Friday, October 2, 2020

A hard turn for political weather: the September Trump-Biden debate

“A question I have to ask…    

Can I live within your smile?

Or maybe just vacation in it for a little while?

It looks so welcoming, so hospitable

The weather here has been so miserable

How’s the weather in your smile?” 

Hope Letson 2020


In fact, “the weather”—especially in U.S. politics—is anything but hospitable and welcoming; it seems this week that participants are being forced to do so out of sheer commitment and grit.  

For that matter, after watching Tuesday (9/29) night’s made-for-TV spectacle in Cleveland (I can’t bring myself to dignify it with the term “debate”), I’m convinced we now know what those qualities of grit and commitment—shaken, not stirred into a visual cocktail of disgusted embarrassment for our country—look like on a man’s face. I’m referring, of course, to the pained looks on Biden’s face during so many frustrating moments in which Trump was either interrupting or attempting to simply steamroll over him, drowning out whatever Biden was trying to say with a torrent of insults and invective.

Do I blame Biden for getting frustrated and simply telling Trump to “shut up, man?” No, I do not. Others after the fact faulted him for that, to which I wonder how they would handle such a vicious, crude onslaught—against them personally, against their families, against their life’s work, against everything they hold dear in their lives. That’s not politics; what Biden experienced that night felt like a one-man lynch mob.

But excusing such behavior is how it works with those who enable bullies and make excuses for their sociopathic behavior, only to then fault their victims. Clearly, Trump cast Biden in the role of his punching bag “wife” in that farcical display, and he played out the script with full-tilt rage and intensity, moment by impulsive/reactive moment.

Even the moderator Chris Wallace (Fox) was intimidated and stunned by how quickly he lost control—forget the fact that both parties supposedly signed off on the actual rules of the encounter. 


Hopefully not a handshake to regret.

According to Susan Glasser, writing for the New Yorker:

“It was a joke, a mess, a disaster. A “shit show,” a “dumpster fire,” a national humiliation. No matter how bad you thought the debate would be, it was worse. Way worse. Trump shouted, he bullied, he hectored, he lied, and he interrupted, over and over again.

Remarkably enough, it was seemingly on purpose. Losing in the polls, and with the country stricken by a pandemic that has claimed two hundred thousand American lives, the President offered incoherent bluster, inflammatory racism, and personal attacks on his opponent’s son. But mostly what came through was Trump’s refusal to shut up. He talked and talked and talked. He talked over Biden. He talked over the moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace. He talked over Biden some more. How bad was it? The line that history is likely to record as among the most memorable was Biden’s lament, at the end of the debate’s very first segment: “Will you just shut up, man? This is so unpresidential.’”

Glasser’s key point here, I think, is how relentless and purposeful Trump’s assault tactics were, but I would add that it appears Trump had more than one purpose: not only did he want to intimidate and dominate Biden (which didn’t happen—he made himself look weak and desperate in the process), but it’s very likely he was also aiming with his non-stop tantrum and rancor to disenchant a whole swath of the American public from ever getting involved in politics. He would clearly love for the public to just leave him to his own devices for getting re-elected and to simply give up on democracy-- starting at the ballot box, which he is trying dress up in a fright wig by implying his “poll-watcher” militias (“Proud Boys, stand by!”) will be there intimidating everyone!  

The fewer votes cast, the better Trump will like it because—as long as there is the slightest hint of ambiguity—he can engineer a coup by demanding that the Judiciary (which he has now packed with likely supporters) decides the outcome!   

Bottom line, just as Biden had to grit his teeth and weather the storm on Tuesday night, those who don’t want to live like this have to do the same.


No role model!

All this comes down to a question about what we value and how we want to live in this world. To whom do we look for role models and guidance when times get tough, as they certainly have lately? Spiritual writer/teacher Matthew Fox commented that the worst impacts of patriarchy and capitalism were on display on that debate stage Tuesday night. He reminds us we were witnesses:

“Witnesses to something very big: Patriarchy was on trial, patriarchy was exposed, its emperor had no clothes.  The essence of patriarchy is Domination, Abuse, Power-over, Bullying, Reptilian brain unleashed—it was all on full display last night [Tuesday]—even the moderator was abused along with us citizens who had tuned in anticipating a presidential debate…. Not just patriarchy was disrobed last night but also capitalism and what it does to the human soul…


The Astrology

 So what does all this look like astrologically? Chart #1 below reflects Tuesday night’s encounter remarkably well, in fact—and it also captures the larger context we’re trying to navigate at this tense, precarious moment.  

Speaking of which, Donald and Melania Trump have, as I write this, tested positive for COVID-19—less than a day after the White House announced that close aide Hope Hicks tested positive. This turn of events will figure into a future post, undoubtedly; in the meantime, I wholeheartedly wish them well, and hope, for the nation’s sake, that everyone impacted recovers quickly and safely, and that everyone they’ve been in contact with in the past weeks (including Joe Biden) will also be safe and well.  For now, let’s return our attention to Tuesday night:


Chart #1. Trump-Biden Debate #1, September 29, 2020, 9:00 p.m. DST, Cleveland, OH. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Venus (Leo) rules and squares Taurus ASC; Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto Rx (Capricorn) trines ASC; Neptune (Rx, Pisces) sextiles ASC. Trump’s domineering and defiant approach to Tuesday’s event was, indeed, the story of the night, and here we see it in this entitled Venus in fixed Leo doing everything she could to steal the show. This included trampling on every shred of decorum and civility we might have expected—Venus’s trine to So. Node (Rx, Sagittarius) enabled Trump’s default “wildness” (not surprisingly, this So. Node conjoins his natal Moon-So. Node in Sagittarius, chart not shown).

Of course, this event chart’s So. Node reflects the backward-looking, default path triggered by Trump in our political discourse that night, which was represented pretty succinctly by his unsubtle attempts to “dogwhistle” his white supremacist “Proud Boy” supporters by saying “Stand down, Stand by.” The White House disputed this characterization after the fact, of course, but the message during the debate seemed crystalline clear.

Venus also inconjoins Saturn and Pluto Rx—an apt reflection of the frustration experienced at Trump’s refusal to abide by the agreed-to rules of the encounter. Those who felt wounded by how this event unfolded (many, I suspect) can be seen in the way Sun (Libra) opposes Chiron (Rx, Aries). This Sun was also disposed by and in mutual reception with Leo Venus, which points to how the “Executive” (president) basically embodied a kind of enraged “Diva” energy, as described above.

Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto Rx (Capricorn) square Mars-Eris (Rx, Aries). As you might recall, if you frequent this site, Mars turned retrograde this past September 9th, which coincided pretty closely with the date investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s new book about Trump, entitled Rage, was released. Much was made at that time about some pretty damning revelations regarding what Trump knew about the dangers of COVID and when he knew them, despite his later decision to downplay the seriousness of the whole thing and to ignore safety precautions, calling mask-wearing in the West Wing of the White House “not a good look.” Never mind the over 200,000 Americans who have died on his watch—now he and yet-to-be-determined numbers of the people working for him have also been exposed and/or infected. 


An especially animated moment in the rage-fest.

So it’s against this backdrop that we consider this “full court press” set of volatile cardinal square aspects. Mars Rx and Eris Rx are both in the 12th house of this chart, squaring planets that conjoin across the 8th-9th house cusp. Trump’s behavior on Tuesday night was more than combative—it brought to mind a person working furiously to beat his way out of a smothering plastic bag (12th). The forces “smothering” him, of course, are all those inconvenient societal/professional rules and regulations and institutional requirements  (Jupiter-Pluto Rx-Saturn) that he clearly found too limiting that night.

Of course, the Mars Rx in this chart doesn’t represent him directly, but there are tight and compelling connections between this placement and his natal chart (not shown here) that explain why the connection applies to him. We’ll be talking about his chart in a future post very soon, given the news of the day—stay tuned!

Moon (Pisces) conjoins Neptune (Rx, Pisces) and sextiles Jupiter (Capricorn) and ASC (Taurus). Now that we know, in retrospect, that the virus could have well been an invisible presence in that debate hall on Tuesday night, this normally lovely Moon-Neptune aspect takes on a different tone entirely. The Moon represents the “People” in a chart like this, and it’s not just conjunct pandemic-related Neptune Rx, it’s also conjunct the Saturn/Uranus Rx (midpoint, Pisces), which can stoke unrest and fear due to conditions getting out of control. Those who reacted to the debate with agitation and disgust (fairly, to my mind) could have well been responding to this set of energies gathered at that midpoint.

There may have been unrealistic expectations (Neptune) that things could have proceeded civilly according to the norms, but those were overturned by the coming together of Uranus’s (Taurus) hard-nosed rebellious energies and Saturn’s (Capricorn) restrictive, demanding energies. So, in light of Neptune’s connection with COVID, its proximity to the Moon (the People) in this chart   is extra concerning. Unfortunately, the sextiles we see here with Jupiter and the ASC could represent opportunities for the virus to spread. More on this in days to come as the story develops further. Hopefully everyone involved will be tested and will be able to isolate themselves for the recommended time.

Mars Rx/Uranus (midpoint, Taurus) opposes Mercury-Juno (Scorpio); this axis t-squares MC (Aquarius). This probably accounts for how the international community responded to the Tuesday event—basically, in shock and horror.  At the harsh undertones of racism and potential racist violence; at the brutality of Trump’s attacks on Biden; at the whole out-of-control demeanor of the occasion. From the BBC:

“US voters have endured the first of three presidential debates between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The event has also prompted a huge reaction from world audiences who tuned in for the chaotic event.

Newspapers and commentators around the world have criticised the tone and tactics of the debate.

As The Times in the UK wrote, ‘The clearest loser from the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was America.’"




The world needs better right now.

Final thoughts

I confess that, like the shocked media figures here and abroad who offered commentary after the fact, I watched Tuesday night’s event in a state of horror and agitation. Then it occurred to me that this was probably our chance to see how Trump has operated in the White House every day of his administration—with utter disregard for the human beings around him. Clearly, from decades of being The Boss (writ large), he’s developed sure-fire techniques for getting what he wants—if he doesn’t hear what he wants to hear, roll out the tantrum. 

Unfortunately for him and those around him—and in light of today’s news of his and Melania’s COVID positive status—there’s a limit to how much rage and stress human beings can process without consequences to their health.

Obviously, we must wish them both well, despite all the legitimate reasons for criticism—it’s hard to miss that if he were a happier human being, we probably wouldn’t be going through the trials we are in this nation.

The following from the Buddhist Metta Sutta comes to mind:

“Wishing: in gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be; whether they are weak or strong, omitting none, the great or the mighty, medium, short or small, the seen and the unseen, those living near and far away, those born and to-be-born — May all beings be at ease! Let none deceive another, or despise any being in any state. Let none through anger or ill-will wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects with her life her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings, radiating kindness over the entire world.”


What a world that would be!



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; see the “Publications” tab on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.


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© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved.