and make the necessary corrections that have been waiting their turn at the balance wheel. Since we've lived through an escalated period of collapse and wobble already, the work of transforming the governmental body shouldn't be so shocking a social experiment as the last. I think that was the worst of it, don't you? We were so blindsided, so unprepared. We can't plead that kind of naïveté any more and we can count that a sign of progress. We're collectively working toward that moment, as Albert Einstein puts it, where, "There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there. All great discoveries have involved such a leap."
What is fading away has taught us so much; let's take a moment, push back our worries and appreciate how much we've grown. We're coming to a new consciousness, and a recognition that the oyster thing didn't turn out so well for most of us -- if we want the kind of assurances that come from freedom and security and opportunity, then we need to create a world that gives every one of us that kind of future. That's the work. Pick the fuzz off your lolly, log in to your alternative media and let's get to it.

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