The photo op this week at the White House under the magnolia tree of the president and the vice president (both in white shirts), and Professor Louis Gates and Sergeant Crowley (both in jacket and tie) and their beer mugs was satisfying- at least it was to me. And despite the over-the-top media coverage, in the long run, I think it was good that it happened. I hadn’t realized that it was Crowley who actually suggested ‘a beer at the White House’ in an offhanded semi-joking way when President Obama called and surprised him while he was off-duty at the bar in Cambridge on July 25th.
The Gates/Crowley fracas was not only about race.
The more I contemplate the absurd arrest of Professor Gates, and observe the difficulty that Sergeant Crowley has had in moving beyond his defensiveness and ego, the more I realize that this is as much about class distinction as it is about race. And in a way, it illustrates the Red State-Blue State issue that remains with us in post-Bush America. I love that the beer brands served at Thursday’s meeting included a red one and a blue one (see photo). The cynic in me wonders if that was staged too.
Frank Rich’s latest post, “Small Beer Big Hangover” also addresses the class issue in this saga while reminding that it was Crowley who in a possible Freudian slip misstated Good Samaritan Lucia Whalen’s words in her 911 call to report the possible break-in. Whalen never said a word about race, it was Crowley who did. Oops.
In his op-ed today, “Anger has its place”, Bob Herbert goes through the timing of what transpired that evening in Cambridge. It took all of six minutes from Crowley’s arrival to Gates’ arrest.
But what does class have to do with it?
It seems to me that Crowley’s defensiveness and continued refusal to give even an inch while the professor has been gallantly deferential is due in part to his insecurity and possible shame about his obvious lack of cultural sophistication and his uneasiness with language. In their body language, all three, Obama, Biden, and Gates, included Crowley into their ‘club’.
The Washington Post reported on what Elizabeth Gates, the professor’s daughter, had to say about the “Beer Summit”. She was less forgiving than her dad. Here is her piece in the Daily Beast.
In his post beer news conference, Crowley warmed ever so slightly, but still seemed unaware of how his attitude contributed to the scuffle. When asked about this being a ‘teachable moment’, Crowley said that the only thing he’s learned from it so far is that the media can find out where you live.
But I’m still hopeful: To Gates’ and Crowley’s credit, this conversation will continue. I hope to see Crowley’s defenses melt a bit more. He needs to learn that a touch of humility will not diminish his strength but add to his character. He couldn't have better teachers than President Obama and Professor Gates.
While researching my upcoming article on Saturn in Libra for The Mountain Astrologer, I stumbled upon a 1981 piece by Robert Cole written while the USA Saturn Return was in progress at the time. In it, Cole referred to an essay included in The National Experience: A History of the United States (Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., New York, 1968), in which David Schuster states:
"In one of the strangest reversals in history, man became economic man, democracy became identified with capitalism, liberty with property and the use of it, equality with opportunity for gain, and progress with economic change and the accumulation of capital."
That so ‘bottom-lined’ what has been bothering me for ages.
I’ve been especially distraught about the disinformation campaign being mounted full–throttle by the health insurance industry, and the right wing politicians and Blue-Dog Democrats (in their pockets) who are using their collective muscle to sabotage all efforts towards Health Care reform by confusing the most fearful, vulnerable, and uneducated among us.
Leading the pack is the “Kill Granny” Disinformation campaign by conservative talk radio to frighten the uninformed into believing that health care reform will lead to end of life ‘rationing” and even euthanasia.
But IMO the worst offender of all is none other than ABC’s John Stossel- who last night on 20/20 basically ran a promotional ad for the US health insurance industry while trashing all of the ‘un-private’ options listed in the proposed Health Reform Bill, poo-pooed Canada’s effective socialized approach, and beat down any policy that might –through its efficiency- usurp the monopoly of the insurance companies. Stossel is a shameful puppet of big business.
Paul Krugman’s Health Care Realities sums up what’s at stake and breaks down the lingo in this complicated issue. It’s a must read.
Thank God for Bill Moyers and Amy Goodman and Praise the Lord for Whistleblower Wendell Potter. If we were to rely exclusively on mainstream media, we’d hear and know nothing.
Do watch “Profits Before People”, Bill Moyers’ revealing and disturbing conversation with Wendell Potter, a former health insurance insider who has seen the light and is using his life to educate us on the mercenary horrors of the insurance industry. Said Potter, "The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral. Potter is asked about his personal metamorphosis from ‘industry mouthpiece to whistleblower’ in his July 16 -09 interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.
As of this writing, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved the first step toward legislation that would provide healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans. Many more revisions and votes will have to take place before it’s law. “It‘s not over”, said Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, “there are still 5 bills, this is a 10 step legislative process...“.
And finally, in New York City, Time Warner has ‘sold’ a better spot to FOX NEWS. Next month, CNN will be moved (demoted) from channel 10 to channel 78, while FOX goes from channel 44 to channel 10. Here’s the story.
Chart: Lunar Eclipse
Click for larger view
ARIES: If you, a BFF (best friend forever), a spouse or partner get a sudden urge to spruce up your surroundings, just do it! This need not be an expensive major overhaul, even the most surface clean-up or cosmetic changes will lift your spirits and lighten your mood. And besides, there’ll be a ripple effect that will improve productivity and attract career prospects: As Mercury enters your 6th house of work and health, your effectiveness on the job and in your day to day routine is enhanced. You’re about to win a round in the battle of the bulge.
TAURUS: Your lovely ruler Venus enters the family-centric sign of Cancer and in the 3rd house is suggestive of a nurturing vibe towards your neighbors and a check in with siblings. Stay away from talking about hot-button topics (politics, religion, Sarah Palin, etc) or you may end up in an argument and estranged. The ruler of your second house of income, Mercury, enters practical Virgo and your 5th house of creative fun. You’re in a good place to tear through work that has piled up, because it doesn’t feel like a chore. The Lunar Eclipse sheds needed light on a career decision.
GEMINI: Your ruler, Mercury, enters Virgo and your 4th house of home and family and it will make a favorable aspect to powerful Pluto in your 8th house of other “shared resources”. Translation: If you apply yourself, an easier time with banks, lenders, and credit card companies is in the offing. Sweet Venus in your 2nd house of income agrees and will assist your every effort. Don’t waste energy with complaining or lamenting about how easy other people have it. It’s an illusion, as just about everyone is paring down and adjusting the way they live. The Lunar Eclipse facilitates a neat shift in your core philosophy.
CANCER: Wait till August 3rd to talk turkey with a sibling, a spouse or an in-law or to broach anything ‘sensitive’ with banks or lenders: Mercury in Virgo will favorably aspect Pluto and will make your case and the listening ability of others that much stronger. Venus enters your sign this week and through August 26th, the mirror is your friend. Use the energy to up the ante in the image department while making yourself more socially available. The Lunar Eclipse forces awareness in investments and your psychological bottom line. Take the blinders off
LEO: Through the end of July, your best thought-out words fell on deaf and spaced-out ears. All of that shifts on August 3rd, when Mercury enters your 2nd house of income and favorably aspects Pluto in the 6th house of work and ‘process’. As if by magic, those who you’ve been trying to reach will be responsive and helpful. Remain in work mode, and in touch, even if you’re at the beach: good aspects such as these are hard to come by! The Lunar Eclipse on the 5th sheds further light on who you’ve been devoting time to. Loyalty’s a fine quality, but so is discretion.
VIRGO: Of the things you cherish most, mental clarity and the ability to come up with the right words when you need them tops the list and is yours for the asking on and after August 3rd: Mercury enters your sign and makes a strategic alignment to Pluto in your creative and romantic 5th house making a breakthrough possible and Venus in your 11th house of friends and community speaks of a temporary scuffle between a pal and a child or paramour of yours. If so, it’ll blow over quickly. The eclipse in your 6th house of work and health illuminates your perspective on how to best care for yourself. Listen to your inner voice.
LIBRA: Topsy-turvy Libras live an inverted life in many respects so it should come as no surprise that you often make your best career advances when the rest of the world is on hiatus. Your ruler Venus enters your 10th house and brings the law of attraction to your doorstep. Don’t be lazy or hesitant in the career department. And even though Venus likes to be wooed, she (and you) must be a little pro-active when opportunity knocks. Mercury enters your 12th house of hidden information and it may behoove you to put on your Dick Tracy hat and do some digging.
SCORPIO: The days leading up to the August 5th Lunar Eclipse will see events unfolding and changing before your very eyes: On the 30th/31st of July, avoid talking too much with family members and postpone taking action regarding real estate or home-centric matters. All of that switches into a positive track and communication clears as Mercury enters Virgo on the 3rd and makes a positive aspect to Pluto. You will not have to struggle or exert much effort to get your point across. Be a little more insistent about a project you’d like to work on, as now’s the time to make it yours.
SAGITTARIUS: As Venus enters your 8th house she inspires the toughest of bankers and lenders to nurture you to your financial greater good. The more appreciative you are, the more they’re willing to help. Mercury enters Virgo and your 10th house of career and makes the luckiest aspect to Pluto in your financial house. If this golden opportunity of a moment on the 3rd is seized, you can turn the economic tide in your favor big time. Taking even the smallest of actions will make a difference so think about what you can do towards attaining your heart’s desire.
CAPRICORN: Venus enters your social 7th house and though you’re not in any particular mood for small talk or anything that you consider to be a waste of time, try to be polite and be aware of how powerful your rejecting energy can be. Though you may not realize it, you can easily deflate someone who’s only trying to be nice. The Lunar Eclipse focuses energy on your spending and going forward, it’ll be impossible for you to kid yourself as to where those extra dollars have been wasted of late. Mercury in Virgo will help you to take a step back and look at the big picture.
AQUARIUS: The approaching Lunar Eclipse in your sign sets the stage for a re-invention of self that can only be achieved with the tender loving caring help of a female in the workplace or one who serves you at home or on the beat. Your independent distant nature needs to sit this one out, and allow others to shoulder some responsibility. Mercury enters your transformational 8th house, so for the next few weeks, meeting and processing your deepest darkest issues around money, sex, and how much you're willing to go into or remain in hock for is unavoidable, so go along willingly - resisting will only make it harder than it need be.
PISCES: As sweet Venus enters your frolicking 5th house of fun and games, take note that a romantic interest or a child of yours may prefer some alone time with you to that of a group or a crowd. Mercury enters your 7th house of partnership thereby making it easier for a spouse or close cohort to express what’s been on their mind. It’s imperative for the health of the association that you listen carefully as their input is very useful. The Eclipse may deem you more psychic than usual and sensitive to your surroundings. Stay out of the mall.