I was listening to NPR this morning, as they discussed Dick Cheney’s recent heart transplant this past Saturday. The news pushed me to tears. The 71 year old Cheney is an anomaly in the transplant business, where scarce, vital organs are usually reserved for younger patients. The reason for the age discrimination is no mere ageism. Young people are much more likely to survive the surgery and aftermath of rehabilitation. Additionally, ethical considerations suggest that young people, who may otherwise have decades of life ahead of them, deserve a chance to live into the old age that older heart patients have enjoyed. At 71, Cheney is only a few years shy of the 74.8 years that is the normal life expectancy for an American man. I can’t help but feel that the heart that now beats in Cheney’s chest could have been put to much better purpose somewhere else.
|Portrait of a Heartless Man
Here is a short but not comprehensive review of Dick Cheney’s accomplishments:
· Cheney engineered the illegal invasion of a sovereign country (Iraq) by deliberately fabricating and manipulating evidence to suggest that the country was obtaining “weapons of mass destruction,” with the intention of using them against the United States. This action resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives in addition to the lives of thousands of US armed servicemen and women (callous disregard for human life).
· When Joseph Wilson revealed in an op-ed entitled “What I didn’t find in Africa,” that the Bush Administration’s insistence that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium in Africa was blatantly false, Cheney masterminded a contemptuous payback by outing Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame. The revelation of Plame’s position as a covert officer of the CIA, placed her in danger and was a direct violation of US law (vindictiveness).
· As a shareholder and former CEO of Halliburton Inc., Cheney made sure that his dividend-granting cronies were first in line to pick at the carcasses of the above manufactured conflict in Iraq (and Afghanistan) for his own personal gain (greed).
· Human Rights Watch issued a report suggesting that Cheney be investigated for ordering the abuse of detainees that amounted to torture (war crimes).
· More recently, Cheney pushed through legislation, known not ironically as “the Halliburton Exemption,” that exempts environmentally disastrous fracking for natural gas from any regulation under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Large scale contamination of air and water resources wherever fracking occurs has resulted (crimes against nature).
Cheney’s struggle with heart disease comes as no surprise when viewed with a bit of insight from the ancient wisdom of Eastern mysticism. The fourth chakra, Anahata, related to love, compassion and forgiveness, flows from the heart center of a body. According to the ancient wisdom, diseases of the spirit in the form of petty vindictiveness, selfishness, fear and hatred manifest themselves physically in the fourth chakra as heart disease.
Cheney suffered his first heart attack in his late 30s just as he was beginning his political career as a Representative from the state of Wyoming. During his tenure in Congress, he voted against the establishment of the Department of Education. He voted against imposing economic sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime, and voted against a non-binding Congressional resolution requesting the South African government release Nelson Mandela from prison. As secretary of defense, he oversaw the invasion of another sovereign state, Panama, and Operation Desert Storm. Throughout his political career of denying justice to suppressed peoples and violent overthrowing of others, he suffered a total of five heart attacks and had quadruple bypass surgery, angioplasty and an artificial heart pump implanted in his chest. The metaphoric perfection of Cheney’s heartless legacy is chilling.
As Cheney pours his karma into this new heart, he will no doubt strangle this one to death in the process too. Some younger, deserving heart patient, whose actions haven’t resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocents, will likely never reach the age of 71 as a result. If my loved one’s heart was now beating in the chest of that monster, my grief would be compounded exponentially. That grieving family has my sincerest condolences.