I have still not scraped my jaw off the floor all these days later, after it dropped to a gaping 'duh' following Sarah Palin's nomination for VP.
I'm merely trying to process my shock at McCain's surprising nominee choice, which immediately appeared to drastically alter the campaign terrain. This shot from way out in left field (or, more precisely, from the right) was obviously engineered for said purposeand already it's working like a charm.
This is not a political rant against the woman. (You can find plenty of those elsewhere.) If we hope to make larger sense of the Palin phenomenonand we'd be na´ve to consider her anything lesswe have to resist the easy ideological swipes. Like her or not, Sarah Palin is no fluke. If anything, I see her candidacy as confirmation that, yes, we have indeed entered a new chapter in American politics.
To me, what makes Palin's choice so damn interesting are the earth-shaking (or at least media-shaking) reverberations that ripple outward from Palin the person into so many topical hot-button issues, it becomes way too easy to look past (or forget to even look at all at) her actual policy positions or professional track-record.
Palin raises conversations about the energy crisis (she's from an oil-and-gas state), the war (her son's a soldier), abortion (she carried a baby with Down's syndrome to term), teen pregnancy (17-year-old daughter Bristol is expecting), feminism and working mothers (should she be home with her young special-needs child?), economic class (her husband's a blue-collar worker), separation of church and state (creationism in schools? 'God's will' to build a pipeline?), special-interest lobbies (bringing home all that federal money to her small Alaska town), abuses of power (she's under ethics investigation for firing her ex-brother-in-law), the sanctity of the federal union (involvement with an Alaskan-secessionist party?), and the growing celeb-culture of national politics (did we mention she's a former beauty-pageant girl with a sexy-librarian up-do?), to name some of the big ones, though I'm sure I missed more than a few.
Again, the issue is not what we believe on the aforementioned issues, but the fact that her presence on the scene forces us to address themdue purely to who Sarah Palin appears to be, at least according to surface-level identity trappings and headline-grabs.
And all this from a woman very few had even heard of this time last month. Makes you stop to scratch your head and think.
Just a few (long) weeks ago, John McCain was launching attack ads mocking Obama for his 'celebrity' (a la Paris and Britney). Then, along comes former 'Miss Congeniality' Sarah Palin to storm the covers of the tabloids with stories from her Spears-like personal life, and we can't seem to get enough. (Even those who claim to spy a 'trainwreck' still can't pull their eyes away.) Soon enough, FOX News is reporting on whether US Weekly is being 'fair and balanced' in its cover storiesand the most blatant blurring yet between 'serious' politics and the increasing debauchery of pop-culture 'entertainment' is official. (And if you're waiting for diligent reporters to probe further into Palin's past, look to The National Enquirer before The New York Times. That's how journalism goes nowadays.)
History again proves itself to be far more surreally gripping than any narrative device the Hollywood script-doctors could ever concoct.
On the astrological level, it's as if Republican astrologers caught onto the power of Obama's Sun-Neptune square, wisely identifying this natal aspect as the root of his phenom-level popularity and purposely went looking for someone who could cast an even more powerful 'glamour' (the witchy term for a spell that creates an image not entirely real underneath) than he. When it comes to Sun-Neptune-square people, we see what we want to see.
Enter Sarah Palin with her version of the natal Sun-Neptune square. Only, in her case, there are a couple pivotal differences:
(1) Palin's Sun is conjunct both Mars and Saturn in Aquarius, indicating someone who (beneath that obscuring Neptune square) is intensely strong, smart, steely, stubborn, and shrewdly able to intellectualize her emotions (Moon-Mercury conjunction, also in Aquarius). She is a true iconoclastic renegade, in the style of a Dick Cheney . and this woman means business. Anyone who hopes to dismiss her as a vapid Dan Quayle redux is sorely underestimating her.
(2) The Sun-Mars-Saturn conjunction is currently being transited by Neptune, too, making her that much more 'glamorous' and charismatic for the time being and that much harder to get a clear realistic grasp on. But with both a natal and transiting aspect from Neptune to her Sun, it's extremely easy for wider audiences to get swept up in either rose-colored devotion or paranoid fear with regards to Sarah Palin. We don't know exactly what we'd be getting with Palin, but it is undoubtedly quite differentand unquestionably shrewder and more deliberatethan first impressions likely convey.
In the astrology game, then, Sarah Palin totally out-Neptunes Obama. Notice how I've yet to mention either John McCain's or Joe Biden's astrological makeupnot because they aren't important people, but because their stories haven't yet grabbed me personally in the way Barack and Sarah have. I'd argue this 'grab' is fundamental to the Neptune equation both Palin and Obama possess, obviously becoming the key factor in this election. Palin and Obama, with the wave of Neptunian spirit behind them, are evidently the ones who'll make or break a victory for their respective sides.
Palin's choice, alas, puts Obama in the strange position of now perhaps having to downplay the very Neptunian elementsbelief, inspiration, compassionthat got him this far, in favor of substantive political content that'll differentiate him from his opponent's running-mate, who may tap into the well of Neptune's enchantment even more successfully than he.
Palin, meanwhile, must simply continue embodying her role in these audience-enthralling narratives larger than she (whether they're truly 'her' or not), which are now being reflected onto her from the cultural ethers hoping that, in the end, she can repeat a similarly triumphant all-American feat of prowess to what she achieved back in high school, when she landed the last-second free throw (on a fractured ankle, no less!) to secure the state basketball championship and earned herself the nickname 'Sarah Barracuda'.
(Haven't we seen that scene in some movie before? In the real-life version, however, we don't know what happens after the whistle blows )