A recent Guardian opinion article explains that the Republicans in the United States can win elections by gerrymandering alone. What’s gerrymandering?
The Google dictionary definition is to “achieve (a result) by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency.” Changing the boundaries on a local level ensures that the votes get allocated in a way that ensures more elected officials for your party and fewer for the opposition party. One million people are voting for 10 representatives. Natural geographic boundaries may produce five representatives for each party. By changing boundaries to benefit one target party, maybe that party can get seven representatives instead of five leaving three for the opposition.
On the US national level, the Electoral College tends to follow the popular vote (but doesn’t have to) which can result in minority popular vote electing a president which has occurred twice recently with Bush Jr in 2000 and Trump Sr in 2016.
In an anachronistic episode of the British historical comedy Black Adder, our main character sets up a dummy candidate in a “rotten borough.” The one voter in the borough has “accidentally brutally stabbed himself in the stomach while shaving,” leaving only a cow named Colin to vote for the dummy candidate. In today’s world the one voter would be gerrymandered into another borough leaving Colin the Cow as the sole voter.
While gerrymandering is not new, technology has increased its ability to target down to Colin the Cow. You need two things – data on every household and the ability to analyze it. And, thirdly, of course, the power to set the boundaries.
The voter is no longer a unique individual with personal and community needs but a data point to be manipulated. The voter isn’t a person but an idea. The voter is a collector’s item for a political party. The voter is the prize in a video game.
Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius
Back in the 1990s, Uranus the planet of enlightenment and innovation and Neptune the planet of idealization and spirituality met up in Aquarius, the fixed air sign. Aquarius is the innovator and rebel. Uranus is associated with technology, ideas, inspiration and genius.
These two outer planets spending time in Aquarius brought us a world of ideas, intellectual connection, speed, convenience. Air like water transports – air transports ideas, water feelings. We had lots of idea transfer at the beginning of the tech revolution in the 1990s.
No mystery that our modern idols are the tech giants. They are still revered by youth, especially male youth, who all want to create technology that will short-path them to fame and fortune. Pluto in Capricorn beginning in 2007 captured the market on technological innovation by centralizing the benefits into a tech oligarchy. You can’t compete with Google or Amazon.
Yet those that come up with technology and those that employ it to take over the world are two different types. As we have been lured into a digital life through its constant stimulation, speed and convenience, we now find ourselves, as servants to the tech lords who now control our digital infrastructure and increasingly control our physical logistics.
Since the transits of Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius, much of our world has transferred to the air via computers, smart phones and television. And as a pandemic world encourages us to stay home, more and more life will be “up in the air.”
War – In the Air
A recent episode of 60 Minutes described attacks on foreign diplomats in Cuba and China that occurred probably with microwaves. The effects are neurological disturbance and may even lead to Parkinson’s. New warfare need not be bloody; it’s “in the air.”
Cyberattacks and ransomware – it’s all “in the air.” The digital “cloud” is above us all and anyone who wants to try to get into anyone else’s digital property can give it a go. In contrast, the old-fashioned bank vault has a geographic coordinate and only a small portion of humanity is ever near it.
While not played up in the US media, the recent cyber attacks on the US government are true acts of warfare; the attacks are meant to destabilize the government. I’m sure we don’t learn more because it’s scary to think someone not in the US military is directing the greatest military might on earth.
Entertainment – Up in the Air
Since the beginning of moving picture “the pictures,” much entertainment has been “in the air.” Moving picture is ruled by Neptune which represents its great glamour and allure. If a moving image is near you, it is difficult not to follow it.
Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius put the moving picture in our hands. Not only is entertainment “up in the air,” but so is most of our attention. It’s difficult to ignore the bouncing ball.
Entertainment content has exploded (although some is not truly entertainment) so that non-entertainment is disappearing faster than animal extinction. News, real news i.e., information about events on earth, is shrinking as it must compete with entertainment. And politicians are beating this dying horse as it’s to their advantage to have their constituents ignore facts and focus on entertainment.
Government – Up in the Air
As tracking technologies have increased including facial recognition, some countries are actively employing it to manage large populations. China is most known for this.
In the dystopian novel 1984, we enter a world of tracking. As our protagonist goes through the motions of his structured and spiritless life, we imagine this system being forced upon him. Now experiencing technological life first hand, it’s obvious that it doesn’t always need to be forced.
A combination of marketing allure, curiosity and coercion are what has brought the developed countries into surveillance states (benign or otherwise). Watching the movie The Post which details the publication of The Pentagon Papers, I was struck by a scene where the journalists are hiding material in a hotel room. My mind wandered to today and I imagined the journalist being caught on surveillance camera and pictures posted on the Internet.
I probably missed a few minutes of the movie as I wondered: Who decided to put up all the cameras? Who owns them? Who monitors them? Where was I when this was decided?
Work – Up in the Air
As five planets joined in authoritarian Capricorn in early 2000, we discovered there was an illness ripping through the planet and we needed to stay home to avoid its spread.
Lots of people who don’t work “in the air” lost their livelihoods because their work involved objects and people. Now that pre-pandemic activities are resuming, these folks seem to have disappeared into the air. Or maybe they are all Uber drivers.
Those that work in corporations or with computers find they can just as easily work from home as from a centralized location. And the corporations are trying to figure out if that’s a good idea for everyone.
As work moves into the home, more and more of life is “in the air.” And like the sign of Aquarius which brought this to us, it’s a life of intellectual connection but lacking in physical connection. If we stay in one physical location with limited stimulation, this increases the need for stimulation which is satisfied “in the air” which then leads to the addictive online behaviors.
Money – Up in the Air
For many, money has been digital for a long time as paychecks have taxes removed and then are placed in bank accounts where digital transactions make the balance go down.
The newest in digital money is cryptocurrency which isn’t government controlled. I won’t explain it because I can’t. But the most understandable of the explanations I’ve heard (from a friend) is that it’s like the old coat of arms explaining your social worth and ability to pay debt.
As China explores a cryptocurrency for its nation, I’m guessing the countries that have dominated the financial markets are shaking in their boots. The control of money itself is a quite brilliant strategy that’s allows some nations to dominate other nations. If countries move their money “into the air,” the game changes.
In fact, a cryptocurrency world may feel like a game of Monopoly. And as in the days of childhood when cheating was more obvious, I expect someone to store some money from their own Monopoly game or steal from the bank when no one is looking. If it’s “in the air” everyone can try.
Pluto in Aquarius
In a little under four years, Pluto will move from authoritarian Capricorn to rebellious Aquarius. While Capricorn is rigid by nature, Aquarius is a fixed sign and has its own unique but stubborn nature. This is the same Aquarius that brought us the technology revolution and moved our lives “into the air.” Now this sign will try to implant its perfectionist ideals onto society.
Pluto transforms. In Capricorn it transformed our social structure. If you are older than 14, think back on 2007 and how different it was from today. I think I may even have had an answering machine in 2007. Pluto-in-Capricorn’s first action was to destroy the housing market – the secure, unassailable housing market. As we are nearing the end of this transit, the rest of social structure is falling into a heap of disconnected Legos.
Pluto doesn’t wait for you to be ready; it compels. In 2024, the Aquarius structures we have created for life “in the air” will be ready for the next step in evolution.
Will Pluto in Aquarius continue to move our lives into the air? Will we be cavemen with computers? Will the detachment from our bodies and feelings create neurological havoc? Will we become cyborgs? Are we cyborgs already?
Aquarius is brotherhood so I expect a surge of communities built on shared ideals. I’ve noticed recently due to the influence of a Hollywood film that nomadism is becoming popular. That makes sense — as our digital world increases and our physical world shrinks, there is a desire to roam free. Aquarius likes freedom as much as it likes technology.
Astrologers, ruled by Uranus love to speculate, to think of the future, especially an Aquarian future. But, of course, it’s all up in the air.