Textbook Mercury retrograde in Virgo example:
The campaign preceding the crucial presidential election in November has been hijacked by a battle of irrelevant details.
As I mentioned a couple weeks back, too much attention to detail has a tendency to obscure the motivations behind why any details are being offered at all. This concept has reverberated through my mind over these past couple weeks, as media coverage has snowballed over the Vietnam War record of Democratic candidate John Kerry. How true are Kerry's accounts of his service? How true are the criticisms of these accounts? How legal are the funding sources of these criticisms, and of the criticisms of these criticisms? How many facts and counterfacts can be piled upon each other? Read my detailing of the details, and prepare to get dizzy.
Detail #1A group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth begins to run an ad criticizing candidate John Kerry for misrepresenting his involvement in the Vietnam War. The group says Kerry presents 'exaggerated claims about his own service', for which he won three Purple Hearts, in addition to making false statements about war crimes committed by US troops during Vietnam. For this, according to the group, Kerry is 'unfit' to be president.
Detail #2Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry by John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi hits bookstores, right as Mercury is turning retrograde. The book, filled with interviews of veterans who served in Vietnam with Kerry, is 'a shocking indictment of a politician who slandered his fellow veterans, danced on the edge of treason, and has shamelessly exaggerated his own war service for political ends [quote from publisher].'
Detail #3O'Neill, co-author of Unfit for Command, is no mere 'veteran for truth'; he and Kerry have known and publicly disliked each other for over 30 years. O'Neill admits, 'The only reason I got back into this deal 100 percent is because he's running as a major party candidate for president of the United States. And I think he would be a terrible president.' Of course, the supposed non-partisan Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is supported largely by Republican dollars.
Detail #4MoveOn, a political action committee dedicated to supporting 'candidates who embrace moderate to progressive principles of national government', produces its own ad, condemning the Swift Boat Veterans' ad as 'false advertising dishonest and dishonorable'. The MoveOn ad, though, cannot resist the temptation to criticize President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam era. Of course, the supposed non-partisan MoveOn is supported largely by Democratic dollars.
Details #5, #6, #7, #8 Kerry condemns the MoveOn ad, if only so he can take the high road in calling on Bush to condemn the Swift Boat Veterans' ad. Kerry files a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Swift Boat Veterans, alleging the group's ads are 'illegally coordinated' with Republicans and the Bush-Cheney campaign. A volunteer Bush campaign advisor quits due to his involvement with the Swift Boat Veterans. But what about the Kerry campaign advisor who's been involved with MoveOn? And are there other political groups, like MoveOn, who are also 'coordinating' their efforts with campaigns and subject to FEC crackdowns?
This he-said-he-said whirlwind of war record questions, may I remind you while belaboring the point, is the campaign issue receiving the most media coverage since Mercury headed retrograde two weeks ago. Each side has accumulated first-person narratives from Vietnam vets to support its version of the facts (and nobody likes to disparage veterans, who have proven themselves noble patriots through their service, as liars) even as we are left comparing multiple subjective tales of events from over 30 years ago all in trying to determine who should be President of the United States today.
That's right, minute details from events over 30 years ago have abruptly become the pressing campaign issue, overshadowing the current war in Iraq (oh, yeah, we have a current war situation going on), the economy and health care. Thanks to the distraction machine, we are being implicitly asked to judge both candidates on hearsay specifics about their behavior as twentysomething upstartsand by the way, would you want your career proficiency to be judged on what you did over 30 years ago?as opposed to what they are going to do now.
Even the question of whether political groups like the Swift Boat Veterans and MoveOn are dubious channels for illegal campaign funding seems somewhat besides the point to me, though it clearly indicates some degree of corruption on both sides. Maybe I'm just overly cynical about institutional politics, but I simply assume major-party candidates will search out and deploy any and all halfway-legal loopholes involving campaign finances. And I also assume they will present carefully crafted public statements, including sweeping generalizations and exaggerations and out-of-context quotes from their opponents, as part of any campaign. But aren't we smart enough to sift through all that perfectly engineered crap, to figure out which candidate best represents our values with regards to issues we personally find important, rather than who said what about a relatively insignificant and outdated detail irrelevant to our day-to-day lives?
As I've said, Mercury retrograde in Virgo has a way of inundating us with factual data to the point of disorientation. It's not that the information is untrue, but rather the typical Virgoan reliance on analytic reasoning to produce logical conclusions functions in a convoluted manner. A conclusion may be used to support the very facts that supposedly prove its veracity, as opposed to the usual flow of logic, which operates in the other direction.
This week, as Mercury moves backwards through the zodiac, it actually leaves Virgo and returns to Leo, leaving the pretense of reason behind and reentering the realm of pride and ego. As this retrograde continues, it should become increasingly clear that the entire 'factual' debate I've described aboveand others like itis nothing more than a clash between two individuals who want to become president. There is no objective truth regarding these details to reveal which guy is more right or more wrong. At this point in the game, it's a matter of personal preference, pure and simple. Once we understand this true mode, we can restore our focus to the concerns we find important and decide whom we prefer on those criteria.