Dick Cheney is a free man. In spite of publicly admitting that he authorized torture in clear violation of U.S. law, nobody with the authority to do so seems even remotely interested in prosecuting him. It isn't that they've been swayed by his remorse; Cheney continues to defend torture at every opportunity. He has faced absolutely zero accountability for the war crimes he committed even though our unwillingness to prosecute him threatens our national security. As mad as this makes me, I find it even less tolerable that so few people still seem to give a damn. Aside from a handful of progressive blogs, hardly anyone is still talking about war crimes prosecution. Do we really give up that easily?
I know the excuses. Many of us are bogged down with other causes. Hell, some of us even have to worry about being a hated minority in our own country simply because we will not go along with an irrational and dangerous civil religion! Others of us have convinced themselves that letting Cheney escape punishment is a necessary sacrifice in order to obtain something which will be called health care reform while offering precious little in the way of reform. We are deluding ourselves.
What pisses me off so much about Cheney escaping even mild accountability is, at least in part, that I don't want to believe that my fellow humans can be this carelessly apathetic. I am a full-blown misanthrope, desperate to prove himself wrong but powerless to do so! Again and again, I think to myself, "If a leader actually committing torture in our names is not enough to get us out in the streets like the protesters in Iran, then nothing would be." And again and again, I am smacked upside the head by this dismal reality.
It isn't that we don't care; it is that we don't care enough to do anything. It is too much work, and we're too comfortable. We have too much to risk and too many other priorities. We're trying to live our lives here, so just get over it and move along.
Our neighbors die due to poor medical care and lack of health insurance, but we'd rather hear about Tiger Woods than health care reform. Our states make massive cuts to public education and other social service programs because we have made raising taxes a form of political suicide. Christian extremists boldly call for theocracy and lie about American history while so-called moderates lower their eyes out of respect for ancient superstition. And Dick Cheney is a free man because we refuse to demand accountability.
What has to happen to jolt us out of our apathy? Is it even possible? And why the hell would we expect anybody to give a damn about our preferred cause, whatever it may be, when we cannot be bothered to demand that our government brings a war criminal to justice?
If you are someone who wants to help but has no idea what you can do, I can certainly empathize. If this describes you, please head over to http://ANGRYVoters.Org (update: this link is no longer active) and sign the petition to prosecute those that tortured in our name. Over 250,000 have signed so far, and it isn't too late.
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