Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cindy Sheehan's Farewell Letter

I stopped paying attention to Cindy Sheehan after her photo-op with Hugo Chavez. Sheehan went fom a woman powerfully holding President Bush's disregard for the lives of soldiers to a character on a reality show. Sheehan alieniated herself so badly that the Left and the Right both hated her. It's a sad story for a woman who lost her son.

Sheehan officially resigned from the anti-war movement.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."

There is truth to that. The Democratic Congress buckling on the Iraq spending bill is a claasic example of rhetoric and action are two distinctly different things. Like Nader, what Sheehan failed to understand that there are consequences to attacking one's own side. John McCaincan pander to the Christian Right all he wants. They will never forget his comments about Jerry Falwell in 2000.

Garance Franke-Ruta explains how Sheehan changed American's perceptions of President Bush.

I hope some day she will realize that she did as much as she, one woman, could. She helped break the bond between the American people and the president in August of 2005, according to a Bush strategist I heard speak last fall. The turn in public opinion against the president began that summer with high gas prices and the questions she raised, and then was solidified by the horrors of Katrina.

Bush could have limited the political fallout, or even turned the situation in his favor, if he met with Sheehan. A deep character flaw he has is avoiding people who tells him things he doesn't want to hear. Bush is like Reagan. He doesn't have friends. He has cronies. His inabilitity to step out of his cocoon cost him his second term.

I hope that Sheehan will finally begin healing. Being a media celebrity and having supporters lavish praise on her may have hindered her dealing with the loss of her son Casey. I wondered if anyone questioned her inner-circle her on public statements.

Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

It's an oversimplification to say that all lefties and conservatives enjoy the bloodshed going on in Iraq. There certainly are callous people in America (and elsewhere.) Statements like this is why many turned against Sheehan. I hope that time and clarity will wash the anger from Sheehan.

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At June 01, 2007 12:09 AM , Blogger Vox Populi said...

Am I reading clearly that you have misgivings about Chavez? I thought I was the only free-thinking American who did. The boyfriend just loves him and I hear a great deal about Chavez that makes me nervous.
I think part of what might be wrong there is that she was/is still in shock. It lessens but the shock remains for a very long time when you lose a child. Years. So she tried to be supportive of people for others whom she held in esteem, perhaps. I'm conjecturing, of course.
My thinking is it took anger to drive her; I'm not absolutelysure but I think the anger ebbs some in another couple years.
I was listening to her interview on this evening and everything she said that happened with her after Casey sounded familiar. The screaming, the shock, the forgetting, the shock layers.
We're not going to see her persona emerge intact for a bit longer; people are more fluid after a life-altering loss. Perhaps sooner than some we'll see who she'll be.
I do get the feeling that Bush solves some crap by actually having the wherewithal to meet with those who grieve but it is very staged. When it is NOT staged, he does not do well and the people become angry; I believe because he lacks humility and gravitas.
I too felt that she was lessened by the chavez showing but he was making noise about supporting things dear to some Americans ... Finally I decided I wasn't going to let it overrule what else she was. Of course, being a girl and running around in those circles I've met her and had a lot of input about her. She's very sweet and unassuming and ... bright. For awhile I was afraid she was going to be too everywhere but then she centered on camp casey and DC and speaking.
The peace movement has a life of it's own no matter who tells you different. I see them. I'm hearing it; public art is reflecting it. Those who are profiting from the war are fighting it hard but it's there. I don't believe that Americans like war.


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