Trent Lott’s Untroubled Sleep


On Thursday, Trent Lott said he sleeps better at night knowing Dick Cheney is the Vice President. Of course, Trent would also sleep peacefully on a segregation platform bed. Remember the remark that ousted him as Senate Majority Leader-Trent, a former University of Mississippi cheerleader, was doing flips for Strom Thurmond. “Give me an S, T, R, O, M” as he praised and shook his polarizing pompoms for the now deceased, 100 year-old honoree. In fact, Lott took to his megaphone, shouting that if we’d elected Thurmond president “30 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today.”

And, oh, what a mess we’re in today.

The body-count continues to rise in Iraq as the insurgency persists in its battle against our troops and those who cooperate with us. We’ve squandered the goodwill that most of the world felt for our country after terrorism struck within the United States. We’ve spent billions of dollars on a military fiasco that’s inflamed Muslims and inspired thousands of Osama bin Ladens. Our President can’t take part in a Summit without sparking an inferno.

But, despite all this, Trent is sleeping better, because Cheney is second in command.

I’m not sleeping well. Neither is my sister. My parents aren’t. My brother certainly isn’t.

You see, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley’s death three months ago in Iraq makes slumber difficult. My mother says she thinks of the explosion that killed her grandson and can hardly bear that no one in the family was by his side to hold his hand as close relatives do when a loved one moves from life to death. I think of the days my nephew remained at Dover where his body was assessed for viewing while we waited, not knowing when the funeral would be held. I fixate on that young, handsome face, gone, blown away in a war that was orchestrated by the White House Mafia, marketed to a frightened American public by an Administration that capitalized on the events of 9/11, and recommended by Bush-maker Karl Rove to facilitate the reelection of the inadequate, clay figure he modeled for the presidency. I think of our troops and the dead Iraqis, many of whom are women and children.

When I try to rest, I see the youngest child of my brother. I think of him as he spotted that Chevy Suburban, packed with 20,000 pounds of explosives, moving closer, closer. I see it in slow-motion. I picture Chase and I wonder how much time he had to know that he was going to die. I wonder if he was killed instantly or if he suffered. And, even though I didn’t see his body, his head wrapped in gauze, the image is in my mind.

It’s difficult to imagine that Trent Lott could drift off easily to thoughts or visuals of someone who shares a political philosophy that has made our world so unstable. Dick Cheney, one of the masters of war is Trent’s Ambien. For me, the thought of the Vice President is like an overdose of NoDoz.

Yes, I blame Cheney. We know he spent day after day, going to the Pentagon to promote the war. We know he, Bush, Rummy, Condi, and Scooter Libby undermined the efforts of anyone who spoke sanely about relying on WMD inspections. We know the Administration demoted, reassigned, or smeared anyone who openly criticized their plans to reshape Iraq into a Disney-like, business venture.

I want all of them, the whole bunch who planned this reprehensible war and those who supported it, to suffer insomnia. And if they are able to sleep, I’d like them to have nightmares. The same kind the Iraqis who survived “Shock and Awe” and all the atrocities we’ve delivered will have for the rest of their lives. The same day and nightmares that all of us will have who’ve lost someone we loved so deeply or simply valued as an acquaintance or friend. I want the accountability of Bush and Company to be acutely painful and chronic.

MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com



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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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