14th in the Arcana of Government Baddies

A Foot in Two Worlds:
Dick Cheney’s Dark Journey into Temperance

Throw away your Iraqi “Most Wanted” deck and break out the old tarot cards. Thumb through the Major Arcana, and just past the 13th card – Death – and the 15th card -The Devil – stands a winged alchemist mixing potions along a river bank. One leg toes the firm ground while the other tests the water, as if about to enter. The tarot calls this card “Temperance.” In the arcana of political baddies, though, he goes by another name: Dick Cheney.

The Veep has been caught squeezing the two branches of the federal government he straddles between his chubby legs, moving his butt around the saddle to whichever side suits as a support to his nefarious undertakings. If we looked hard enough, we would also see him wrapping his leg tightly around the Judiciary, if he had an extra leg. (Don’t even go there. His balls may be enormous, but despite his name, his microscopic, er, manhood will never reach – I mean attain – leg status.)

The fact is, Cheney’s mercurial claims of where he belongs in the arcana of our government’s hydra are only a fog, meaningless arguments that only distract us from the examination of his dangerous, possibly criminal, actions. While he is talking out of the side of his crooked mouth, he is manipulating everything inside, outside above and below our constitutional, legal and social order.

Dick Cheney is a virus. To be sure, his virus-like behavior thrives in government because it is fed by corporations like Haliburton, but he is also fed by voters who – by the millions – took Cheney’s unchecked, fear inducing words and actions as the strict parenting that passed for love when they were children. Tough love, indeed.

In the tarot, the Temperance card calls on us to be patient, and also to pay attention so we know when the time is right to step forward. In that I am reminded of what civil right leader and Congressman John Lewis told me in early 2005 when I complained to him about the slow pace of political change in Georgia. “Be patient,” he said. “Be patient.”

Temperance also indicates a new chance, an opportunity for change. This is the point in our journey when we can look forward. What journey, you ask? Well, the Major Arcana of the tarot is often described as the journey of the Self, represented by the Fool card, through life’s travails, “from innocence to enlightenment.”*

So if things are moving forward, that’s great, right? Well, except that the next card in the arcana is The Devil, but that may not be as bad as it sounds.

Here is the good news. If we go back a few cards earlier (“Previously, on Major Arcana…”), we see the Justice card. Shining a light on Justice, as personified by the Attorney General’s office, has been shadowy since John Ashcroft, though Alberto Gonzales’ interpretation of justice has left a visible stain on that office.

Next on the Fool’s journey comes the Hanged Man, which could be our attacking Iraq, culminating, albeit a bit literally, with Saddam’s execution.

After that comes the Death card. Now that could be just about anything good that this administration touches, but what if it’s the 2006 elections and the end of the Republican led Congress?

That brings us up to Temperance, this point of choice. We now, finally many would say, begin to examine Cheney. We must keep moving forward and clean this mess up.

And if, as Hugo Chavez believes, wafts of sulfur and brimstone spill from the White House, we should definitely be looking forward exposing the Devil card, for that is the confrontation even he has been waiting for all along.


*The Everything Tarot Book – 2nd Edition, by Skye Alexander, 2006, F&W Publications, Inc., Avon, MA

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