5.30.2007

please, cindy sheehan, consider canada

Thank you, Cindy Sheehan, for everything you gave us. Thank you for your strength and courage, for being a model of commitment, for channeling your pain into action.

Shame on so-called liberals who condemn this woman's decision. Shame, shame, shame.
Good Riddance Attention Whore
by Cindy Sheehan

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such "liberal blogs" as the Democratic Underground. Being called an "attention whore" and being told "good riddance" are some of the more milder rebukes.

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

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."

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an "attention whore" then I really need to be committed. I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. 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.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

Camp Casey has served its purpose. It's for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too…which makes the property even more valuable.

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It's up to you now.

21 comments:

James said...

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.

This business of putting party loyalty ahead of reality drives me nuts. On the whole, I prefer a conservative who criticizes Bush because Bush messed up to a liberal who criticizes Bush because it's the Democratic Party platform.

Especially whenever the Democrats demonstrate how weak and rubbery that platform is by rolling over at the first sign that the most unpopular president in almost 30 years is going to call 'em names.

L-girl said...

I cannot fathom people criticizing Sheehan because she criticized the Democrats. What on earth do those people stand for?

James said...

I cannot fathom people criticizing Sheehan because she criticized the Democrats. What on earth do those people stand for?

Democrats, of course. Just like the Republicans stand for Republicans, rather than for, say, conservative economic policies. It's far, far worse to criticize the party than it is to do something wrong.

loneprimate said...

I read Cindy Sheehan's piece in CounterPunch yesterday and I couldn't help noticing she opened it "Dublin, Ireland". I don't know if this means she's left the United States for good but it certain suggests at least a strategic retreat. What a blow it must be, first to lose a child in a pointless war, and then to work hard to elect a group of people to end it (too late for your own son, but perhaps not for others) only to watch them hop on the other team's bus. I don't get the Democrats. They got elected because people are fed up with the war. How can they possibly still be afraid of being tarred with not supporting the troops? There are so many military-industrial jobs in each and every state nowadays that there just might be no coming back from this. It'll be like this till the US runs out of credit or plutonium-free atmosphere. :(

M. Yass said...

I now realize that I was wrong when I said that if the Repugs voted to abolish the U.S. Consitution, the Demos would agree to phase it out over a five-year period.

No, they'd "compromise" on a three-year phaseout and appropriate $20 billion to cover the costs. Of course, they'd prattle on about being "pragmatic" and about how "politics is the art of the possible."

L-girl said...

They got elected because people are fed up with the war. How can they possibly still be afraid of being tarred with not supporting the troops?

They're not. You know what it is. You saw "Why We Fight", yes?

There are so many military-industrial jobs in each and every state nowadays that there just might be no coming back from this. It'll be like this till the US runs out of credit or plutonium-free atmosphere.

What a thought.

****

I'm reading about the beginnings of escalation of US involvement in Vietnam, under LBJ. It's 1965, and there's so much anger, and so much happening in secret. It's heartbreaking knowing there are 10 long years ahead before the US runs out of credit there.

I have to blog about this another time. But every day, the more I learn about Vietnam, the more parallels I see.

loneprimate said...

But every day, the more I learn about Vietnam, the more parallels I see.

I remember, as I'm sure you all do, the word "quagmire" being scoffed at in 2001 and again in 2003. Parallels drawn to Vietnam, or to the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, were waved off as ridiculous or even unpatriotic.

It's disheartening. Millions and millions and millions of people who can remember Vietnam are still alive. I myself can remember the evacuation of Saigon two years after the US officially left and North Vietnam ended the civil war in its own sweet way (for better or for worse, Vietnam was rightfully one place again...). The people running the White House, the Congress, and the Pentagon are, on the whole, ten to twenty years my elders. What's wrong with them? For me, Vietnam was a twinkling at the beginning of my political awareness. For them it was -- or should have been -- a life lesson. Is it possible that Jimmy Carter and Mike Gravel are the only US politicians who learned the object lessons of the limits of power projection? Even so... what of the millions who elected a Democratic Congress in November to serve their interests? I admit, I'm frightened. Rochester is only forty miles from here, across a splash of blue.

L-girl said...

Allan sent me this today, about the sexism prevalent in the criticism of Sheehan (and every other public woman).

"Why Do We Hate Women?" from Cannonfire.

loneprimate said...

I now realize that I was wrong when I said that if the Repugs voted to abolish the U.S. Consitution, the Demos would agree to phase it out over a five-year period.

I think the truly horrific thing is that it's become manifestly clear that they don't need to repudiate the thing in any official capacity. They can now treat is as the Soviet Constitution: nice words that you laugh at with other aparachiks over vodka. Meanwhile, you keep it nice and handy and lovely in that nitrogen-filled case in Washington for the tourists, resplendent in its 18th Century wisdom, by simply saying that circumstances require its casual circumvention in some aspects (free speech, habeas corpus, right of assembly, right to privacy and conscience, Congress's power to make war, and so on). When the people vote to put a stop to it and the "other" part is effectively co-opted, what's left? It seems to me you're faced with three options... one, knuckle under and mirror the decay of the Roman Republic; two, find a strong third party candidate and back him/her to the hilt and recover the stolen property that is the Constitution of the United States and all that that implies, or; three, take the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence to heart once again, in sad necessity. And God help us all if it comes to that.

L-girl said...

For them it was -- or should have been -- a life lesson.

The lessons they learned from Vietnam are all the wrong ones:

Don't put the war on TV.

Don't let the public see the coffins and the wounded.

Muzzle the media, keep them on a tight leash.

Squelch protest at every turn.

And above all, do everything possible (and several things seemingly impossible) to avoid a draft.

There was a peace movement against the Vietnam War from the beginning (as soon as the public knew, that is - no one knew about the actual beginning). But until there was a draft, and until they did away with the college deferment - so that now it affected the middle class - the movement didn't take on the massive proportions that we're accustomed to seeing in footage.

***

I always wonder what would have happened if my brother hadn't gotten a medical out. Would my father really taken us to Canada as he said he would? I can't imagine it, but he would have died before he let his son go to Vietnam. Just a personal connection I often think of, now that I am here in Canada myself.

L-girl said...

one, knuckle under and mirror the decay of the Roman Republic; two, find a strong third party candidate and back him/her to the hilt and recover the stolen property that is the Constitution of the United States and all that that implies, or; three, take the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence to heart once again, in sad necessity. And God help us all if it comes to that.

Option one is happening now, I believe.

Option two is also happening, but it's incredibly difficult to build a progressive party movement. I hesitate to use the word impossible, but the battle is SO uphill, the obstacles so many, the organizing so fractured, etc. etc.

Option three, assuming you mean a people's revolution, is something you never have to worry about from the United States. Americans can't come to a revolution. They'd miss their favourite TV shows.

We're much more likely to see an all-out takeover of the government by the government - a military dictatorship - than an overthrow by the people.

loneprimate said...

The lessons they learned from Vietnam are all the wrong ones...

Here, touché. They didn't learn that a people's will to foster their own destiny will, sooner or later, trump the diffuse will of a conquerer to stifle it. It took the Irish 800 years, but they got there. The Vietnamese got there in far less time. But you called the shot... the lesson wasn't that. It was managing the home front next time. And I'm left to wonder if they haven't been successful. :(

Option three, assuming you mean a people's revolution, is something you never have to worry about from the United States. Americans can't come to a revolution. They'd miss their favourite TV shows.

How can it be that a people ready to fight ten years over the principle that a legislature they didn't elect had no right to impose a tax on the tea they drank has come to this?

L-girl said...

Here, touché.

I wasn't trying to be clever. It's what I think all the time.

It took the Irish 800 years, but they got there. The Vietnamese got there in far less time.

Longer than many people realize (Chinese, French, US), and at a tremendous cost - but get there they did.

How can it be that a people ready to fight ten years over the principle that a legislature they didn't elect had no right to impose a tax on the tea they drank has come to this?

It's heartbreaking. It truly is.

Now I'm all sad but I have to go to sleep. G'night.

M. Yass said...

one, knuckle under and mirror the decay of the Roman Republic

That's well underway. The U.S. is an empire country and is overdue for some Bad Things to start happening.

two, find a strong third party candidate and back him/her to the hilt and recover the stolen property that is the Constitution of the United States and all that that implies . . .

You mean for president? Riiiight. That won't do any good. Such a feat is nigh unto impossible given our current two-party system. Besides, anyone who hopes to get elected president will have to take campaign donations from the same people the Demos have, and look what that has done to them.

three, take the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence to heart once again, in sad necessity. And God help us all if it comes to that.

. . .

Option three, assuming you mean a people's revolution, is something you never have to worry about from the United States. Americans can't come to a revolution. They'd miss their favourite TV shows.


True you say, sadly. This is a country where most people probably can't even spell "revolution." Don't forget, the most read newspaper in America is the USA Today, written on a third grade reading level. The Wall Street Journal is written on an eighth grade level and I'll submit that many, if not most, Americans can't make heads or tails out of it.

A quarter of them are fundie Christians, and the Bible says that they're supposed to obey civil authorities "lest they bring judgment upon themselves." Can't do anything nasty like criticize Bush then, can we? He's a God-fearing man, after all.

That leads us to Option Four: get the hell out of Dodge while you still can, as Laura has done and I intend to do. That is, until Harper and his buddies implement their hidden agenda of selling Canada to the U.S. lock, stock and barrel.

M. Yass said...

If someone as dedicated as her is giving up, that pretty much does it for the "stay and fight" crowd, doesn't it?

loneprimate said...

That leads us to Option Four: get the hell out of Dodge while you still can, as Laura has done and I intend to do. That is, until Harper and his buddies implement their hidden agenda of selling Canada to the U.S. lock, stock and barrel.

They can hide it all they want; it still has to eventually see the light of day in Parliament. And given the state of things in the US, the unpopularity of its foreign policy, its dealings with us on trade issues, and the built-in antipathy Canadians have for getting too cozy with the US on an official level, I'm not overly concerned they're going to sell us out in any big way anytime soon. Did you read the comments in The Globe and Mail two weeks ago when Dodge just suggested Canada might one day have a common currency with the US? I'll just say it wasn't a (Republican) party atmosphere.

L-girl said...

That is, until Harper and his buddies implement their hidden agenda of selling Canada to the U.S. lock, stock and barrel.

M. Yass, you had me up to this point. But on this, I pass.

This is a belief held by the American left. Once you're in Canada, you see it doesn't hold much water.

Did you read the comments in The Globe and Mail two weeks ago when Dodge just suggested Canada might one day have a common currency with the US? I'll just say it wasn't a (Republican) party atmosphere.

I've been meaning to blog about it since then. Thanks for reminding me. :)

L-girl said...

If someone as dedicated as her is giving up, that pretty much does it for the "stay and fight" crowd, doesn't it?

She's burnt out. She's emotionally exhausted. She channeled all her grief into this, and now she's got nothing left. She needs to rest and take care of herself.

No movement is one person. People will still fight.

I'm here, and I'm still fighting.

redsock said...

That leads us to Option Four: get the hell out of Dodge while you still can, as Laura has done and I intend to do. That is, until Harper and his buddies implement their hidden agenda of selling Canada to the U.S. lock, stock and barrel.

If you think that, why would you move to Canada? You'll only have to pack up and move again, right? Proceed to Country #3.

loneprimate said...

Proceed to Country #3.

Britain. :)

...No, wait, Governor Blair already sold... uh... Austra-- oh, wait... umm... Uh oh, we're running out of Anglosphere. :D

Granny said...

Here's one liberal who has nothing but admiration for Cindy.

I'm sure she's utterly exhausted. I'll miss her but I sure don't criticize her. A lesser person would have given up long ago.