Trick or Treat

Posted by Judith Gayle


I write this on Halloween, a cold, blustery day in the Midwest that is destined to devolve into a nasty trick on little ghosts and goblins later tonight when the wind chill hits the teens. Not that many go trick-or-treating door to door these days, thanks to the fears of ‘helicopter moms’ and the pagan-paranoia of evangelicals.

I write this on Halloween, a cold, blustery day in the Midwest that is destined to devolve into a nasty trick on little ghosts and goblins later tonight when the wind chill hits the teens. Not that many go trick-or-treating door to door these days, thanks to the fears of ‘helicopter moms’ and the pagan-paranoia of evangelicals. More often than not, kids are bussed to cooperative malls and outlets that offer ‘safe’ treats and minimize the ‘stranger danger’ of being lured into some unknown house by a less than upright citizen.

Political Blog, News, Information, Astrological Perspective.

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

To be sure, unless we know our neighborhood well and have the kids on a short leash, there is suspicion that we won’t be able to find a trustworthy, upright citizen in the autumn of 2014, when nothing is as it seems and reality appears little more than a string of bewildering shocks and psychic-disappointments that go bump in the night.

As it always works out, this is also Samhein, a time when the veil thins and the voices of our ancestors become more than just memory, more a welcome whisper. This is one of eight Pagan festivals that mark change in season and sensibility, this one celebrating the autumn harvest and announcing the coming long months farther from the warmth and light of the great sun. My pots of brightly colored vincas and impatiens will not survive tonight’s freeze and, as I write, I find myself looking out at them again and again, red and pink splashes of color against an already graying backdrop, as if to get my fill until spring. Samhein, All Saints Eve, Halloween — all these traditions take us into deep Scorpionic waters today, signaling the beginning of slower, darker days ahead.

Reviewing the political aspects of the week would simply be mind-exploding for me this close to election, and tedious for you, I suspect, so I’ll just skirt the details today with a few comments on democracy’s challenges. However, in the mood of the moment, let me sweeten up all this tricky business with a few treats: fun links to entertaining reads or vids or pics — you’re welcome.

The barrage of pleas for money and the see-saw projections of who will win the Senate are both exasperating and withering. Let me give you an example of exasperating: this is a TV ad for a Missouri incumbent stumping for re-election here in the Pea Patch. Allow me to introduce you to Billy Long, jiggling his double-chins in disdain of all the political advertisement out there and so outraged [his go-to position] that he’s simply going to run on his 56 votes against Obamacare. Yes, Billy: depressingly homegrown and painfully exasperating. And the withering? That there are citizens out there who not only find Billy’s obstruction of progress a fine platform for a lawmaker in the United States of America, but that — thanks to gerrymander and evangelical politicizing — he will no doubt get another term to fritter away taxpayers’ money on small ideas to suit even smaller minds.

Know what else is exasperating? The monumental amounts of money going into this race even as so many vital projects are begging for financial attention. Indeed, we’ve totally lost the ability to assess the worth of this amount of treasure.

Remember the tizzy fit that John McCain had when Obama bailed out on public financing in favor of the record-breaking $750 million he was able to accumulate through internet contributions? At the time, one of the few people who approved his break with McCain-Feingold was conservative Norm Ornstein, one of the authors of that legislation. Said Ornstein:

What I told a bunch of people a few weeks ago, is that while it would be nice if he decided he felt honor bound to stay within the system and take the money, if he did so I might join a group of people who sued him for political malpractice. When you have the ability to raise the kind of money that he could raise and do it without selling your soul to spend all the time between now and the election on fundraisers, your goal is to win an election and not turn your back on the people voting. There will be outraged editorials and McCain will be justifiably pissed. But it was pragmatically the right decision for him to make.

I think the key words in that statement are “selling your soul.” In politics, the thing one has to sell — but mustn’t, to avoid a downward spiral — is influence, which is why monetizing our political process has led to our current disaster. Obama slipped the restrictions and did the pragmatic thing in 2008, but now in 2014, the run for money has mushroomed into unlimited funding made available through ‘social service’ groups that contribute multi-millions to individual campaigns. And there is apparently no end to the amount that ‘interested’ billionaires — to whom the Citizen’s United ruling guarantees a mighty megaphone of political speech based on income — will spend in pursuit of influence. The veritable glut of Koch money (nicely illustrated for us here, by Jon Stewart) seems to be successfully buying democracy this season, which Stewart has dubbed Democalypse 2014.

In North Carolina, for instance, the race between Dem incumbent Kay Hagan and Pub challenger Thom Tillis has drawn the likes of both Clintons and Mitt Romney to stump for their party. This is one of those states that will define the Senate balance, so the money machine gets bigger and bolder every day, spreading the cash. Spending has already exceeded $100 million, according to the Sunlight Foundation, and it’s no surprise that some two-thirds of that funding comes from groups outside North Carolina. This is just ONE state race, kids — think of the excess to be tallied before this mid-term is done on Tuesday!

(Since you’ve gotten this far, here’s your treat: Paris Hilton with Hooves! Here’s a cute little ‘toon made by We The Economy called “The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas” featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Sarah Silverman as pretty ponies, educating us about income inequality.)

To continue, while there’s no news about Diebold machines to fret over this election, let’s not discount that machine reporting is still a problem, part of our ongoing challenge to voter access. Gore quit fighting too early and Kerry didn’t fight at all; things would have been very different if either had kept the faith. Now ask yourself, why is it that it’s never Democrats who are concerned about purging the polls? Why is it that the blue umbrella is always open to newcomers and people excited about democracy, while the red one snaps shut unless you can produce your papers? Remember how excited the Bushy’s got when the Iraqi’s first voted, waving their purple fingers to prove they’d done the deed? Well, just dandy for the Middle East, but it wouldn’t have been so easy to vote here, citizen! Not with a dark complexion and suspect religious beliefs!

Voter suppression, although it’s been going on forever and a day, just seems glaringly obvious as a hedge against the decline of white authoritarianism and privilege. Hard to argue against the truth that the white folks don’t want the brown or black or yellow or red — or blue, for that matter — folks voting. You have to be blind to avoid drawing that conclusion.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a scathing response to the SCOTUS decision to allow Texas to proceed with its radical voter ID law, warning that this was the kind of suppression — akin to a poll tax, a 21st century version of Jim Crow — that would stop Americans from voting. Early voting reports seem to prove her right, as literally hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters are being purged, and the money and access required to meet ID standards from state to state marginalizes citizens of slim means.

According to SCOTUS blog, “This was the first time in 32 years that the Supremes allowed a law restricting voting rights to be implemented after a federal court ruled it unconstitutional for targeting minorities.” Again — my mantra — if we needed a reason to vote blue, SCOTUS is it. It can’t come as a surprise that the Federalist wing of the Supreme Court wants to turn the clock back not just to the middle of the last century, but if Scalia holds sway, even further. Ginsberg, by the way, proves to be an excellent Halloween costume, even for the very young, as shown here.

No sense blaming anyone else. Politics is a reflection of us; American politics is a mirror held up to our issues of denial, self-deception, egoism and fear. We can’t move ahead into a new era while dragging the old one behind. Best to face it all now, look it in the eye and accept that our egocentrism and selfishness — what Robert Reich calls Empathy Deficit Disorder — can only be overcome by a needed, and evolutionary, growth in compassion.

Here’s something for you from the goody basket: for Campbell fans, here’s a speech that Joseph Campbell made on the roots of Halloween. I find it very ‘folksy,’ very intimate, as though he’s talking to friends. Not only does it speak to the magic of costumes and play on this occasion, as well as throughout our life, but gives a nice glimpse of Campbell, the person. Enjoy.

And here’s a treat, from my house to yours: go here for a dandy bit of nostalgia about the Ghost of Halloween Past which, despite a somewhat jaded view of disinterested moms, made me long for yesterday. When I sent the link to my daughter, I mentioned that I’d been a good deal more engaged than the mother described and seldom served her a TV dinner, unless she’d specifically begged it. ‘Course, I also got my share of the booty when she and her brother finally got home with the chocolate!

And finally, if you ate or drank too much last night and you’re looking for something to get the blood running, here’s an episode of John Oliver from his HBO TV show which illustrates how brilliant he is, worthy of the kudos he’s receiving. He offers you not just an easy understanding of Net Neutrality but an activist op as well. It will be 13 minutes well invested, and funny to boot!

Hope you found something tasty here, whiling away the hours until Tuesday’s results give us a clearer picture of what’s ahead. I wish a belated “BOO!” to those of you who celebrated a hearty — or quiet or spooky or boring — Halloween this year, and a happy Samhain and All Saints Day to the rest.

Continue to listen for the ancestors; they still have a gift to deliver. And although I know you’ll get to the polls on Tuesday — and if we actually have results the day after — do not be dismayed if it looks like we got a trick instead of a treat.

Like most of the things that scare us, “objects in mirror look closer than they appear.” Once we know that and free ourselves from the optical illusions, we’re calmer, saner and able to affirm that we’re always in the right place at the right time. Whatever happens next is not only do-able, but inevitably proves to be exactly what we need for our growth.

5 thoughts on “Trick or Treat

  1. Barbara Koehler

    To everything – turn, turn, turn,
    There is a season, turn, turn, turn
    And a time for every purpose under heaven. . .

    On election day transiting Jupiter in Leo will oppose Mitch McConnell’s Ceres (season) in Aquarius.
    On election day transiting Saturn (time) in Scorpio will oppose Mitch McConnell’s Saturn in Taurus.
    On election day transiting Sun in Scorpio sextiles transiting Pluto in Capricorn and they form a yod to Mitch McConnell’s Mercury in Aquarius. Turn, turn, turn.

    Thank you for the many treats in your piece today Jude, the above is my treat to you.

    As transiting Nessus returns to snuggle with the U.S. Sibly Aquarian Moon, many generations of corruption are returning in force at this Halloween-U.S. Election season. Alison Lundergan Grimes is suing Mitch McConnell for voter intimidation for one.

    I’m wondering how long the MSM will avoid discussing the cocaine bust on McConnell’s father-in-law, since they seem to be so quick to report on other unsavory topics. Still, I believe the writing is on the wall, for the good ole boy, despite what polls show.

    My favorite of many favorites in your essay today is “Now ask yourself, why is it that it’s never Democrats that are concerned about purging the polls? Why is it that the blue umbrella is always open to newcomers and people excited about democracy, while the red one snaps shut unless you can produce your papers?”

    A time to gain, a time to lose
    A time to rend, a time to sew
    A time to love, a time to hate
    A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

  2. Len WallickLen Wallick

    Jude: Thanking for showing some light while continuing to shine the light in dark places. Your timing could not be better. Halloween here in Seattle was also blustery (albeit not nearly as cold as where you are). The link to the John Oliver piece in particular was a hoot that any wise owl would readily acknowledge as both substantial and levitating. While it is too soon to call this volatile election yet, there are (as you documented) a critical number of people who won’t be spooked before or after the election, come what may. For that we have you, and other light-bringers to thank.

  3. aWord

    Treats to you, Jude. You’ve laid out the landscape, I’ll traverse some of the extra goodies later on this weekend, especially enticing is the piece by Joseph Campbell.
    John McLaughlin and I have a date (yep, me’n’him again, thank you!). I’m off to the races.
    (Rain and cold set in here last night too. Funny to me–all the drought until the one evening all the little goblins want to play. But we need the rain.)
    The “veil” is barely transparent (get it, trans-parent? haha) right now. I was pleased to hear from an old (very old) mentor yesterday. One word about ‘how to’ shift; “Joy”.

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