This is why I care for Dick Cheney.
Lately I've been reading Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charlie Savage. It is horrible. Or maybe I should say, horrifying. It goes through, point by point, in excellently written prose, all the ways that Bush and Cheney have subverted the constitution. It doesn't do this just referring to obscure aspects. It doesn't just present opinions. The book looks at the core of the constitution, at the Separation of Powers, and how Bush Cheney et.al. have worked to remove that from the basis of our country. Savage gives a huge amount of meticulous evidence, albeit written in a style that makes it feel like a story. A story worthy of Shakespeare, or some Greek tragedy. This is not a case where Cheney made a mistake, or misunderstood something. He has been working since his time under Nixon to expand the power of the President. It's not just a case where there's a disagreement on the interpretation of the constitution. He truly believes that Congress should have no oversight over the President, that the President should make laws, and that this was what the Founding Fathers intended. Far worse, over the last seven years, he's enacted his beliefs, so that they are now the custom of the land.
A friend counseled me not to read this book, for it would just make me angry. He was right. But I think we need to be aware of what's going on. Where we once had a country built on the rule of law, with the finest document devoted to freedom and equality in history, upon its creation, we now have only tattered cloth and shattered dreams. And two men ruling us, devoted to power and control, with no compassion within them.
Last night I fell asleep reading this book. The final dream of the night, just before I awoke, was confusing. I didn't understand it all. Something about a gun fight in the Old West style. My mom was the principal of a school, and I met her in the parking lot. But there was another part.
Somehow, in the gun fight, Cheney's wife was shot, and killed. And Cheney came back to the school, and sat down on a chair, and covered his face with his hands, and wept. He had lost the love of his life, and now knew only mourning. He curled up in that chair, and tears flowed unceasingly.
For all he has done, Cheney is but a man. He is a man like any of us, with fears and desires, with pains and joys. And he deserves our compassion as well.