6) is one of the hot spots of the year; it’s the day of the U.S.
presidential election and the day that Mercury reverses its
direction ... an indication of a major wrench in the works. At
the 2000 presidential election (Bush vs. Gore), Mercury was
retrograde on the night of the election, and reversed itself the
next day ... took 35 days before we knew who was the next
president. If you fast-forward to this Tuesday at 6:04 p.m. EST,
when Mercury is again on schedule to change direction, the alarm
bells start to ring.”
— From Llewellyn’s
2012 Daily Planetary Guide
Every year, I buy my
Planetary Guide at Salem’s Pyramid Books; one never knows when one
might need some assistance understanding what’s happening in the
universe. In this particular election year, astrology makes as much
sense as anything else. Llewellyn isn’t telling me if Pisces Mitt
Romney beats Leo Barack Obama, though.
As I write this column
on Election Day, I’m not making any predictions, mostly because I
don’t know anything. I’m ignoring all the polls; if I could make one
change for the next election cycle, I’d abolish polling and focus
groups, too. I’d make candidates run without anyone telling them how
they are doing, so they might as well campaign on their real ideas
and plans, regardless of how anyone is responding to them.
Two years ago, I was
hoping for something definitive. However, the results were mixed:
Nationally, the new tea party movement sent deficit hawks and
reformers to Congress; here, we kept all the same congressmen,
missed a chance to have Charlie Baker for our governor, but did
elect some new pro-taxpayer legislators.
As for the presidency:
I wrote then that I’d come to think the election of Barack Obama was
a good thing. With the Republicans (before the tea party got their
attention), we were heading down the slippery slope; with the
Democrats, we went over the fiscal cliff. Election 2010: Time to
bounce or go splat.
Well, we did neither,
making this year’s election even more important; we are still
falling, deeper into debt and moral confusion. I think we really
need a definitive decision now. Voters, make up your mind today:
big, unlimited government, for as long as it can last before the
splat, or a bounce up toward limited, controlled, effective
On the way to this
important election, I was distracted at the end of October by the
50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. There were two
specials on WBGH that reminded me: I could have been dead for a long
time now. This puts my current political concerns in perspective.
I was a freshman in
college, at a small commonwealth campus of Penn State University,
when the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba and President
John F. Kennedy ordered them removed. A television was set up on the
stage of our auditorium so we could watch his speech, warning that
America would respond in kind to any attack. My friends and I
prepared to die in the nuclear explosion we’d been half-expecting
since grade-school drills had us ducking under our desks when the
teacher shouted the “bright flash!” warning.
That weekend, some of
us decided that there was no point in waiting to have sex, while
others remembered that the Catholic school exercise included saying
a “perfect Act of Contrition” so we wouldn’t be incinerated with sin
on our souls and go straight to hell.
Anyhow, the Russians
backed off, and the world was saved for the moment; we went on with
our lives, though the sense, not usually common in young people,
that “life is very short and very uncertain” remained and perhaps
explains, along with the Vietnam War, “the ’60s Revolution” that
changed the American culture.
One of the television
specials told a story I hadn’t heard before, about a Soviet
submarine that almost launched a nuclear-tipped torpedo at us during
the tense Cuban standoff. The sub was out of touch with its country
but under orders to launch if a nuclear war had already begun; two
of the three officers on board believed they were under attack. But
three officers had to unanimously agree, and the young fleet
commander, Vasili Arkhipov, refused to turn his launch key. One
individual Russian, saving the world from possible nuclear
holocaust. It’s an amazing drama, catch if it you can on PBS.
Most of us have seen
the other side of the drama, usually from the point of view of those
in the Kennedy White House. We now know that most of John Kennedy’s
advisers wanted to attack the Soviet Union; instead, he reached out
to his Soviet counterpart, Nikita Khrushchev, with a compromise
concerning U.S. missiles in Turkey.
I’d been too young to
vote in the 1962 election. If a man with less self-assurance had
become president, would the world have ended? There have been
several “most important elections” in American history, including
that of Ronald Reagan, who ended the Cold War. Today is another.
I voted for Reagan. And
now will go to vote for Romney, and wait, hopefully not for 35 days,
to see who won.