September 3, 2009
Dick Cheney: Just Shut Up Already
You know the type: The overanxious salesman
who follows you throughout the car
dealership, refusing to leave you alone with
your thoughts for even a minute. The
inebriated party guest who, come 2:30 a.m.
is still holding court on your couch to an
audience that has diminished to include only
you and your dog. The blowhard ex-college
football player who suffocates all
conversation at your family reunion with his
tired recitations of unremembered, ancient
Add the category of snorting, sociopathic,
failed ex-vice president to the list of
unliked, unwelcome, unwanted intruders upon
your time, attention, and consciousness.
Dick Cheney, failed neo-colonialist
warmonger and torture cheerleader, refuses
to spiral down the sewer of history as he
ought. Unsurprising: No matter the era, no
matter the juncture in history, one could
always count upon Cheney to make the wrong
decision and then cling like a barnacle to
it forevermore, impervious to reflection,
reconsideration or the influence of new
information – even such a salient point as
that he is no longer vice president, and
consequently doesn’t count anymore.
The man just cannot shut up. Unfortunately
for the American public, his enablers on the
television networks haven’t figured out that
it is not their duty to continue to amplify
his bellicose, ignorant voice. Come the
weekly cycle of Sunday public affairs
programs, it’s a fair bet that one Richard
Cheney will be ensconced in a chair at
center stage, looking like a cross between a
cornered Norway rat and a large curd cottage
cheese, extolling the merits of torture and
railing inanely against the eclipse of his
influence upon national policy.
Nobody with two brain cells to rub together
wants to hear it. The poodles whose
televisions are permanently tuned in to Fox
News lap it up, sure – after all, they’ll
eat anything you put in front of them,
provided that it is sufficiently white,
angry and ignorant. But most of America
really doesn’t want to watch or listen to
failure incarnate. Their verdict to that
effect was rendered last November.
All of Cheney’s bloviations since have
served only two purposes, neither of which
have the slightest beneficial effect upon
the nation’s well-being: Airbrushing his own
criminal role in history in hopes of somehow
escaping eternal ignominy, and pouring sand
into the orderly workings of an actually
functional new administration. It is the
ultimate exercise in narcissistic
selfishness, odious to behold – and like all
such exercises, immeasurably destructive to
anyone or anything unfortunate enough to
come in contact with it.
Cheney knows both that he is broadly loathed
and absolutely wrong, but being Dick Cheney,
he doesn’t care. Throughout his four-decade
infestation of the corridors of government,
the unifying theme underpinning his words
and deeds has been the acquisition,
consolidation and continuation of personal
power – and the consequent exercise of that
power against any and all who dared question
the actions of the five-time draft
dodger-cum-militarist. America has paid the
price in blood, treasure and global
leadership and goodwill. So long as his
toxic bleatings continue to hold a scintilla
of sway, it will continue to pay that price.
Dick Cheney’s greatest single post-White
House achievement has been the
accomplishment of seemingly an impossible
task – making George W. Bush look dignified,
even ex-presidential. Bush has had the good
sense to retreat silently to his quiet
suburban compound, pretzels in hand and the
unfortunate Barney the dog in tow, to clear
brush, watch Scooby Doo reruns or otherwise
unobtrusively fill the days of his dotage.
Cheney, thus far, hasn’t even had the sense
to do that. Instead, he lingers on the
Washington scene and our television screens
as a wayward, unwelcome specter of the most
spectacularly failed administration in
American history. It will be to America’s
shame if we allow him to continue to drag
the country down to his level.
2009 North Star Writers Group. May not
be republished without permission.
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