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Slipping Into Formation
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

HOW DO you tell someone their time has come and gone? How do you acknowledge their enormous service, which may have brought you farther than you ever thought possible, while reminding them that its your turn now?
As I write this, the world is looking forward to the Democratic Convention address of the 42nd president, Bill Clinton. Last night his wife and primary contender, Hillary Clinton, gave a masterful speech with an eye toward unifying the party in the quest to defeat the Republican candidate; and hopefully healing the breach between the Obama supporters and her own, who have been dubbed the PUMA's (Party Unity, My Ass!).
I confess an abiding weakness for Big Bill, one that has been sadly tarnished by the last months of campaigning and sulking. While Clintonian politics have always been too moderate to suit me, and too intertwined with corporate entities and special interests, Bill himself had an abundance of the right stuff as a president. A Clinton speech was always a thrill -- intelligent, thoughtful, emotional and seemingly personal. As president, he had an entrepreneurial edge, trying new things, supporting new technologies and options. He was a futurist; and now the future is here, leaving Bill as an elder statesman.
If you simply had to apply that old, tired, "is this someone I want to have a beer with?" question to Bill Clinton, everyone and their dog could nod their head yes. Everyone but the Hard Right and the Christocrats, of course; he had the bad luck to play out his leadership in what I think of as the Falwell years, meeting his nemesis in a Puritanical Congress led by Newt Gingrich, the forefather of rogue conservatism. The Lewinsky scandal played right into the hands of the hypocritical moralistas that had kidnapped the country and taken it on a trip through fundamentalism.
Gleaning a cue from Hillary's crackerjack performance, I am a tad less nervous about Bill's speech. It's said -- and by those who should know -- that Bill's feelings are profoundly hurt; he feels that his achievements have been disregarded and his standing with the black community undercut. Political races are games of hardball, and the Clinton's played almost too well in the last months.
I won't go into the question of the race card here. I will leave it to the African-American community to plumb its depths; they felt the sting of Bill's remarks, long before their number, a projected 95%, decided on Obama as their candidate. Feelings are still wounded, and Bill's speech tonight has the possibility of smoothing that over, if it will. By the time you read this, we will know.
Planet Waves
Achilles tending Patroclus' wounds from a red-figure kylix by the Sosias Painter from about 500 B.C. in the Staatliche museum in Berlin. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Wounds are what we are dealing with now. Chiron's conjunction with the North Node, and in opposition to the South, has given us a summer of digging around in the bowels of old hurts and sorrows, unfinished business and unresolved grievance: global, national, community and personal.
Chiron has us simmering in the energies of both wounding and healing, while the nodes tell us where we're going and where we've been. That conjunction takes place in Aquarius, representing We, The People, and exacerbating our restlessness to overthrow those chains that bind us to all that is restrictive and outmoded.
That is only one of the aspects that indicate a redesign of alliances, and break with what has gone before during this potent period. Venus, the planet of love and relationships, is being squared by Pluto and opposed by Uranus. In my own experience, those energies mix to a karmic end; what must be broken away, breaks; what must be given up, goes. In short, what needs to be noticed and dealt with comes to the forefront, and to some conclusion.
While the convolutions within the Democratic Convention are one such petri dish, the Republican Convention next week will give us another version of the social experiment to witness. And, bigger picture, the difference between the two will deliver a potent illustration of what is new and what is old.
The Dems are seeking to soothe their wounds and unify their party in order to address the dire concerns of the 21st century, while the Pubs seem to be bent on keeping divisions alive and sticking to the 20th century script that put militarism and imperialism first. We're coughing up the next hairball in our old paradigm catharsis. The conventions give us a chance to watch that play out in national pageantry.
Again, how do you tell someone his/her ideas are old and outworn? How do you get the notion of a new day, a clearer path, a period of reconciliation and redemption ahead when they cannot seem to grasp how critical the need is of such an experiment?
I have dear family members who do not understand the progressive platform, who do not respond to the plight of the poor, the uninsured and underfed, who do not notice their own middle-class status spiraling downward, along with that of those they love; who, while decrying the rights of strangers, have made strangers out of their own.
My disappointment in them, at this time of turning, is painful; it's all I can do when they make fun of a speech like Michelle Obama's, or a career like Ted Kennedy's, not to unleash righteous wrath on their heads. But that, of course, would not bring healing. More, it is ungrateful. In cases like these, we must remember that love leads; that it is, as written in Corinthians 1:13, patient, kind, is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. And while our turning toward a 21st century paradigm seems at odds with their consciousness, it is that very lovingness that must instruct us now and lead us forward.
Me, I'm a fire-in-the-belly liberal; all my fire planets want to hear it, feel it and leap to my feet in support of it. Here's a Dennis Kucinich YouTube from C-SPAN that did just that for those on the convention floor, and made me happy; his address occurred in the daytime, with little advertisement. This clip captures the energy of that moment; the applause continued into the next speaker's delivery.
In some ways, I will acknowledge that this is a kind of old energy in itself; yet it can't be ignored. It's a necessary step, and we must continue to punctuate the difference between new and old by telling the truth about what the Bush years have wrought. Obama's speech on Thursday has been noted as one where he will draw those differences for a waiting nation. If we are to, indeed, "wake up," we need those choices in our face, discussed at our tables and defined in our bank accounts and daily lives. Obama's "urgency of now" cannot be underestimated.
Yet, progressivism is taking a more inclusive turn in the Obama candidacy and that must not be made unwelcome; the fear that we still confront a mighty internal enemy keeps us wary of welcoming in those who might have worked against us in the past.
But if we are to accomplish a "new" thing, it must be with all of us working together. The critical needs of our nation and our world must trump the old, outworn rhetoric of the last decades if we are to move ahead. Becoming one world requires us to find our path into one nation: all Americans, as Obama insists. We must become team players.
I think of Canadian geese when I think of teamwork. Geese are remarkable, one of the great species of birds that display instincts that help us understand the innate intelligence of all creatures. We see them making Vs in the sky, heading south in the Fall; if we listen carefully we can hear them honking, and see the massive shadow of their flight move along the ground. This is a sight we stop to study, to point out to our children: a marvel of nature that catches us up in the mystery of instinctual awareness.
One of the old sayings in my family has to do with "the sense God gave a goose." It turns out that geese are exquisitely sensible. Their ability to act as a unit is an illustration of common purpose. Geese mate for life, co-parent their goslings and remain in families; their loyalty is encoded in their DNA. When one of them falls, a few of their number will stay with their comrade until it either dies or is capable of rejoining the gaggle.
In their long flights, the goose at the head of the flock will effortlessly fall back to allow the next leader to take its place at point. The good of the whole, not the one, informs them; to my mind, that is the essence of Aquarian energy.
How do we tell the old timers their era has come and gone? We don't, I suppose. We let them discover it themselves. We superimpose terrific ideas and obvious solutions over the tired polemics of the past; we throw our enthusiasm into new possibilities and allow them to catch fire in the hearts and imaginations of those willing to listen. We pull them along with us. We must remember, lovingly, that we're standing on their shoulders.
Standing on their shoulders. I like that phrase very much: it's been used to define the civil rights movement that allowed this candidacy of a person of color, to illustrate the breakthroughs of former politicians and leaders, and to give a nod in gratitude for what has gone before. We've come to this place, functional or dys-, because they brought us here; we must take them the rest of the way.
Another phrase I like was used last night by Hillary Clinton, who said, in reference to Democrats, that we're "one family." Our family is bigger even than that; we are one people, across this globe: striving for peace and prosperity, learning compassion and inclusiveness, allowing our differences to fade as our commonalities inform us and hungering for government that shares our burden and addresses our needs.
We are flying, now, in one formation toward a future that awaits us, and the smallness of our personal druthers needs to fall back as we form the aerodynamically perfect V that cuts through the headwinds of resistance. We have the wind of change at our backs -- and the instinctual, compelling vision of a new paradigm to lead us forward into a way of life that is worthy of all creatures, great and small.

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