Bin this one in the “If I Were to Hazard a Guess . . .” idle-speculation bucket.
There isn’t a more emotional and contentious political “hot-button” issue in the United States right now than gun control. I decided to apply my “Two Paths You Can Go By” spread to explore which way Congress and President Trump are likely to turn on the matter, using my favorite sociopolitical query deck, Brian Williams’ Post-Modern Tarot with its suits of Guns, Bottles, TVs and Bills. (One housekeeping note: I disregard Williams’ assignment of the suit elements and consider Guns to correspond with Wands/Fire for obvious reasons, and TVs to relate to Swords/Air because of their association with public broadcasting “over the airwaves.” I’m OK with Bottles as Cups/Water and Bills/Money as Pentacles/Earth.) Before I get into this, I should mention that I’m a fairly strict constitutionalist with Libertarian sympathies; I don’t like political meddling in our lives from either side of the ideological fence, whether through strong-arm, authoritarian tactics or “nanny-State” erosion of individual liberties.
The “two paths” I’m proposing in the gun-control debate are: A) the introduction of step-wise measures such as reinstating the ban on military-style assault weapons (after carefully defining them); instituting “red-flag” vetting practices; enforcing stiffer penalties for weapons violations, etc; and B) the expedient (but currently unconstitutional) action of simply removing all firearms of any kind from the hands of the public. The first option is represented in the spread by Focus Card “A” and its chain of four cards, and the second option involves Focus Card “B” and its four-card series. The one favored by the “facing” of the Significator card will ideally show the most plausible trajectory. Note that I only used the “clock-wise” flow in this reading, deducing the relative transparency and intelligibility of each option from the above-or-below position of the string of cards relative to the horizon line; the more obscure “counter-clockwise” flow would add little that isn’t already apparent.
The Significator card turned out to be the “Gun Man” (King of Wands) reversed, suggesting that the President, Congressional constitutionalists and the gun lobby are “under the gun” to make concessions. Reversal aims the “facing” of the figure toward Focus Card “B” (10 of Guns), indicating that the “go-for-broke” sentiments of gun confiscation may be gaining traction. (In case you’re wondering, the yellow lines on the reading pad are for another purpose; you can disregard them.)
All images copyright Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY
The first thing of note is that there are a lot of “guns and money” cards (and especially money) in this layout, mostly in the Focus Card “B” array. It reminds me of the Warren Zevon song title “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” except that the legal aspects are taking a back seat to the emotional groundswell shown by all the Bottles. The 10 of Guns suggests widespread public concern about the threat of gun violence (but maybe it also shows how the “Gun Man” feels right now), and the 5 of Guns drives the thought home with its impression of blame-shifting and finger-pointing. The 7 of Bills and the 4 of Bills look like money being wielded in a calculated way to try forcing the issue, while the Ace of TVs obviously represents mainstream media pressure to push the agenda.
The Focus Card “A” (2 of Bottles) line represents the initiative that the President and Congressional Republicans seem most willing to support, but it is fraught with emotional turmoil in the three Bottles cards that lead it off. The 2 of Bottles shows intimations of some kind of face-saving “deal” in the works that nobody really likes, with gobs of sympathetic posturing being trotted out in the 9 of Bottles and 8 of Bottles. But it ultimately comes down once again to money, with the 10 of Bills and the 9 of Bills as the very image of high-stakes, back-room bartering. Money talks and it’s a matter of whose talks the loudest; the wild card here is whether the NRA will turn off the cash-and-influence spigot symbolized by the 10 of Bills if Trump caves in. The public mindset is being manipulated by the Ace of TVs, but in the end the cynical form of money-soaked political prostitution that is Washington’s signature modus operandi will probably carry the day. My prediction here is that the Republicans’ limited stopgap offering will be pushed through and Trump will sign it as he has signaled he will do. Whether it will make any difference depends on how many “teeth” they are able to put into it, and how effectively it can be enforced.