On Sunday August 30, 2009, the world was treated to one of the most important lessons about politics in the last half-century by former vice president Dick Cheney. The lesson was not that torture is necessary in order to save the world, or that we must bomb Iran before it builds a vast nuclear arsenal in its nonexistent nuclear weapons plants.
No, Dick Cheney’s priceless lesson to the world was that democracy is by far the worst and most dangerous form of government that the world has ever known.
This is not to say that Dick Cheney is a worse person than Hitler or Stalin — or even Lincoln — ever was. Those scoundrels could easily compete with Dick in terms of their mendacity, and their ability to murder people far surpassed Dick’s feeble attempts to organize "death squads." As a person, and as a tyrant, Dick probably ranks in the high double digits in world history, but his crimes and mental disturbances have to be put in a global-historical perspective. And, on that score, Cheney is certainly outshined by many a murdering tyrant.
What makes Cheney such a shocking example to the world is not his cold-blooded cruelty and blood-lust. Rather, it is the fact that that such a lunatic could be elected vice president of a country of 300 million people. It is one thing for a maniac like Dick to be born to a king and inherit the throne by virtue of his blood alone, or for a man such as he to seize power through violence, but it is quite another thing for a nation to go to the polls and mark their names beside the name of a man such as he. It was he, after all, (and his simple-minded sidekick), that the people of the United States chose to "lead" this country. And they chose him, not once, but twice!
Sure, the people of the United States have acquired a bit of buyer’s remorse for having putting such a man in charge of the largest and most dangerous group of armed men in the history of the world. But, we can never forget that the people of the United States elected this man into office two times. They also belatedly acquired buyer’s remorse after putting other half-wits and criminals into office, but they were nevertheless the ones who put all those people in charge of their entire lives. They never seem to ask themselves why it is that all of these crazy people, liars and thieves end up winning elections and end up with virtually unlimited power over the world. Instead, they simply forget the most recent liar or criminal, and hope against hope that the next smooth-talking lawyer is going to rescue their lives from the mess created by the other scoundrels they put in office.
To top things off, under any other form of government, and especially in a system of no government, a man like Dick Cheney would be killed, or at least incarcerated, for his past crimes. A king who pulled off such antics would have to run for his life, once the people realized the extent of his murderous plots and grisly torturing. But, in a democracy such as ours, a criminal like Dick Cheney gets to live out his life in peace once he leaves office. Not only that, he gets to live out his life with a big, fat pension paid for by the people he tricked and subsequently robbed during his tenure in office. How’s that for government "by the people and for the people"?
All this would be bad enough if it had been carried out in some uneducated, backward part of the world, where individual liberty had never been known. But this man was democratically elected vice president in a country that was born in a fight against men precisely like Dick Cheney. This country was founded by men who hung their king in effigy, and then shouldered their muskets in order to emphasize the point. And yet, the heirs of that proud legacy of individualism and liberty went ahead and elected a man like Dick Cheney into office — and that’s just mentioning the most recent criminal they chose to "lead" them.
So, you still think democracy is the best form of government? You still think there’s some connection between democracy and freedom, instead of a connection between democracy and lying, criminal politicians. Well, Dick Cheney’s what you got with democracy in the past, and I don’t want to hear any complaints in the future when the next Dick, Bill, or Barack smooth-talks you into putting your good name next to his on the ballot.
Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.