Still, I was a little startled to hear the former vice president express total indifference to questions about his heart donor in a revealing interview on Politicking with Larry King (it airs Thursday night; here’s a clip). It’s a window into his utter entitlement and self-absorption, and he comes off as an even bigger monster than I’d thought. Most people would at least feign interest in the donor; Cheney can’t manage it.
When King asks if he knows the identity of the person whose heart keeps him alive, Cheney, who is promoting a book about his transplant experience, says no, and adds, “it hadn’t been a priority for me.” Then he goes on:
When I came out from under the anesthetic after the transplant, I was euphoric. I’d had–I’d been given the gift of additional lives, additional years of life. For the family of the donor, they’d just been [through] some terrible tragedy, they’d lost a family member. Can’t tell why, obviously, when you don’t know the details, but the way I think of it from a psychological standpoint is that it’s my new heart, not someone else’s old heart. And I always thank the donor, generically thank donors for the gift that I’ve been given, but I don’t spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person.
“It’s my new heart, not someone else’s old heart.”
Consider the complete self-centeredness of that statement, and the utter lack of empathy. I shouldn’t be surprised at that — war criminals and torture-promoters aren’t known for their empathy — but I was. Cheney’s so absorbed in his great good luck that he can’t help sharing: “My cardiologist told me at one point, ‘You know, Dick, the transplant is a spiritual experience, not just for the patient, but also for the team.’” What a generous guy, sharing that “spiritual experience” with his cardiology team! So: Cheney is happy to have a new heart, but doesn’t bother to “spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person.”
(Sources: Salon.com and Hulu.com)