Monday, December 22, 2008

The US Need for Royalty

Maybe I’m just a Brit looking in, but US politics seems much more dynastic than what we have over here. This is ironic, as the USA was founded on the idea of rejecting European ideas of inherited power, and the lack of true representation that goes with that.

So in the US you have your Kennedys and Bushs and Clintons, and members of these families have a much greater chance of becoming a Senator or Governor, or even running for President, than your average person. And these families are looked up to and lionised. This is why there is currently such a fuss about the possibility of Caroline Kennedy becoming a Senator, as her uncle Edward Kennedy fades from politics. She has never shown an interest in politics before now.

Of course an interest in politics, like anything, is likely to run in families. So in the UK you will get MPs whose father, say, was in Parliament. But an MP is not a big deal. You don’t get noticed unless you are a Minister or leader of the Opposition. Hilary Benn, son of Tony, is Minister for the Environment, but even then you’d hardly notice him bumbling along in his glasses. Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is grandson of Herbert Morrison, a post-war Cabinet Minister, but not many people seem to know this.

I think the difference is that in the UK we have a monarchy. The Queen is the repository for people’s need for these semi-divine, regal figures to look up to. This means that the politicians, who actually run the country, can be elected on their merits rather than their name.

As I have said before, I think the US needs a King or a Queen. A decadent family with gangster origins like the Kennedys would suit. Just like our British royal family: it's French founder, William I, was effectively a gangster. It would not only help deal with the falsity of these family dynasties: it would also take a lot of pressure off the Presidents to be superhuman, and let them get on with their work. So Bill Clinton had a blow-job off an intern, and then quite naturally denied it. There would probably have been a lot less fuss if he didn’t also have to carry the semi-divine aura that comes with the President’s job.

The UK has Sun in Capricorn. We understand that humanity organises itself hierarchically, that collectively we are like a pack of dogs sniffing around after sex and status. Through our powerless monarchy, and its occasional soap-operas, we take care of a good deal of that need.

The US has Sun square to Saturn. Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn. So the US has an uneasy (square) relationship with hierarchy. In its Declaration of Independence it is in denial of this fact, it claims that everyone is created equal (Saturn in Libra). If you deny something, it goes unconscious and comes out worse than it would have been. From the word go, the hierarchy between black and white people in the USA was worse than anything we had in the UK. Nowadays, the worship of money and celebrity, the division of society into winners and losers, is much more extreme than in the UK.

You can’t fault the founding fathers for wanting a more egalitarian society, based on merit rather than inheritance. Saturn was in Libra in 1776, which was a great time for ideals of fairness. But when squared to the Sun you will also get the down-side of Libra, which is ignorance of, or disregard for the nature of ordinary, ‘base’, humanity. The way the US treats its Presidents shows what a deep longing there is in the country for a monarch. Saturn in Libra may not think very highly of this, but Sun in tribal Cancer sure wants it. Natal Pluto in hierarchical Capricorn says acknowledge this about yourself or I will be your Shadow, your undoing.

Anyway, in a few weeks time Americans have a Coronation to look forward to. Whoops, I meant Inauguration.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, I fully agree. I grew up in a former British colony. We watched movie shorts of the Royal family at each cinematic viewing. But never did we aspire to build mini mansions (MacMansions), drive Hummers-size vehicles or throw gala weddings. The US fantasy dream for everyone to live like Kings certainly came with a high cost, didn't it? Earth issues, a debt crisis, a neglected national infrastracture, unequal education opportunities, and no national healthcare.

Having lived off and on in the United States has been most interesting. I keep wondering when the US will find the moral imperative to choose national healthcare over cronyism, excessive corporate greed and defense contract riches. It is truly alarming the gap between the working people and ruling elite.

Pluto has much work to do. I think it is goiing to be a bumpy ride, and not just for the US. China, the UK and many others will be along for the ride.

Dharmaruci said...

Great comment. You're a writer, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

I live in the US after moving here at the age of 9. The doctors are scared witless about the possibilty of national health care which looms as a greater probability. To be fair to them, it does cost an arm and a leg to go to medical school here and many of them do have expensive loans to pay back.

leslie said...

I've often been amused by American Royal-archetype yearnings--most of us won't even admit how entrenched it is, for fear of exposing yet another lie upon which American culture is based. I also hope we can use the advice and precedents set by England in the eventual weaning of the "upper class" from the exploitative and absurdly unbalanced privileges they take at the expense of a healthier, more "socialistic" culture/economy.