An Error of Judgment

Yesterday on Twitter, JD Vance was a trending topic. Since I had decided to finally start reading his book when I was stuck in that accident traffic last week, I clicked on it. What did ole Mr. Vance wish to impart upon society with his great wisdom?

An attack on Critical Race Theory (CRT), and his indignation over the idea that “white rage” – whatever that is, as he put it – is being discussed by a powerful military leader. This is the same leader who felt like the clearing of Lafayette Square in June 2020 for a photo-op was wrong. Methinks Mark Milley might be facing a bit of cognitive dissonance playing his role in the intentional destruction of our democracy. Mr. Vance was quick to let the world know he did not agree with General Milley’s position.

“What I find so enraging about the Joint Chiefs’s pandering on progressive wokeness is that they know damn well the geography and politics of who dies in American wars. The conservative Americans you trash are disproportionately bleeding for this country.”

@JDVance1 – 9:07 AM · Jun 25, 2021

Fact Check: Black Americans are much more likely to serve the nation, in military and civilian roles – Brookings Institution, August 2020

Evidently, Mr. Vance is running for Congress for the State of Ohio – I really had no idea until yesterday. After Chauvin was convicted, I finally had a bit of peace and wanted to hold onto it as long as possible. I should have known I would get sucked back into it, like a black hole. Curling up and hiding from a problem rarely makes it go away anyhow, unless the problem is a brown bear. In this case, the problem happens to be white hoods.

Once I started looking more into the Vanster yesterday, I discovered he is not really the kind of person I want anything to do with – especially to read about. His thought processes are mired with the desire to gain power; to finally overcome what he sees as the biggest obstacle of his life (being poor from Appalachia), while embracing that very same obstacle as part of his heritage, and using it as a weapon against anyone who does not agree with him. George Orwell would refer to this as “doublethink,” while Stephen King might refer to Vance as just another “Greg” Stillson-type.

In the second chapter of Vance’s book (that’s as far as I got and haven’t picked it up again), he describes an incident regarding a news story on something known colloquially as Mountain Dew Mouth. The gist of it is that poor children in Appalachia were/are developing rotten teeth at an expedited rate, due to overconsumption of sugary drinks at a young age. Yellow and decayed at the gumline, the teeth of these children might resemble someone who has used drugs for many years and is now paying the price for it.

He went on to explain that the locals were angry over the media’s exposure of the conditions of the children in their area. Succinctly put, people from his town did not like being judged by outsiders, even if the assessment is accurate. His explanation was this: Poor folk from Appalachia have very little to hope for in terms of reality, so they prefer to keep the problems they have swept under the rug – pretending they do not exist. Denial is the key to keeping a balance in their lives, is my understanding based on his writings. 

Judgment Card – Rider-Waite Deck (Pamela Colman Smith, Artist – 1909) – U.S. Games

The Judgment card in the “traditional” Tarot depicts an angel (Archangel Gabriel) blowing his trumpet to all of the souls below. When we receive this card in our readings, it is a message from Spirit, specifically about the judgments we make on our path every day. 

Did you go into work when you knew that you should take a mental health day? Did you get the oil changed before the light came on? Did you tell the secret that you promised to keep, despite the fact that keeping it might put someone in danger? These are all varying degrees of judgment calls. 

The biggest Judgment of all comes from God, as we perceive him/her, when our time comes. But in this plane of existence, I believe it is safe to say that most people are their own biggest critics. That is, unless you’re a classic narcissist, in which case you will believe you are perfect and everyone else is flawed. However, that would be more of a Devil card conversation, so I will avoid that here. 

Judgment, like many things, can be perceived as a spectrum. Poor judgment, or denial of reality, can be seen on one extreme end. The opposite end of the spectrum is where we berate ourselves over our past and future choices – judging ourselves too harshly – which ultimately leads to inaction and stagnation in our lives.

Judgement Spectrum – Graphic by Heather Defresne, Esoteric Dreamers

For instance, the artist who believes her creation is terrible will not only metaphorically beat herself up over her “shit work.” She will then use that belief that she is terrible as an excuse to avoid creating future works. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t try, you can’t fail, right?


Failing is NOT trying. Failing is giving up before you even have a chance to see if those wings can hold your weight (yet). Maybe they can’t. But maybe they can! You’ll never know if you don’t take a leap of faith once in a while. 

I took a leap of faith when I picked up Mr. Vance’s book. It had been given to me as a gift, and I was encouraged to read it. Something about the title, Hillbilly Elegy, was off-putting (gee, I wonder why!) However, I had resolved to read it since it was important to my gifter and the person who had recommended it to her. If I had realized who the author was, I probably would have done something else with it instead…

In hindsight, I wish I could go back and read something different that day. That’s what the Judgment card is about. We must look back at our choices and realize that we made the decisions we did based on the information we had available to us at the time.

I was not aware the guy was a super-duper Drumpf supporter, or that he was ultra-white supremacist vibe. Perhaps, I could have guessed based the book’s summary – not to mention the title – but I was trying to be open-minded. Poor Judgment on my part. Never dance with the Devil, or you might just find yourself fooled by his deception.

I could go back to my last post about Temperance, and change the story to show that I had read something different that day. But that would be a lie. I did read some of the story – I was trying to understand what the message was, and what it was that I needed to learn. 

In retrospect, I see now that the lesson was, “Be careful to whom you give your attention.” 

We are forced to make choices every day. Make sure yours are good ones. If you find happen to find yourself on the wrong end of a bad decision, recognize it as a learning opportunity. This is how we grow and become our best selves. It is in denying our errors that we will continue to repeat the patterns which we long to overcome. 


Heather XO

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