Many of Barrack Obama’s enthusiastic supporters in 2008 grudgingly voted for him in 2012 as that ever-present candidate in American politics, “the lesser of two evils.” The hope that he would truly represent change in America now seems rather naïve, a simple or simplistic belief that Uranus and Pluto would turn the tide with one decisive swing of the political pendulum. (Disillusioned Obamists: Please forgive my detached tone – I went through the same thing in 1992 with the election of Bill Clinton.)

On so many issues – surveillance of American citizens, cannabis reform, support of large corporations like Monsanto, intimidation of the press – the Obama administration looks remarkably like that of his predecessor. If I were a Republican, I would be making the case that President Obama has in many ways validated the decisions of President Bush.

The effect extends far beyond the immediate decisions of the President. For example, the Justice Department seems to remain hell-bent on persecuting and prosecuting people who are growing, distributing, or using medical marijuana, despite the fact that a majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis in one way or another. Seriously, what argument against it remains? Can anyone say with a straight face that it leads to serious cognitive loss or that it is a “gateway drug” to harder substances?

The Food and Drug Administration appears little more than the enforcement arm of the pharmaceutical industry. The Department of Agriculture is remarkably silent on the issue of genetically modified food, even when there is strong evidence that it could be problematic, and it is banned (or at least labeled) in just about every other country. All in all, the status quo may seem quite static.

But back away from the idea that change is simple, and take another look. Barrack Obama isn’t much in the way of a direct agent of change, but his indirect effect has been fairly remarkable. Remember that we aren’t just talking about the sudden, revolutionary effects of Uranus, but also the slow, erosive power of Pluto, and things become a little clearer.

First, Obama’s election more or less paralyzed Washington. The explicit determination to make everything he attempted fail has led to an almost complete stalemate on even the most basic issues. Compromise has become a bad word among legislators, which can only have a disastrous effect, given that compromise is what they do. Second, the Obama administration’s determination to play to power interests like oil companies and agri-giant Monsanto has left a very sour taste in the mouths of many people.

You see, though, this is how Pluto works. He doesn’t topple the power structures with the election of an unusual candidate – that’s Uranus’ department. Pluto is working to erode the structures of government and industry. A casual look at your Facebook feed will show you just how little faith people have in their institutions (and it doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you reside upon – the message is the same despite different flavors. In fact, the “Fourth Estate,” the press, is just as suspect as any government agency). Plutocrats do well in Plutonian times, at least for a while. But as they push their agenda farther and farther, they find that their legitimacy is being questioned by everyone. The use of force is a clear sign that legitimate power is being drained.

I’ve focused on the U.S. for this post, but we can see the same thing at work in Turkey, and of course throughout the Middle East (Egypt’s new government is a stunning example of Uranian revolution giving way to Plutonian transformation). Those places that have pushed themselves farthest towards humanitarian and progressive values will have the least amount of Plutonian turmoil, while those where the traditional, conservative approach reigns will have the most difficulty. Don't expect the Netherlands to erupt like Turkey or Sweden to resemble Syria.