Posted by Fe Bongolan


The soul of the country is at stake now more than ever. Our national facade suggests we are doing fine as a nation, but we are a nation with a troubled past and present, a nation of increasing “have-nots” versus “haves.” Fe Bongolan brings her political introspection to frame tomorrow night’s Democratic presidential debates.

Typical of the season of the scales, we must weigh and balance the political decisions of our lives as the evidence is placed before us. Looking at the next series of debates by the Democratic candidates for the 2016 Presidential nomination, which begin tomorrow night, we are in for a bit of a dilemma.

My friend Harris posted an interesting comment on Facebook this morning, which sums up for me what I’ve been feeling since the campaigns began this summer:

“I have not made any comments about the Democratic presidential nomination for several months, mostly because I am genuinely undecided and partly because the conversation[s] I’ve initiated have not ended well.

Here goes: I need some help and hope I can get some serious and not some “talking point” kind of responses. I dread having to vote for Hillary Clinton but will gladly do so if she is the nominee.

I am completely agnostic about Bernie Sanders though I support most of his positions. I am agnostic because I have a very difficult time supporting a candidate for the Democratic nomination who, as of late July, was supported by 2% of African-Americans and 9% non-white voters (versus 61% for Clinton.)

I am troubled by this for core ideological reasons that need no explanation but also because it is impossible for me to understand how a Democrat can win a general election if those numbers are not closer to 70% (though to be fair, I should pose this as a “relative electability” issue since i’ts not all clear to me at this point that Hillary would win next year, especially if one of the slightly credible Republicans is nominated.)

1) Yes, Sanders’ non-white support may have increased since July; 2) Yes, Sanders, if the nominee, would inherit much stronger non-white support (but I doubt at the levels needed to win an election); 3) No I don’t believe the polls are “skewed” or somehow don’t pick up a much larger level of support among non-white voters.”

At the end of Harris’ comment, he made an interesting plea: “do you have anything helpful to tell me that could get me more comfortable voting for Bernie Sanders?”

Harris’ comment solidified what I’ve been feeling all summer. That Bernie Sanders has been a very good populist on the issues. Hillary Clinton raises some big concerns amongst those who remember the 1990s, and her support among the 1% is worrisome. But, is Bernie’s populism enough to get elected, especially in these days of Black Lives Matter, the growing police state war against the poor and minorities? Would Bernie Sanders end up as polarizing a President as Barack Obama has been amongst the extreme ends of the American political spectrum?

Watching the commentary on the political blogs, it seems Sanders supporters have had to take these issues to heart. For some, that is a hard pill to swallow. Mr. Sanders’ populism has generated serious and growing crowds for his appearances, but given that a large segment of the American population — people of color, specifically African-Americans — are under extreme duress, Mr. Sanders’ position on income inequality does not resonate completely. It does not provide a safety shield for the African Americans and other people of color who are in extreme peril at the hands of police today as we speak.

I have regard for Hillary Clinton. I think as Secretary of State she has taken steps to assure her foreign policy credibility, and appears to take absolutely no guff from Republicans and their bullshit thrown at her for the last twenty-odd years. But Hillary is supported by a swath of people who have taken advantage of closeness to the Clintons to benefit financially– big corporations who have run the agenda of the country to our detriment and threaten to do so even more now that money has become speech under Citizens United.

Vice-President Biden, as much as I love old lovable “Uncle Joe,” seems to be dabbling in pursuit of the primaries, but has not yet formally announced. He has admitted openly that the grief he feels for losing his son Beau Biden to cancer this year has taken an emotional toll that makes a political campaign even harder. Campaigns are already an emotional trial for anyone in good shape. He could do it, but does he have the heart to endure the rigors of what would be a rough campaign against his Democratic challengers, and again against a rabid Republican nominee?

These are the questions we ask ourselves as we listen to the frontrunners who face the cameras tomorrow night. Even though we are fortunate to not have to choose which candidate generates the most hatred against gays and lesbians, women seeking abortion, Muslims, immigrants and gun control, we still have a thoughtful process to undergo. Who is right for the country at this point in its history? What do we need to keep the U.S. moving towards being a place that is just, equal and peaceful?

We have not answered those questions yet with our current leadership. Most of us have been and continue to be “pocketbook voters,” as in, “How does this candidate affect my personal bottom line?” But lives are at stake, now more than ever. As some people in America express concern over the ability to pay a mortgage, others are figuring out how to teach their children to not get picked up and killed by police.

The soul of the country is at stake now more than ever. Our national facade suggests we are doing fine as a nation, but we are a nation with a troubled past and present, a nation of increasing “have-nots” versus “haves.” We’re a nation of people who must decide whether or not to accept our changing role in a world that is poised and challenging us to meet it halfway; we can no longer insist on “my way or the highway.” As a nation, we still must address our past crimes against humanity.

We are a nation of people who are other than white, middle class, Christian and straight. And more and more, because of our actions and inaction in the past, we are facing karma in the form of immigrants who have had to leave their own countries for safety in ours, due to the mess we created in theirs.

It’s a much smaller, more interconnected world. We have seen the price paid for our mistakes across many nations. This price will come up again and again until we rectify our actions and re-define our national interests. We can no longer afford to think only of our comfort, but regard and address the pressure we have put on the world and each other. Our dilemma remains: who and what will put us on the right path to meet the challenges of a future we need to share with the rest of the Earth?

See you below in the comments.

Posted in Welcome on | 9 comments
Fe Bongolan

About Fe Bongolan

Planet Waves writer Fe Bongolan lives in Oakland, California. Her column, "Fe-911," has been featured on Planet Waves since 2008. As an actor and dramaturge, Fe is a core member of Cultural Odyssey's "The Medea Project -- Theater for Incarcerated Women," producing work that empowers the voices of all women in trouble, from ex-offenders, women with HIV-AIDS, to young girls and women at risk. A Planet Waves fan from almost the beginning of Eric's astrology career, Fe is a public sector employee who describes herself as a "mystical public servant." When it comes to art, culture and politics, she loves reading between the lines.

9 thoughts on “Dilemma

  1. Barbara Koehler

    Oh Fe, it’s so true, Libra times call for weighing the pros and cons of every little decision, and tomorrow’s debate will move us in ways we’ve not considered yet, regarding our best choice for the next Democratic presidential candidate. Seems to me that we are in a conditioning process, and with transiting Uranus (albeit retrograde) opposite the Libra New Moon today, there appears to be a portal that’s being offered to speed up the process. A way through.

    Harris, you and I aren’t the only ones torn between the safer choice (most likely to win based on what we’ve learned from past elections) and the revolutionary possibilities promised by the other choice. If we had no eyes to judge, sigh, . . . could a cranky 70-something old man even survive the brutal campaign for more than a year? How long would he last after that if he did? How would he deal with Putin, etc.? We know Hillary is made of sterner stuff than most of us; she would be a “first”, a break-through for women, she knows the ropes, she’s smart. . .but. . . . we would LOVE to revolutionize the present system wouldn’t we?

    This is probably a common “feeling” among many of us who see ourselves as progressive on issues but still aware of the realities (hurdles) associated with getting anyone, especially a President, elected in the U.S. It is a time to think with our hearts IMO, and the old common sense of voting for the most electable candidate means disregarding this opening for a leap forward in Evolution. Do you know what I mean? These are not your ordinary presidential primary periods are they?

    A year before Barack Obama was first elected, transiting Jupiter was crossing over the U.S. ascendant. Pluto had not yet entered Capricorn. We had no idea what was coming, but we were inspired. That Election day in November 2008 the 1st Saturn opposite Uranus (of 5) took place . Today Uranus opposes the Sun-Moon in Libra and it’s effects will last for weeks. My hope is that we will build on the awareness we are going to gain from it. Today’s New Moon is only 1 degree away from the U.S. Juno and she never got a fair shake did she? Maybe this is her breakthrough moment, or at least one of many.

    Tomorrow’s debate holds a sextile between Saturn in Sagittarius and Mercury in Libra. The full moon in 15 days (the last in the series of 3 super full moons in a row) in Taurus forms a Yod or Finger of God pattern with tomorrow’s sextile, meaning that the Taurus Full Moon must make some adjustment if, like I, you see it as connected to today’s New Moon, which also holds the sextile between Saturn and Mercury.

    That 3rd super full moon at 3+ Taurus, activates/awakens the Discovery charts of both Chiron and Uranus because that’s the degree where Chiron was when he was discovered and where he was when Uranus was discovered. It is an interesting coincidence that Bernie Sanders’ natal Nessus (addresses issues of power abuse) is also at 3+ Taurus. I suspect Sanders will “adjust” to the needs of those groups he hasn’t fully addressed yet; the adrenalin will rise in time as he, channeling the physician Chiron, becomes more aware of them. Sanders also has Sauer (named for the rocket scientist) at 3+ Taurus, and so it’s likely he can get these issues off the ground and into the air.

    We are being led in the direction we need to go, but we can over-think (especially with all the Libra energy now), but if we let our hearts in on the decision-making it will be much easier to get past the crossroad and down that path. Can’t wait to see how it goes tomorrow. Thanks for the warm-up Fe, and for keeping us moving forward.

    1. Barbara Koehler

      What aliens must see as they observe the USA is a country preparing to breakthrough a history of only male presidents, or a breakthrough from big money owned presidents, or disintegration into chaos. As U.S. voting citizens, these are our choices.

      1. Fe BongolanFe Bongolan

        Ms. Be:

        As always, a true pleasure to have your input in my columns — your words bring so much clarity.

        Either way, Hillary or Bernie or both, we have a breakthrough, regardless of our current struggle with decision -making. Its a good place to be.

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