Why Do People Run for Office?
Dell Horoscope|November 2016

There is no group more maligned by the American people than politicians, which is odd when we consider that politicians and politics are a natural byproduct of the democracy of which we are so proud. If you want to avoid politicians currying your favor and promising you things they can’t deliver, perhaps you should go live under a dictatorship. There the leaders just tell you what to do.

Wendell Perry

The reason we look upon politicians with such scorn is that they work out the compromises and make the deals that keep our fractious society together. These deals are hardly ever a pure expression of what we as individuals see as right and wrong. They combine the ideals and opinions of a multitude of people. This is a messy process, and what it produces often stinks of human frailty and the limitations of the possible. We accept these messy deals as necessary for the governance of the nation, and we blame the stink on the people who make them.

However, as maligned as politicians are in our society, there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to run for public office. What is it that inspires a person to enter a profession in which his or her credibility is constantly in question? What makes certain people “political animals”? If you’re a fan of the Netflix series “House of Cards,” you might think that it’s all about power, but I take a more optimistic view. I think that the majority of people who aspire to public office do so because they legitimately want to serve their community. They think they have a better idea, plan, or philosophy.

Obviously, most of these better ideas and plans turn out to be unworkable, and sterling philosophies quickly get tarnished during the contentious bargaining that a democratic government requires. Human nature takes over, and the newly minted politician sooner or later becomes one of those “bums” that people want to toss out. Still, I think that even the most jaded and cynical politician has buried somewhere in his or her soul an essential desire to find a better way.

JUPITER AND SATURN

In the horoscope, the manner in we which relate to the larger social order—our city, our state, our country and so on—is represented by Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter symbolizes the good things that living in society can provide for us. This includes everything from facilitated travel and access to education to regular trash pickup. Jupiter also represents religious groups with which we might be affiliated, and any organization based on shared ideals and beliefs.

Being a part of one or more of these larger social units naturally expands our power. As individuals, our influence on the world around us is limited, but when we act in concert with our city, or our church, with our state, club, or our nation, we can do amazing things. Being a part of any of these organizations extends our reach and makes us feel more significant.

Of course, this expanded power comes with a price. This is where Saturn comes in. Saturn represents the constraints that come with living in a larger social unit. Our city, state, and country require us to pay taxes. Our church calls for our tithes. Clubs and professional organizations have dues. More important, all of these social units impose restrictions and expectations upon us. The state demands that we obey laws. Churches and other organizations based on religious or philosophical beliefs have standards of behavior. In some cases, the groups with which are affiliated even tell what we can eat or what we should wear.

At the same time, however, the rules and regulations that come to us through Saturn provide us with structure and security. Within certain parameters, we know what to expect from people with whom we share a social unit, and we know what is expected of us. Laws against theft and violence allow us to feel safer. Religious rituals provide us with a sense of continuity and spiritual connection with a larger community. Sure, it’s fun to break the rules now and again, but we also take comfort from knowing that most of the time most of the people (of our social unit) are going to obey them.

With this in mind we would expect that Jupiter and Saturn would play a big role in the horoscopes of people who choose to go into politics. I did a quick survey of 40 prominent American politicians, mostly from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and found that 43 percent had either Jupiter or Saturn in an angular house. This sort of statistical analysis, primitive as it is, can by no means replace the thoughtful consideration of a complete horoscope, but it does give us an indication that Jupiter and Saturn tend to be strongly placed in the horoscopes of politicians.

Of course, there are certain personality traits that come with having Jupiter and Saturn strong in a chart that might be helpful to a person considering a career in politics. People with a prominent Jupiter are likely to be outgoing and confident. The image of the glad-handing politico working the crowd, smiling for the camera, and always appearing upbeat and optimistic certainly comes to mind when we think of Jupiter.

Saturn, on the other hand, provides us with the serious, goal-driven politician, the guy or gal who’s aiming for the top and has a detailed plan on how to get there. Having Saturn strong in a chart is associated with discipline, maturity, and high ambition. This is the politician who has studied the game and calculates his or her every move.

For the purposes of this study, however, I think we need to look at Jupiter and Saturn in a way that goes beyond personality traits. I think we can also expect people with Jupiter and Saturn strongly placed in their charts to feel a deeper connection with their community, with the larger social units of which they are a part.

This affinity for the large social scheme doesn’t have to lead to a career in politics, or even to active participation in political campaigns. A person who is deeply involved in his or her church, in charitable drives and community activities, would also be expressing Jupiter and Saturn. In many cases, though, political involvement can stem from these more localized and non-political sources. The person involved in charitable work might see how a change in the laws could benefit the less fortunate, or a person with deep religious beliefs might come to the conclusion that the political world needs the values he or she learned in church.

URANUS, NEPTUNE, AND PLUTO

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