Despite an ocean of damning evidence that should have assured a resounding conviction, the ultimate outcome of Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial was the failure to convict.
While seven GOP Senators voted to convict in the end, that was ten short of the required two-thirds majority of the Senate, so as the House impeachment managers pointed out convincingly, the GOP has basically sanctioned what happened on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. It’s also sent strong signals that it will continue building its politics around enabling such criminal behavior, if that’s what it takes to convince Trump they’re “loyal” (aka subservient) to him, no matter what.
Indeed, those Senators who did vote to convict are already being sanctioned by their state party organizations—that action should tell us all we need to know about this gutted out Party of Lincoln. The image of a “fish,” (the party’s Pisces Sun), netted and dragged into a boat and left to flop around on the floor, comes to mind.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did his best to express the “swimming both ways” dimension of that Pisces Sun at the end of the trial—first voting to acquit on the already debunked premise that the Senate isn’t allowed to convict former officials—and then sternly criticizing Trump’s behavior, laying responsibility for the attack squarely on Trump’s back, but basically protecting his right to incite an insurrection in his final days in office and scoot out the White House door scot free because that was then, this is now. He couldn’t have chosen a hollower excuse, but this was no surprise for a Party that’s become a shell of itself. With this outcome, McConnell and the GOP attempted to render the trial, as Shakespeare’s Macbeth put it, “...full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” I suspect they will fail in this over time.
Even so, with the weakest possible slap on the wrist, Trump’s been sent on his merry destructive way. The only thing that suffered at all for now was Trump’s credibility, and the spin machines are already working overtime to flip that script on the Dems. Before Trump and his minions are done, the January 6th attack on the Capitol will be reframed in the minds of his diehard followers as the “glorious, patriotic” venture they thought they were staging. Not the sordid, misguided domestic terrorist event it really was.
One thing the House impeachment managers did really well, to my view, was to show how Trump’s “Big Lie” basically underpinned everything he tried doing to overturn the election in his favor. In that sense, Twitter and Facebook have frankly done his agenda more damage than anything Congress has said or done, but it was good to see the connections drawn in the trial between Trump’s words and how people responded. Those who had eyes to see had a lot to absorb.
So maybe those who hope sanity can prevail in D.C. through 2022 should take a page from the House manager’s meticulous attention to facts and detail and simply refuse to deal in or host Trump-style misinformation campaigns about anything. This won’t be easy, with Neptune still in Pisces for several years ahead, and so on, but there are dynamics in play that suggest it will be more of an uphill battle for Trump to dominate our cultural mindspace going forward. More on this ahead.
Even so, when has Trump ever shown an inclination to give up on tactics that have worked for him? POWER is everything for this man and he’s shown that he will stop at nothing to stay in that state of dubious “grace.” And as Michael Gerson, writing for the Washington Post puts it, Trump takes an “instrumental” view of democracy that renders it optional, if it doesn’t get him where he wants to go:
“With the stakes of politics so high — with socialists, multiculturalists and child rapists (as the QAnon fabulists would have it) intent on destroying American society — outcomes are the only things that really matter. Not truth. Not civility. Not electoral procedure. Just the gaining and maintenance of power.”
So, Trump’s “Big Lie” about the election is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg of the full apocalyptic fantasy Trump’s been selling, just a means towards a more all-encompassing end. The real issue lies with the pervasive conviction among right-wing extremists that their White, Christian America is being “stolen” from them by America’s diversity. When Trump and these extremists say “Make America Great Again,” that’s code for “Make America White/Christian again.”
In other words, as Gerson summarizes the challenge, “What has emerged within the Republican Party is a debate on the value of democracy itself.” If democracy doesn’t serve the distorted pseudo-religious, conspiracy-laced white supremacist vision of America that way too many Republicans embrace these days, they’re prepared to overturn it.
Does this mean every Trump voter shares this vision? Not at all, but an angry, loud fraction of those who vote for him hold extremist views and think of him as some kind of “Messiah”--other GOP supporters are just the padding needed to win elections. And as we saw in November, those numbers dwindled under Trump’s watch. The fact that the GOP did marginally well in Congressional elections, but fell far short in the presidential contest probably says more about the gerrymandering that has gone on in State electoral districts than it does about the real strength of the party.
The other urgent lesson would-be Trump followers might want to take away from the trial was—importantly—that their guy will make sure others take the fall for anything he does that steps over legal lines. Hundreds may end up serving prison terms for their actions on January 6th because they were following Trump’s wishes and working on his behalf, but Trump himself was cagey about his participation. It took hours for Trump to say anything that wasn’t meant to encourage their efforts, but when it became apparent that the election wasn’t going to be overturned that day, that the officials he set the mob loose on were evacuated and safe, and that Congress would certify Biden’s election after all, Trump turned the tables quickly and threw his followers who stormed the Capitol under the bus, basically leaving them defenseless.
You could just see the thinking behind his actions and statements that afternoon (the obvious turn of events that most GOP Senators chose to ignore)—how far could he push the violence without being held legally responsible for it?
We now know that yes, Trump knew his V.P. Mike Pence was in harm’s way in the Capitol, and instead of telling the attackers to back off immediately, he continued attacking Pence via Twitter! We now know that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a heated phone conversation, pleading with Trump to do something to help defuse the situation that afternoon. The response, entered into the trial record, was Trump’s reply, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” We know that Trump never called for the National Guard to intervene (it took a mad scramble between agencies to finally get that done); so, under the bus with everyone!
But even with all this damning evidence, it’s those who were deluded and prodded into following Trump on his “Save America March” to the Capitol on Jan. 6th who will pay the price. Trump followers may tell the FBI or the courts that “I thought I was doing what Trump told us to do,” but without Trump being found actually responsible, is that defense likely to stand? Presidents can’t be held civilly responsible while they are in office (a loophole future legislators might want to close), so unless law suits brought against Trump from here on have some chance of succeeding, civilians trying to use Trump’s actions as a defense on January 6th will undoubtedly fall short, like trying to chop down a tree with a Nerf axe.
Then there were the lawyers staking their reputations on defending Trump—telling flat-out falsehoods, distorting the facts and using clear logical fallacies like “whataboutism” (false equivalency) with their 10 minute video regarding the Dems’ use of the word “fight,” etc. These lawyers could be held responsible by their state Bar associations for this behavior—is anyone under the illusion that they will have Trump support if all goes wrong?
I choose to believe that something good will come out of the trial in the end, even if it’s just the awareness that was raised by having more facts in front of us, but it may take a while for that good to take root and actually strengthen our democracy. To let up now on that agenda would be painfully premature.
You might remember that we discussed the January 6th insurrection in the last post here, framing it in relation to the January 13th New Moon in Capricorn. Well, one month later, the trial, amazingly enough, gaveled in on February 9th, during the two days leading into the February 11th New Moon in Aquarius (Chart #1 below), and it ended on the 13th, two days after the exact New Moon. New Moon energies are usually felt strongly for a few days before and after, so it’s fair to say that this “coincidence” is meaningful, that the trial was just the beginning of a longer process, and that it was a largely Aquarian event.
In fact, the January 6th event foreshadowed the trial's Aquarian character, too—Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury and Pallas all fell in the sign of Aquarius on January 6th, and these same sign placements, with the addition of an Aquarius Venus, continued on February 11th (Chart #1) as well. There’s been a very concentrated focus on Aquarian dynamics between these two New Moons, indeed.
In January, with that New Moon’s Capricorn Sun-Moon-Pluto conjunction, a total of seven points were co-ruled by a dignified Aquarius Saturn and an earthy Uranus (Taurus). The fact that these co-rulers fell square in both January and February is also significant—this is the 3Q square that we’ve discussed in other contexts, but for our purposes here, it reinforces the need to reform and rebuild our institutional structures in the wake of efforts to overturn them with extremism and authoritarian rule. Our democracy needs some serious reconstructive surgery, in other words.
The attack on Jan. 6th provided quite a metaphor for this Sat-3Q-Ura impulse. The pressures on Congress to prove it hasn’t totally abandoned its responsibility to “check” Executive branch excesses were palpable during the trial—Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Pallas all trined Sibly Saturn (Biwheel #1 below), perhaps explaining why a few GOP Senators found their spines and voted to convict, but unfortunately, most GOPers capitulated their checking power long ago—a situation that needs to be addressed during the rest of this 3Q phase. Checking a rogue Executive branch is a Constitutional duty, after all.
The continuity of Aquarian energies from insurrection to trial makes perfect sense: challenges to the nation’s social order are to be expected under our recently launched Aquarius Jupiter-Saturn cycle (first exact in December, 2020), and the U.S. Sibly chart is naturally attuned to these challenges with its Aquarius Moon representing the People (see inner wheel, Biwheel #1 below). We were “born” in a Uranian Revolution against tyranny, and when conditions arise that require serious change, We the People are still responsible for taking that on. The conditions that justify overturning a standing government are very specific, however—they're not whatever one power-hungry man decides to say they are.
Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) New Moon, February 11, 2021, 2:05:31 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.
Importantly, the questions posed by the trial (and this New Moon) truly did hinge upon some fundamental Uranus/Aquarius-related issues: by what force or combination of forces does a group of people with the normal rights of free speech and assembly become a criminal mob, and who is responsible for the consequences?
There’s nothing new about all this, in fact. American history is fraught with attempts, both official and “vigilante,” to roll-back Lincoln’s Emancipation of the slaves, for instance, by re-imposing pre-Civil War ideas about the proper racial “order” in society. That’s what Jim Crow laws were about, that’s what the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 and every similar mass episode of racial violence was about, that’s what every white supremacist lynching in our history was ever about—domestic terrorist tactics used to enforce and preserve that “order.”
|Trump supporters trying to stop Detroit's votes from counting in November.|
Co-ruled by Uranus (transiting square Jupiter-Saturn from Taurus), Aquarius promotes liberating movements, however between this square and the heavy Neptunian energy afloat these days (WAPO writer Michael E. Miller says the conspiracy theorists are still “out of control”), the concept of “liberation” can be twisted to mean whatever unscrupulous or deluded individuals want it to mean. Meaning there can be a fine line between liberation and criminal insurrection, a line the January 6th event tripped right over. I suspect that the new status of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle helped the nation avoid the worst outcome on that day, but it’s essential that the underlying causes of the insurrection be resolved so those energies are less likely to fester.
Probably due to its relationship with Saturn, Aquarius also favors the legitimate Rule of Law, but there’s a balance that needs to be struck between the two co-rulers. Uranus favors the kind of law and order that protects people from tyranny. Ideally, that’s what democracy and its focus on human rights and “justice for all under the law” does. We’ve seen how easy it is to fall short of that ideal, of course, but that’s the challenge before us. We’ve tried throughout our history in this nation to enjoy the benefits of democracy without truly committing to its deep principles, and that is ultimately a dead end, or worse. Liberty without Equality (a host of social justice failures are witness to this) is an empty concept that can be distorted to mean whatever anti-equality forces like Trump want it to mean.
Interestingly, this new lunar cycle launched conjunct Sibly Moon (Biwheel #1) too—a powerful reminder that We the People are being called upon to process this Aquarian situation of ours. That “call” could actually have helped incite the riot that day—Mars (Taurus) widely squared the New Moon (Sun-Moon conjunction) and the Sibly Moon (Aquarius), so it could certainly have triggered the powder-keg situation Trump had produced.
But that violence also served to spark awareness in the People (Sibly Moon) and this New Moon could be a fruitful time to soak in that awareness and put it into action. Many watching that day probably realized for the first time what Trump's "big lie" was really trying to accomplish. Those who don’t follow the actual facts very carefully might have needed a reason to pay closer attention, and what unfolded on January 6th deserves a great deal of attention. Simply put, there are forces afoot—whether Trump-inspired or not—that seriously intend to tear this nation apart over the goals of white supremacist extremism, and if we don’t take them seriously, the results will impact us all. We didn’t witness the Confederate flag waving in the halls of Congress for show—it was a warning.
Notice that Neptune conjoins MC (both Pisces) in Chart #1 and squares Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius), suggesting that toxic misinformation is far from being over as a problem just because Twitter and Facebook are trying to take a more active role in squelching it. The measures these companies have taken have given people a break and made social media companies rethink their roles in the spread of misinformation, but we’re still marooned at the White Rabbit’s “tea party” for now. As we have been through most of the past four years: this Neptune has been transiting in the Sibly 4th since 2016 (in part), much of 2017 and ever since, infusing nearly the entire Trump administration with its often-difficult energies. Energies he has been very adept at using for his own purposes until just recently.
Those of you who are familiar with his natal chart will know that this mutable configuration ties into his Sun-Node-Uranus to Moon opposition (Gemini-Sagittarius), producing some potentially heavy squares to his luminaries. These are long-term transits which would have been active during this past election season, so perhaps one hallmark of this challenge will be the waning of his personal power over a long stretch of time. This does little to stop his most diehard followers and wannabe “clones,” however—the future of Trumpism is a separate story.
As pitiful as the trial outcome was, it strikes me that we did turn a corner of sorts with this trial: best of all, the spotlight is now shifted away from Trump and taken up by the Biden administration’s efforts to address multiple emergencies. The bad news is, we’re far from being out-of-the-woods with the ism Trump spawned, that toxic brew of right-wing extremism that is using any means necessary to drag us back into the good old pre-civil rights days of lynchings (on Twitter or otherwise) as a public spectacle; the good news is, the more Biden’s grass roots agenda for recovery and healing succeeds, and the faster we literally “arm” ourselves against COVID, the more likely the anger and resentment that lies at the heart of Trump support will ease up and be at least somewhat resolved. Remember that ridiculous “Trump Baby” balloon that has floated over numerous protests since 2016? Any success Biden has with releasing the angry “gas” filling that balloon, the closer the rest of it will sink to the ground.
Not that there won’t be new Trumpism standard-bearers out there (including Trump daughter-in-law Lara), working to keep Trump's following riled up and primed for another go, but Trump’s first election was the product of a unique set of circumstances (reflected by unique astrological dynamics) that I suspect he and his clones won’t find quite as available in the 2024 contest. Trump and his no-holds-barred approach caught us by surprise in 2015, but we’ve become familiar with his bag of dirty tricks by this juncture, and the media has learned to some extent how they played into his hands in 2016, so we’re forewarned.
We now know, for instance, how to recognize a vicious smear tactic when it surfaces; we know that Trump and company will try anything to stay in the news, and that they will invite the most unscrupulous characters into their inner circles if they can be useful, so more lessons learned. And we now know how to recognize insidious attacks on our electoral system; these are all structural issues that can be addressed with collective will power.
Finally, if we can draw any hope from this last year, in fact, it should be that—even under the most persistent, misinformation-fueled attempts to subvert our election, and the worst possible circumstances (a pandemic)—good people on both sides of the aisle did their jobs and protected the sanctity of our vote. True patriots suffered death or injury in the Capitol on January 6th, defending the seat of our democracy from Trump’s mob, and they deserve all the gratitude we can muster, but maybe we should back up for a moment and not simply dismiss the individuals in that mob as being beyond reason or help, either. To my mind, they deserve to be listened to, but peacefully. Some of them may be simply criminals (that seemed quite apparent from the footage), but I suspect that for most, their anger and extremism and conspiracy theories—as crazy and outlandish as they are—probably mask real issues that need to be solved in this nation.
Many have probably been disadvantaged by a host of economic forces that have swept over us in the past thirty years, so their anger—sadly taken advantage of and twisted into usefulness by Trump and company—could be quite legitimate, even if it is misdirected at immigrants and minorities and public servants just trying to do their jobs. Everyone deserves a fair shake in this society because that’s what democracy demands and that’s what our Humanity (which should inform that democracy) longs for. We ignore these fringe elements at our peril because we can only be as strong as our weakest members, after all.
Bottom line, if the New Moon in innovative, electric Aquarius tells us anything, it’s that the solutions to our problems lie in our own ingenuity and determination, and that we can do better if we keep our eyes on a future that works for all.
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, A Silver Lining in Aquarius: Engineering the Future with the 2020 Jupiter-Saturn cycle, and Pluto’s Sibly Return: Revisiting Paine’s Common Sense for Transformational Times..
For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.