What a week it has been! The intensity, the focus, and the clarity of the argument presented by speaker after speaker in Charlotte was extraordinary. After three years of the right-wing message machine drowning the nation in dark hyperbole and pernicious lies, hearing so much testimony about the effectiveness and significance of President Obama’s multitude of accomplishments was striking and often startling. And it was also very energizing, something much-needed after battling to stay afloat amidst a steady-stream of conservative spew and struggling through the exhaustive climb out of the pit left by the previous occupant of the Oval Office.
The contrast with the Republican convention in Tampa was also illuminating. Mostly, the GOP lives in alternative universe to the reality-based community of the rest of humankind. Thus, there was kind of a weird, shadowy quality to what went on. Outrage was expressed over an array of things that do not exist except in the usefully paranoid fantasy perpetrated upon the base. Earnest support was expressed over things that would actually be destroyed if GOP policies were enacted. If one scratched the surface, there was a profound incoherence simmering under the whole production.
In Charlotte, on the other hand, we heard a vast array of testimony from real people about specific policies that affected them personally. There was a bracing ring of truth echoing through the hall for three days from citizens whose lives had been transformed for the better by President Obama. From Obamacare to the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to unequivocal support of veterans and their families to the rescue of the auto industry, the president has benefited millions of lives with his efforts. Although he barely appeared before his speech on Thursday, President Obama was the star of the show from start to finish.
As for the nomination acceptance speech itself, there was also a significant contrast with the one from four years ago in Denver. Just as there is a difference in how you feel when you first fall in love versus, years later, when you appreciate your partner’s strength, resilience, and dependability in a difficult world, the starry-eyed swoon of the 2008 crowd has given way, in 2012, to a deep appreciation of Obama’s strength, vision, and judgment after a stressful term in the White House testing his mettle. The intoxicating bouquet of hope and change he offered has morphed into a spine of steel; the soaring poetry has become a steady hand on the rudder. Indeed, the speech provided a glimpse of the sinew and grit required in today’s stormy political and economic climate.
The astrological signature for this transformation may be understood as a shift from Venus to Mars. In 2008, as is often the case with victorious first-term candidates, there were some very strong Venus progressions: progressed Venus conjunct the natal North Node (27Aquarius18), progressed Venus conjunct progressed Uranus (28Aquarius08), and progressed Venus quincunx progressed Jupiter (27Capricorn20). In addition, converse Venus was exactly square to Obama’s natal Sun (12Leo33) for his first big victory in Iowa in early January. How could the country not fall in love with a candidate embodying such overwhelming appeal?
The campaign of 2012 brings a different constellation. There is certainly still some of the old attraction, but the Venus and the Jupiter aspects, although present, are less potent. Progressed Sun square natal Venus (1Cancer47) has been waning since July; tertiary progressed Jupiter square natal Venus peaks on November 1; and transiting Neptune trine Venus, while strong in July and August, won’t return until January 2013, cresting just after the Inauguration. The most potent aspect, progressed Venus square to the Moon (3Gemini21), begins its year-long impact in mid-December 2012 and will be intensified by transiting Neptune in February 2013. Thus, the president seems to be in good spirits and quite popular in January and February as the new term begins, certainly intimating a likely victory rather than the shadow of loss.
But the big difference in this election cycle and moving into the next term is the strength of Mars in Obama’s chart, adding an aura of strength and a bolder and much more aggressive element to what we saw last time around. Obama’s solar arc Mars is now square to his Sun (12Leo33) through April 2013, while his converse Sun will be square to Mars (22Virgo35) as of late November 2012 through November 2013. In addition, solar arc Mercury is conjunct natal Mars through June 2013. The early days of compromise and wanting to make nice (Venus) have now morphed into a pattern of much more assertive action (Mars) to do what needs to be done despite the right-wing hissy fits. Note, for example, the upsurge in executive orders of late that simply bypass a chronically obstructionist Congress, as well as the increasingly pointed campaign rhetoric. What we now have is a warrior who fights on our behalf, whose younger, more poetic and idealistic self is becoming a fond but distant memory.