Morituri te salutamus

Morituri te salutamus — “We who are about to die salute you” — is chanted by gladiators before the Emperor as they enter into battle, to fight until the last one is standing in the pits. Which brings me to the Republican Party’s presidential debate last night at the Reagan Library.

I am somewhat of a political junkie. I get worked up when the wheels start rolling on the American political process. American Presidential campaigns can be an exciting and aggravating process to watch as we try to winnow down our choices for who is going to sit in the Oval Office. But if you know what you’re watching out for, it can be quite fun.

It was especially fun for me in 2008. We were at long-last about to say goodbye and good riddance to the Bush-Cheney regime, and elect the new: new party and new face in the White House. And truth be told, even with all their faults, mistakes, broken promises, and all the baggage of the awful office that is the American Presidency, we didn’t do too badly.

Yet today I feel helpless watching the Republican Party presidential debates. I started by covering the first one last month sponsored by Fox News as a joke, which it was. Continuing with last night’s debates sponsored by CNN at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley — except for some minor team additions — not much has changed.

When we look back to assess what really happened at last night’s Republican debates at the Reagan Library, we shouldn’t focus too long on the “gotcha” remarks that score points over a 24-hour news cycle; or analyze how much blood CNN news personality Jake Tapper was drawing between Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump — or for that matter everyone else on stage and Donald Trump, since his remarks insult and demean anyone in America he thinks of.

We know there’s nothing there in the substance of the show. And it is a show. The debates are elimination duels. With 16 contenders you can imagine why. Yet the way we’re conducting the elimination process didn’t help much.

Last night reminded me of gladiatorial spectacle: words are swords and spears to throw; candidates attack and try to eliminate each other; beating their chests to show their cred on controlling women; running corporations; scapegoating Muslims and Mexicans; hating the gays, the Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood and Obama. All the convenient bugaboos that trigger amygdala (lizard brain) reaction by Republicans in America, which is unfortunately a measure of success for a Republican presidential wanna-be. So far, the only casualty remains former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

This candidate ‘refining’ through debate is equivalent to the imperial ‘thumbs down’, only this time the thumb is by the people in the debate hall and the network applause meter. On top of that, each candidate has staffed the seats of the debate hall with as many of their supporters as possible — to give the audience applause more boost for their chosen politician while on camera. I’ve watched this happen first-hand. The cards are already stacked for the show. It’s been that way for years.

Do we know anything else about these people that would make you envision them tackling the weighty problems that go through the doors to the Oval Office every day? No? Thought so. Entertainment value now weighs more than the future.

Which is probably another reason why Donald Trump remains in the race. His outrageous remarks on the campaign trail are just the right amount of mass distraction. It’s the political equivalent of CNN’s ongoing coverage of Malaysian Airlines flight 370. Furthermore, why would we give a shit as to what your Secret Service nickname would be when we’re not sure you wouldn’t shit yourself when given the red button to push, or if you’d have the intelligence not to use it? Why do we even ask these things?

The way that news networks conduct campaign coverage like it’s “Dancing With the Stars” is costing us democracy. And whoever came up with the ‘candidate we most likely want to have a beer with’ criteria — the criteria used to help elect George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, one of the worst administrations in the 21st century — should be ostracized on a deserted island, forever.

That Vice President Joe Biden was able to get a more human picture himself out there in an interview with Stephen Colbert than in a CNN debate (though he didn’t do too badly there, either, in 2012) should say volumes on the circus American news coverage of politics has become. Why aren’t the news cameras interested in looking more closely?

I am sick of the polarization of our politics. Even as a Democrat, I am interested in hearing what the Republican side has to say. I recall conservatives having some sensible ideas when it came to government. I guess those people are gone, or drowned out.

We have incredibly high-end technology to monitor and scrutinize the movements and words of every last candidate, yet we have failed in making sure the audience these candidates are wooing are informed enough to make wise decisions as to whether they should lead us. That is mostly intentional, and we have discussed why that is here and elsewhere many times before.

I guess the rest belongs to us in demanding more than what we’re getting in the news networks’ coverage and their efforts on behalf of the public’s interest, like with these debates this next year. Given the state of the planet and its people, this is no time for games or game shows. The future, should we choose to accept it or even care to know about it, begins now.

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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.

8 thoughts on “Morituri te salutamus

  1. Barbara Koehler

    Hey Fe, you see gladiators, I see a beauty pageant, swimsuit competition. “We have failed in making sure the audience these candidates are wooing are informed enough to make wise decisions. . ” pretty much sums it up. If only ALL voters realized the qualifications and attributes necessary to be a great president we would not have to go through this process the way we do. Somewhere along the way we took our eye of the ball. When exactly did teachers quit teaching kids about history and civics?

    Well, there IS a lot of emphasis on entertainment in the U.S Solar Return chart for this time frame. Jupiter and Venus in Leo (Leo!) were trine Pholus (pass the wine please) in Sagittarius and Uranus + Persephone (what just happened and where am I now?) in Aries who were conjunct the U.S Chiron. Karma was opposite the U.S. Saturn. Tsk, tsk. (that’ll learn ya)

    Oh, and the Moon was in Pisces. In fact, now that Saturn has moved into Sagittarius, he will soon exact a square with the U.S. solar return Moon (1+ Pisces) for a 3rd time before he exacts his square with transiting Neptune on Thanksgiving day. Perhaps when we get past all the falderal of this year’s solar return chart, the U.S will snap out of it’s silliness. Then we can get on to the evening gown competition.

    Or maybe not. Next year’s U.S Solar Return (July 2016-17) has Sun and moon on the same page, just starting a new cycle while Neptune-conjunct- the-south node opposes Jupiter-conjunct-the-north node, and Saturn will only be half way through his triple square with Neptune. At least Neptune is through squaring the U.S. Uranus by the U.S. birthday, so there is hope in that. Saturn will have one last swing over the U.S. Sibly chart’s ascendant (12+ Sagittarius) in October 2016, so we should be sober enough by Election Day to get out the vote. Hang in there dearheart.

  2. Fe Bongolan Post author

    Hey B:

    I keep thinking about all your work on our Sibley, and come to the conclusion that we still seem to need a bit of machismo and man0-a-mano in our Presidents. This is what some folks call being “Presidential”. In most cases that means dominant white male, which Trump personifies to a T.

    Next year’s U.S Solar Return (July 2016-17) has Sun and moon on the same page, just starting a new cycle while Neptune-conjunct- the-south node opposes Jupiter-conjunct-the-north node, and Saturn will only be half way through his triple square with Neptune. At least Neptune is through squaring the U.S. Uranus by the U.S. birthday, so there is hope in that. Saturn will have one last swing over the U.S. Sibly chart’s ascendant (12+ Sagittarius) in October 2016, so we should be sober enough by Election Day to get out the vote.

    Do we have a time frame of reference on Neptune squaring US Uranus? When did it begin? That would give us a good historical marker on when the malarkey started.

  3. Barbara Koehler

    Look, this is not a Republican t-shirt slogan but in fact ,the USA is destined for greatness. There is absolutely no ego involved in that remark because all 3 of the (known) major transiting outer planets have been targeting (at the same time) some part of the U.S. natal (Sibly version) chart. Trans. Pluto opposes the U.S. Sun, trans. Neptune squares the U.S. Uranus, trans. Uranus conjuncts the U.S. Chiron. Trans. Neptune also conjuncts the U.S. Ceres, and trans Pluto also squares the U.S. Saturn, and transiting Uranus also opposes the U.S. Juno. What are some of the visible results of these outer energetics being squirted into the veins of the United States of America?

    Speeded up climate changes, government structures disintegrating, fractured and dissolving social and geographical boundaries, and technology outpacing the human mind. Some citizens react with fear, anger and resistance, others by turning a blind eye (like my hairdresser) in order to preserve their sanity (stability), and still others are determined to solve the problems we are beset by. Somewhere in between the panic and the passivity there is opportunity for greatness. Like climbing a steep narrow path (on a donkey!) up a mountain, we must stay focused, calm and trust in some greater power (than our own); and no, Kim Davis did NOT help me with this comment.

    On Monday, transiting Sun at 21+ Virgo opposed trans. Chaos at 21+ Gemini and squared transiting (untrustworthy) Ixion at 21+ Sagittarius. On Tuesday, trans. Sun at 22+ Virgo was conjunct the U.S. natal Neptune at 22+ Virgo, and on Wednesday the trans. Sun at 23+ Virgo was conjunct the U.S natal Chaos at 23+ Virgo. It’s only because of all this Virgo in the air that I’m able to even gather these insane details. It’s been a bizarre week out of a bizarre period of time. But. .

    I remember those sane Republicans too Jude, so, where, with nowhere to hide, have they gone? Has fear (or embarrassment or shame) driven them underground? Well, they are out there, some of them write blogs and some of them show up on talk shows (mostly MSNBC). With almost daily polls out now, there are few heroes on the Pub side to chastise their fellow Pubs (even fewer would take on the Donald) since it’s apparent that the natives are beyond restless. They are out for blood.

    I’ll give you the dates of when trans. Neptune was in the same degree that exactly squares the degree of the U.S. Uranus Fe, 8 Gemini 55, but remember that Neptune disregards the rules regarding bothersome orbs of effectiveness. Trans. Neptune stationed retrograde at 7 Pisces 35 on June 9, 2014, one degree from the U.S. Uranus square. He was in that degree from April 24, 2014 through July 27, 2014, due to his lengthy stationing process. On March 18, 2015, trans. Neptune reached 8 Pisces 0, staying in that degree through April 17th.

    Retrograde trans. Neptune was at 8 Pisces 59 starting on August 10, 2015, staying in that degree until September 17th, yesterday. He will return, in direct motion, to that degree on January 18, 2016, and remain until February 15th.

    Coincidentally,ransiting Jupiter will be conjunct (exact same degree) the U.S Neptune (22+ Virgo) from December 15, 2015 through December 26th, and from January 21, 2016 through February 5, stationing retrograde there on January 8th or 9th. Transiting Jupiter’s final conjunction (during this cycle) to U.S. Neptune will be from July 20 through July 26, 2016. That period in late January though early February 2015 should be a doozy with all that Neptune, transiting and natal.

    I’ve been pondering how the trickle-down effect that this outer-planet, higher-dimension program works on human beings, the many parts of the Whole, and it obviously isn’t meant to be a full voltage process. It’s a detoxification (release) simultaneous with a series of immunizations meant to shield “us” from further toxic vibes, over a period of time. We may lose our hair in the process but we will be able to withstand the unleashing of venom that the process elicits. We must learn to not be shocked by the awesome stench and depravity of it all, but call for help when it gets overpowering. We’re all in it together.

  4. Barbara Koehler

    To be clear, transiting Jupiter will station retrograde at 23+ Virgo, conjunct the U.S. Chaos, not (exactly) conjunct the U.S. Neptune at 22+ Virgo. That will happen on January 21st of 2016./be

  5. Len Wallick

    Fe: When you first set forth to serve among those at Planet Waves who would ably sort the wheat from the chaff in this presidential campaign, i was concerned about the psychic toll it might take on you. It’s comforting to know you are conscious of that hazard is manifesting, and girding yourself appropriately. For you will likely never find a more wretched hive of pretense and pandering than the Republican primary race as it is now developing. Thank you for stepping into so as to hold many of the rest of us above.

  6. Fe Bongolan Post author

    I adore you Len.

    Yes, it’s toxic out there, which is why I needed to keep at hovering altitude this year and into next. And I think the more we all here at PW keep our heads above the brackish water of the primaries, the more clear we can remain and influence others to think clearly too. Nothing wrong with taking along as many as we can on the airship. Plenty of room, as Jude and Be can attest.

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