This is first and foremost a rant about the past month or so of the sinister Dick Cheney, who, with the aid of his public relations cohorts at NBC, ABC, CNN and CBS, has been allowed to spread his venom of hate and discord across the airwaves. But before delving into what his reemergence says about the U.S., let me share a small story I came across in the Philadelphia Inquirer today (5/25/09).
In the local section in an article entitled, “Unusual twist in Civil War commemoration”, reporter Maya Rao, described a memorial day celebration at Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill cemetery in honor of Union civil war general George Meade, and confederate soldier, George Ashmead. Evidently this was the first time Mr. Ashmead had been honored. He was born in the area and grew up in Philadelphia before moving to Texas where he enlisted to fight with the South to keep black people enslaved. Betty Mastin of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy felt it was about time to honor this “noble” warrior.
It just doesn’t seem odd anymore that white supremacists, warmongers and pathological liars make themselves and their opinions known publicly. So long as it’s done with a modicum of class and without particularly revolting language, one can be a racist and dedicate him or herself to the destruction of other peoples without fear of too much backlash.
Our former vice-president has a pretty impressive resume of hateful and malevolent political action: support of the notorious “Contras” and the illegal arms for hostages deal; support of the racist regime of South Africa and one of only five senators who voted against the release of freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela; one of the architects of the murderous invasion of Panama (4,000 civilians killed); and most recently, the kidnapping of Haitian President Aristide, complicity in the coup and attempted murder of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and of course, the destruction of Iraq. And yet, he was elected to the second highest office in the land – twice!
It took almost 100 years after the betrayal of African Americans (the compromise of 1877) for their human and constitutional rights to be restored in many of the so-called “red” states. Terrorism against black folks (lynching) was never made a federal crime and it wasn’t until a few years ago that the U.S. Senate passed a resolution apologizing for not making it so.
Betty Mastin is going to hold on to her warped sense of valor and honor. But if this new, so-called progressive administration allows Cheney and the other neocons to walk away from their crimes unpunished, they will commit them again, and again, and again. This is far from over.