Prognosticating about politics: reading about the debt ceiling with the Samurai Tarot

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Why read with the Samurai Tarot about the debt ceiling? What deranged ADHD madness is causing my brain to link the U.S. economy with the greatest swordsmen who have ever lived?

If that’s your question, please wake up.

We live in extremely polarized times. And who better to consider this matter than a group of people who understood diplomacy and who also understood power politics?

So no, this is not a question for the Yoga Tarot, for any of the numerous cat tarots, for the Hip Chick Tarot, the Gaian, or the Wildwood. This is not a question about elements per se (though elements can enter into it).

This question is not about philosophy.

It’s about power.

So yes, it’s a question for the samurai. Who the fuck better to answer this?

So if you’re not already, get on board with my choice of deck here (not that any of you have ever quibbled with my deck choice). We do not live in normal times. And I don’t care what you think about the pandemic. Because the pandemic is only one of several deeply destabilizing forces that are affecting history at this point in time.

My bias before I even pick up the cards is that I absolutely believe Republicans, at least the most extreme among them, would willingly burn the house down.

What? Why would I think such a thing? Well, the thing is, they did try to overturn an election, they did attack the Capitol, they are banning books and education in several states, they started quietly gerrymandering years before most of the rest of us even knew the word gerrymander. But sure, that’s all circumstantial evidence and the counter-evidence is that destroying the economy would actually hurt them too. It’s really not for any of those reasons that I believe they are not going to blink this time. It is just a gut feeling.

Although–think about it. Republicans and the extreme right are about to lose power for good. Because young people are getting older and now they can vote. There will eventually be a tipping point when younger voters have more power than older ones. And young voters don’t have that much interest in protecting wealthy elites and big corporations.

Maybe that’s why it feels so much to me right now like Republicans are getting ready to shoot the moon.

So my questions to the Samurai Tarot are, what is Kevin McCarthy’s plan? And what is Mitch McConnell thinking?

For McCarthy, I initially drew Miyamoto Musashi, the true Knight of Swords. I wish I thought that meant McCarthy was suddenly going to take on Musashi’s interest in protecting the vulnerable, but I don’t think that’s likely. I think this card is showing us that McCarthy is fighting on two fronts, though (Musashi was known for his ability to fight with two swords at once): One is a campaign of misinformation and the other is what’s going on in DC. The advice shown here by the archer is not for McCarthy, though, but for the rest of us–it’s that we should pay attention and look in the right place at the right time to see what’s going on.

The Samurai Tarot. What is Kevin McCarthy’s plan? Knight of Swords: Miyamoto Musashi. He’s fighting on two fronts: the Eight of Wands (tengu spirits, misinformation) and the Queen of Wands (novelist Murasaki Shikibu, who spent a lot of time at court). What to know: the Two of Wands, which in this deck shows a troll sneaking up on a woman from behind. The key word is imprudence (which failing to extend the debt ceiling certainly is). What is our advice? The Eight of Swords, perception (here shown by an archer with a large full moon in the background). Outcome? The Nine of Cups, with a deep red full moon in the background, and a crane eating a fish, which may indeed be the crane’s wish come true, but the words on the card say “The long beak of the crane catches a thousand years of wisdom.”)

As for Mitch, he is thinking in terms of matchmaking (as shown in the Lovers card here), because old school politics says in these situations, that’s what you do: You pair up the strange bedfellows because neither wants the result they will get otherwise. That’s how we have backed down from these debt ceiling brinks in the past.

The Samurai Tarot. How does Mitch McConnell see this? Situation: the Lovers, What to Know: Ace of Cups (an overture needs to be made), Advice: the World, outcome: the Three of Pentacles.

But I don’t think McCarthy and Biden will get into bed together.

I think McCarthy is getting ready to shoot the moon.

McConnell needs to discern the path that other Republicans think they see and recognize how it will affect the entire world, not just the globe but McConnell’s own political universe. And whether it does any good or not, McConnell, not McCarthy, is likely to go fall in love with a Democrat (politically, I mean, not romantically). If he has any influence left in his own party, if he has any favors left to call in among members of the House, now is the time.

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