“What is needed now, more than ever, is leadership that steers us away from fear and fosters greater confidence in the inherent goodness and ingenuity of humanity,” — former US President Jimmy Carter
All last week, I looked intently at local, national and specific international events. It’s been both exhilarating and painful to watch the world turn this month. Orlando. Occupy Congress. Brexit. The Supreme Court. But today, I want to share something that’s more from my armchair than from my soapbox. A broader picture.
Even while American women celebrate the Supreme Court overturning a Texas law that severely limited access to abortion, our fellow sisters — new immigrants and their daughters, who lost access to health services because of the Texas ruling — now face larger issues: their very existence in this country. The stalemate in a Scalia-less Supreme Court sent the Obama Administration’s immigrant amnesty program packing back to the lower court; that lower court ruled it unconstitutional, basically nullifying it.
The rise of demagoguery in our politics generates so much id-based reaction against the Other that we’re not quite sure if we’re in the present looking forward to the future, or looking to the past: the anti-immigrant sentiment that fueled the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s particular brand of anti-immigrant idiocy makes us squirm in embarrassment for both our countries.
People are angry, scared and trying to re-empower themselves. That goes for the white male demographic who feel the fade of their power and influence in every sector of society: witness their need for weapons to ensure we haven’t forgotten they’re still in the same room with us, armed and ready. It also goes for the female demographic rising up towards gender equity in pay, and fighting to preserve our reproductive freedom. It goes for every man, woman and child living in this country “illegally” until leadership figures out how to “manage” the browning of the country in this new century, as well as accommodate the gender fluidity of its citizens.
Feelings are things that cannot be managed, yet they are easily manipulated. Feelings are an ultimate indicator; they are what we use to make decisions affecting our everyday lives on a profound level. Like voting for president or for a referendum on your country’s economic independence.
Here, the problem is that as a Cancer Sun nation we are a feeling entity, and we tend to lose sight of thought. The economic state of the world and our immediate, virtual access to every moment of its existence make us want to distrust and question anything that does not accord with the beliefs we already hold. The information we do get is often not complete, or even true. How can we trust the information we receive?
Furthermore, many pollsters ask how you FEEL about one political situation or the next. Your emotions then inform the potential electorate which way the wind blows, regardless of facts. With the methodology of modern-day campaigning and use of the internet to explore ideas and exploit reactions, the calm coolness of thought usually does not make us rise up and move towards the voting booth. But passion does. Then our reactions become the facts.
The Twitter feeds that help organize massive rallies to Feel the Bern also fuel Mr. Trump’s supporters to throw invective at us “libtards,” and organize American neo-Nazis to rally. Supporters of both sides lurking out there feel the same way: sanctioned because they have allies, and fear-based “fact” behind them.
Yet it’s that same internet that brought us John Lewis and the 24-hour occupation of Congress by Congressional Democrats. It showed us — in the way the Arab Spring uprising did in Egypt’s Tahrir Square — that we, too, can prove “the whole world is watching,” and can make what was once an intractable Congress shift. Even if but a little.
Our country’s Aquarian Moon has great potential for revolutionary ideas and crystallizing them into being. But some of these great ideas have careened past their original intent. We see the results of that. We’re all struggling with the changing of our place in the globalized high-tech world, which has sped up the planet.
Our actions have also accelerated the karmic wheel. Immigrants fleeing the Gulf Wars and climate change are coming to the US; immigrants from economically depressed areas of Europe are seeking economic opportunity in the UK as a result of EU austerity. The result is the same: palpable tension.
Yes I know, it’s all big-picture stuff. But maybe the bigger picture is what we need at the moment. I want my country to trust our thinking Moon to inform our feeling Sun. I want us to be warm hearted and open minded, as we have always idealized ourselves to be. I want us to flush all thought of a small-fingered narcissist in the White House down the toilet where he belongs.
I want us to respond to the world, not react. A good response requires truth, and thought about that truth, with ideas that are clear, well-informed and broad-minded, coming from informed hearts that are compassionate, open and visionary. How much more can we evolve from the challenge of today’s turmoil? How else can we try?
Our thoughts and feelings are ours to own. But the lens through which we view the world, which informs thought and emotion, must be able to encompass the wideness and depth of the world — as well as focus like a laser on its most poignant, individual moments and their meaning. We have the capability to do it. We have to look to make sure we model the best of our thoughts and feelings for others to follow, like John Lewis did. Now more than ever by our hearts and minds we are connected — all of us — to each other.