Thursday, June 4, 2020

On militarizing American cities & the Declaration at the heart of it all

Protesters recording Black Hawk helicopters buzzing over their heads in D.

"These are the times that try men's souls..."

Thomas Paine, The Crisis

It pains me deeply that it's impossible to take a neutral stance on the current situation in D.C., but with armored military vehicles and Black Hawk helicopters deployed on the streets to intimidate peaceful protesters, to be neutral is to be complicit with those who pepper-sprayed the peaceful group of young people gathered in Lafayette Park so the president and his entourage could make their way from the White House to St. John’s for a Bible-toting photo op that was, as CNN’s religious editor put it so well, less about “piety” than “power.” 

This excursion gave Trump a pretext for displaying brute force by having the military clear the “riff-raff” from his path. As if he is a king whose sensitivities might be offended by mingling with real people who dare to protest governmental abuses of power. 

In fact, he was marching his entourage, including two key military figures and the Attorney-General (who’s supposed to be the People’s lawyer), across the street to stage a supremely troubling photo op in front of St. John’s—without having given the pastor even a courtesy heads-up (much less asking for permission). After a group photo several figures are probably regretting, Trump stood in front of the church on his own, holding a Bible aloft like some kind of product he was hawking, a moment that sparked quite an uproar among religious figures who object to the Bible being used as a prop.

Among the many notable voices, Bishop Budde of the Washington Episcopal church reacted, objecting to Trump’s misuse of her church and the way he has “enflamed violence” more generally. Another commentator noted that Trump was looking to cloak himself in the aura of religious authority in response to the protests, which, as awkwardly as he carried out that maneuver, has an ominous precedent in history. 

As with many monarchs, Richard III used brutality and false piety to enhance his power.

Specifically, it brings a line from Shakespeare’s Richard III about that ruthless Middle Ages figure to mind, spoken by Buckingham—Richard’s “right hand man” in his schemes to gain power:

See where his Grace stands, ’tween two clergymen.


Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
To stay him from the fall of vanity;
And, see, a book of prayer in his hand,
True ornaments to know a holy man.—
Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
Lend favorable ears to our requests,
And pardon us the interruption
Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.—Act 3, Scene 7

There are other historical British models we could look to for the “holy prince” role Trump seems to be trying on for size, but then, judging by his own words and actions, he's had a too-cozy relationship with present day dictators since day one of his administration, an almost admiring and aspirational one. Truth is, dictators often preen by surrounding themselves with religious props and symbolism, as if to call down from the heavens that royal “divine right of kings” that rendered monarchs basically unaccountable to their people. Happily, that all ended when Britain's "Petition of Right" became law in 1628,  declaring the Law supreme over the personal wishes of the king and rejecting the "divine right of kings." Britain's democracy (and our own) owe a lot to this document. 

As we've seen repeatedly, however, accountable is never where Trump likes to be, and as esteemed poet Maya Angelou has wisely counseled: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” 

So to my mind, this is no time for remaining neutral—peaceful yes; neutral no: this is a time to remain objective about what is actually happening on the streets of our nation and to call out abuses of power, delusions and denialism for the corrupt forces they are. Today's astrology isn't making any of this easy, of course: as we know, Pluto is gradually moving into "return" position to its placement in the Sibly chart (much more on this soon),  and Saturn is now in Aquarius, a sign that—at its worst—has an unfortunate affinity for harsh, “strong man” tactics, so it’s up to those who care about avoiding the abuse of those energies to provide the countervailing force of conscious “people power.” 

For those who believe I’ve been taking a partisan position, please know that party has nothing to do with this—if complicit Republicans somehow find their spines and integrity and start speaking out against the abusive actions of their president, they will have my applause. We don’t need to be partisans to object to Trump’s increasingly threatening use of the military within our borders and to object to his promotion of the very police behavior that has brought us to this volatile, explosive moment in American history. 

It doesn’t take a partisan to see that his actions have put us on a very dangerous path as a democracy; military forces on the streets of America, deployed on the orders of an out-of-control Executive and a complicit military, would be the beginnings of a police state—essentially the death rattle of our constitutional democracy as we know it. But don't believe me: listen to the honorable, revered figures who have served in the highest military ranks for decades and are now speaking out, like former Defense Secretary, Marine General James Mattis, and retired General John Allen, former commander of our forces in Afghanistan.

As patriot and founding father Thomas Paine put it before our 1770s revolution, “these are the times that try mens’ souls,” and as we often see in mundane astrology, what goes around comes around—only this time the oppression lurks within, as do the solutions. We have choices about how to respond, as always, but it’s no time for neutrality.

Houston police are memorializing their home-town son, George Floyd.
On that note, it seemed to me that the best tribute I can offer to memorialize George Floyd along with so many today, and to support the protesters’ peaceful cries for equal justice under the Law for all is to simply use my blog space to display the reason we’re all here discussing any of this—the U.S. Declaration of Independence. We discuss many issues on this site in reference to the U.S. Sibly chart, which is basically the astrological embodiment of this glorious document that follows. In my opinion, every one of its 1,338 words is well worth a review. There's much more in this document than the almost cliched lines we normally associate with it. The Colonists' grievances against King George III are particularly relevant in these chaotic times.

Thank you for visiting this site—I deeply appreciate your feedback and comments and I wish everyone well in these difficult times.  

For more about the writing of our Declaration, click here.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. 

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. 

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Democracy at work

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

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