The Nightmare of the Dark Side

September 6, 2011

Politics, Social Justice

Dick Cheney

Attempts at psychoanalyzing politicians are almost inevitably fruitless.  Their protective smiles halt us at their personality’s foyer.  They’re evaluating us: Potential ally?  Political friend?  Foe?  Keep them all close – especially the enemies. 

Yet part of me longs to reach out and walk with Dick Cheney, once an articulate conservative spokesmen and capable minority whip.  Most accounts portray him as a stellar defense secretary.  I enjoyed listening to him though I usually disagreed with him.  What happened, Mr. Vice President?  Was it the mood-swinging heart medication?  Was it the haunting images of falling buildings and thousands of deaths?  Is there lingering guilt?  Do you feel, in your heart of hearts, that the government failed its most basic task: protecting its citizens?  Did you make a silent pledge: Never again!  Surely you must know that others – such as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell – felt the same burdens and made similar pledges.  Surely you understand that their differing advice stemmed from the same sense of obligation.  So why the cheap shots against your former colleagues in your latest book?  Why the vindictiveness?

But, of course, I will never see your heart – and I don’t need to.  You’d smile the protective smile even if we met, and that’s your right.

Richard Cizik

I must, however, raise my own never again: You refuse to repent of your authorization of water-boarding, a recognized form of torture and a violation of Geneva accords.  Torture is both impractical and immoral.  It defies both conservative and liberal political traditions.  Its practice has tarred our nation’s reputation.  If the United States has any strength, it is the strength of its ideals.  Authorized torture twists the knife in the American heart.

Never again should a leader be permitted to defy our nation’s most fundamental values. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, called for repentance of this practice.  See his article here.  America should heed his advice even if the former vice president doesn’t.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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3 Comments on “The Nightmare of the Dark Side”

  1. Betty Henson Says:

    This is great as usual. However, I think he has a lot more to repent of. I would like to hear a long and public confession. It would be good for his soul, yes I pray that he has a soul that can be redeemed.


  2. Jessica Mokrzycki Says:

    It must be a lonely life being a politician. You have all of the people in the world around you but you can’t ever be real with any of them. The paranoia, manipulation, anxiety…fear. They all need to repent, as do we. They also need a prayer or two I think 🙂 I loved the line: Authorized torture twists the knife in the American heart.

    So true! You know who I think needs to repent even more than one or two particular politicians? The apathetic American people who don’t care, don’t vote and would rather be ignorant of the facts than know them because if they knew them they would then be left with a choice. To fight against the horrors condones and is a part of, or sink into complacency with a guilt-ridden heart but because it’s the easy thing to do.


    • Charles Redfern Says:

      “You know who I think needs to repent even more than one or two particular politicians? The apathetic American people who don’t care …”

      Bull’s eye, Jessica!


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