Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows: The Convergent Interests of “Birthers” and Astrologers
Upon Governor Jan Brewer’s signature, Arizona will have passed a bill that would require presidential candidates to produce their birth certificates before their names would appear on the ballot. This has sprouted from unfounded doubts about President Obama’s citizenship and subsequent eligibility to be president due to the Constitution’s requirement that only a “natural-born” citizen may be president. Ironically, despite the non-factual, xenophobic and racist origins of this bill, this could be one of the best things that has ever happened for the astrological community.
As anyone who is interested in astrology knows, birth times are a precious thing. We need birth times in order to calculate the exact positions of the planets at birth from which to make various determinations and prognostications. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to work without a birth time, especially when you are trying to predict who might become the next president. For a detailed analysis on the kind of things astrologers have to go through without reliable birth times, take a look at What Astrologers Learned From the 2008 Election. In fact the only reason we have a birth time for President Obama is because he voluntarily released his birth certificate in order to dispel the rumors about his eligibility to be president. That’s right. Astrologers have “birthers” to thank for Obama’s birth time.
Still, even if this bill and others like it pass, it is not necessarily a guarantee of a birth time for all presidential candidates. A candidate may publish their birth certificate but it may be missing the birth time. You can see the general nightmarish labyrinth an astrologer faces in navigating the birth certificate policies of the United States here. Some states record them, others don’t, others unreliably, others only since or up to a certain time, etc. It’s not fair, although things could be worse. Already-strict rules on birth records could become even more tightly controlled and states may begin to purposefully abandon the recording of birth times altogether. The other extreme would be a dystopian sci-fi scenario where the government accepts that astrology exists, all birth times are recorded, births of potential dissidents would be terminated and lives would be strictly controlled according to the government’s interpretation of everyone’s astrological chart. Unfortunately the former is far more plausible than the latter, although the latter would make a great movie.
Essentially, astrologers as a community do not have much political clout. While belief in astrology persists, it is generally despised by academia, mocked by the media and demonized by most religions, sometimes rightfully and understandably so, but not always fairly or correctly so. Those factors combined, astrologers will not find champions in politicians (Nancy Reagan’s consultations with Joan Quigley notwithstanding). It might be smarter of me to keep quiet of my support for this kind of bill to be made into law, because pointing out the bill’s usefulness to a group as politically toxic as astrologers would be a surefire way to kill it and others like it nationwide. (You know, more surefire than what should be considered the politically toxic attitudes that produced a bill like this in the first place). You will not see a president in the future fighting for “National Birth Records Reform”. This bill, as despicable and nonsensical as its origins are, is a godsend for astrologers, and we must privately hope that it passes. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.