I’m not sure what it says about me, but I’ve gone on record declaring, at times, a fervent wish that there was a God.
Because if there was a God, there might be something, somewhere, approximating what we imagine Heaven to be. And if so, the existence of Hell would be unnecessary and irrelevant, because God could choose to exclude whomever She wanted, and by default, those denied entrance would spend eternity in a dark, cold place with nothing but memories of their misdeeds to neither console nor distract them.
To be clear: I yearn to see the Evil punished more than I hope to see Good rewarded.
(Because in my vision, just about everyone can or should get into heaven. Even the murderers and rapists, who demonstrate some measure of penance or remorse. Or else, after prison or the simple passage of time, they come to understand the error of their actions. And, while some sins are unforgivable and some acts unimaginable, there is usually a greater injustice at the root of all senseless activity, including extreme violence and depravity. Concerning those who lead lives of crime, who are we –as well-fed and educated citizens– to declare Right and Wrong in any philosophical sense? In short, I don’t fancy being Judge and Jury to anyone’s eternal soul, or to act as some divine arbiter of forgiveness and forgetting. That, after all, is God’s job. Which is why we invented Him.)
But I do reserve the right to wish, ardently, for something quite biblical in its simplicity and perfection. I wish that the rare individuals who do unto others what none could do unto them (i.e., the powerful), and express nothing close to regret and can’t bring themselves to feign a gesture of introspection, face at long last, a power that humbles them in a permanent fashion. For those who are typically given the most and therefore expect more and commission the greatest ill against their fellow citizens, I possess indignation and disdain that yearns for an Ecclesiastic Imperative.
On my rather long list of most despicable people to pollute the planet during my lifetime, Dick Cheney goes straight to the top, no one particularly close to second place. In terms of rapacity combined with cowardice (nothing quite like a chicken hawk who actively avoided battle, blithely sending young soldiers to die and okaying the obliteration of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians; nothing like being in bed with Big Oil and profiting from policies that devastate the environment; nothing like being head of the company that wins the sole right to “rebuild” the infrastructure you did the most to help destroy, etc.) it’s difficult to imagine an American who has done greater harm while getting his pale bloated paws over as much filthy lucre as he could count.
The new documentary about you-know-who has prompted some appropriately bilious comments from the commentariat. Tom Carson’s piece (from GQ) is almost too brilliant to be believed, and I’m tempted to quote from it at length, but I urge anyone to check it out in its entirety, HERE. (This piece at Salon, by Andrew O’Hehir, is also excellent.)
A few nuggets:
One thing Francis Ford Coppola didn’t understand—or anyhow, sufficiently probe—in Apocalypse Now is that our Colonel Kurtzes always start out thinking they’re Martin Sheen.
What he said. Only more so.
Don’t hate the player, they say. Hate the game.
Well I do hate the game. But I also reserve the right to despise. And crave the prospect of comeuppance for the players who bulldozed this world like it was their personal playpen. For the cretins who laughed at the carnage they caused. Because they could. Because no one down here could stop them.
Is there someone out there, somewhere, who can ensure there is some type of reckoning?
It’s almost enough to make you pray.