Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Calls It Quits

I can't afford to go to London like I planned.

I just lost my job due to "downsizing" which means, as they told me in my exit interview, 'they are pleased with my work but due to restructuring, they aren't staffing my office next year.'

Sigh. I decided to settle for a couple of local Harry Potter events, maybe even one that's taking place in Canada (at least I can drive). In between planning my last Potter Summer and collecting unemployment, I figured I would try to find another gig and maybe spend more time on the anti-war effort.

Although my main reason for going to London was a Harry Potter conference I must say that I was interested in talking to some people that are not actually in America about the war and our foreign policy in general. That and hopefully proving to some folks abroad that all Americans aren't all bad.

Just last week I told Ye Old Matey that I was thinking of writing to Cindy Sheehan and seeing if I could join her at Camp Casey or wherever else and join a protest or two.

Yesterday I heard a news blurb saying that Cindy Sheehan is quitting the peace movement. Today on Michael Moore's site I read this letter to America from Cindy Sheehan. You should read the whole thing but in case you don't, know that this moved me to tears.

  • I have tried ever 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.

For a few minutes after George Bush's speech at Union Terminal, here in my hometown of Cincinnati, God help me, I believed him. I listened very carefully because this was after Septemeber 11 and I knew we would be going to war, were already at war. And when he gave his spiel about Saddam and uranium and weapons of mass destruction and funding and harboring Al Queda, I believed him.

Even now, it's hard for me to remember, after all the propaganda, that it was all lies. Even thought the news media acts as though it were all an innocent mistake, I must remind myself, "The President lied. Not just believed faulty intelligence but that he lied."

I remember that Bush, Cheney and Rice all have financial ties to oil and that I'm paying over $3.20 a gallon to make them richer.

I must remember that we, of the land of the free and the home of the brave, are holding prisoners in secret prisoners across the globe.

I must remember that as an American citizen I bear part responsibility for what is happening in Iraq. There are no two separate entities as "the government" and "the people"- that they are one and the same.

I think of the brutal media suppression. There is not good. There's the merely bad; things as simple as the Colbert Blackout or this list of 25 stories the Media refuses to report on. And then there's the ugly; journalists and media workers who have lost their jobs - from Donahue to Rosie to lesser known national journalists who have been let go. And the downright evil; embedded journalists in Iraq and the many reporters and media workers who have been injured or killed. Yes killed. And it's been proven that many were not accidents.

I have always wondered just what Bob Woodruff saw or heard before the mine went off.

Read Cindy Sheehan's letter. Remember that as American citizens we share the blame for the displacement and deaths of thousands of Iraquis. We owe it to the soldiers who believed in the cause or even if they didn't, fought anyway for what they were told was protecting our Liberty and Democracy.

Remember and ask yourself: What more can we do to stop this war?

For me, simply blogging is no longer enough.

Monday, May 28th, 2007
"Good Riddance, Attention Whore" 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 ever 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.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Our Government as the Harry Potter story

Cheney/ Voldemort
Will lie, cheat, kill and steal for all power and immortality. Never had a friend although everyone claims to be his one and only BFF. Has as many Horcruxes as their are articles in the Patriot Act and you can bet he murdered a principal of our Democratic Republic to create each one. In short: Evil Incarnate.

Bush, Sr./ Lucious Malfoy
Voldemort/ Cheney's most loyal supporter until his own son started listening to the Dark Lord more than following his own advice. Now trapped in a prison of his own making and hoping for the day, if he ever, he can bring his son back to the lighter portion of the Dark Side.

Bush, Jr./ Draco Malfoy
A little clueless yet more than willing to make his papa proud by talking up the Dark Lord. However when the Dark Lord called, Jr. understood that he must answer. Sadly, even papa was frightened by just how far Jr. would go in service to Voldemort/ Cheney.

Karl Rove/ Belatrix Lestrange
A bitchy fem version of the Dark Lord: just as evil and deadly without the charm or the #1 spot and quite willing to be #2. The plotter, the planner, and by far the most loyal - will never realize that no matter how hard she tries, she will always be too soft for the Dark Lord and can never be the friend to the Dark Lord she believes herself to be. The Dark Lord has no friends and never will.

Ashcroft/ Snape
In light of recent evidence, the jury is out on Ashcroft. Just when we thought his attraction to the Dark Arts had overwhelmed him to the point of resignation, we find that all along it may only have been the starch in his epiduraled spine that has left us with a shred of our Democratic Republic intact. The question, "Ashcroft - Friend or Foe?" becomes the question of 2007.

Gonzales/ Peter Pettigrew
Ah, the little weasel. Our Executive Branch has long been under Voldemort/ Cheney's dark influence. Our Legistlative Branch like so many Cornelius Fudges and other Ministry of Magic notables argue and debate and keep up appearances. We put up with Gonzales because he was always underfoot and kept up a decent enough appearance that our Judiciary was still free of Dark Magic. However when things got hot, he showed is plainly that his loyalty was and always had been with the Dark Lord. He has claimed to the bitter end that a cross between a bad Memory Charm and the Imperius curse led to "all those U.S. attorney's being fired"

Mainstream Media/ Rita Skeeter
Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies. And half-truths and deceptions and coverups and whatever Paris Hilton is doing. However, MSM, it's not what you say, it's what you don't that let's us know where the true stories are and who is lining your pockets. Remember the Stephen Colbert Blackout? How smoothly you slid back into Bush photo ops after Katrina? Mission Accomplished? The Thanksgiving Turkey? Bush's Twin? Same two guys in robes and turbans, standing in the back of lone pickup in the middle of the Iraqui dessert waving ak-47's and screaming, "Death to America." Are they the same two guys? Don't they have anything else to say? What about the college students, and families and refugees and what the hell is REALLY happening in the Green Zone that is fortified with 10 walls, a checkpoint at each wall and why shouldn't we believe that that they weren't aiming at Cheney and at Blair? If it was close but no cigar isn't it reasonable that they were targets.

Ah, just keep lying. It's more fun to get the truth from the internet anyway.

Dumbledore's Army = Bloggers, War Protesters, Impeachment Protestors, Cindy Sheehan, Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert
Those who have constantly and consistently protested the American war of aggression and the subsequent occupation. Those who have blogged and picketed and marched. Those who have manned Camp Casey and kept the faith with Cindy Sheehan. Those who have refused to believe for one instant that this war was ever the right path. Those who responded to 9/11 by buying books about Islam and getting better internet access - not just to keep up with the news, but to get online and join the global dialog and try to understand our world neighbors better. Those who have refused to swallow the Bush Administration lies hook, line and sinker and continue to fight, hope and work for a better tomorrow.

If you're not watching Stewart and Colbert, you should be. If you're not reading Truth Dig and TPM Muckraker every day, you should be. If you haven't yet done one thing to protest the war - write a letter and or make a phone call to our senators and congresspeople; start a blog, write a friend, put on a button or bumper sticker- what are you waiting for? Join Dumbledore's Army today and help stop this war and get our Republic back.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

From Racism to Terrorism

About my last post.

I've wondered over and over again whether I was wrong for putting the blame of racism squarely at the feet of White people.

It has been suggested to me, and always by White people, that the eras of Slavery, Black Codes, Jim Crow, Segregation and even Racism are so far in the distant past that Black people need to be "over it" by now. What's past is past and Black people are free now to chose what they make of their lives without White interference. White people as a group are no longer responsible for racism institutional or individual.

White people are individuals who cannot be grouped together but the "Black community" and "Black leaders" on the other hand are responsible for making sure all Black people are on the same page. Got that?

However, I was helping someone work on a research paper about Emmett Till. While doing her research, she had mentioned to her grandfather what she was working on. He came back with photos of himself and Emmett Till together as young boys. They had been friends and playmates in Till's home city of Chicago. If you're not familiar with the story of Emmet Till then I suggest you brush up, here. However this really blew away the theory that all of this happened "so very long ago."

While we were researching books about lynching I came across another website entitled simply Without Sanctuary. Within it's virtual pages lies a horrendous, graphic and heartrending accounting of "post card lynching".

This website reminded me of something that I've always known but had somehow suppressed within myself and what we as a nation are trying to suppress as well:

Racism does not merely hurt feelings or magnify slights - it threatens the very existence of body and soul and ultimately humanity. It must be rooted out at all costs or we will all perish.

Black people (and Native Americans and many, many others) are justified in our anger and maybe even hatred until every single White person on this planet recognizes what they have done to all people of color for centuries. What they must also recognize is that their actions and inactions have impact today.
On such "post card lynching" had a profound impact on American race relations. Albert Hamilton was all of 8 years old when he drove a horse-drawn carriage for a living in 1912 Cordele, Ga. Accused of assaulting a White woman, Hamilton was carted off to jail. A mob dragged him from his cell, beat him severely, hanged him from a nearby tree and shot him more than 300 times.

Hamilton's best friend, a 15 year old boy named Elijah Poole, watched the killing horror. Later Pool moved to Detroit and started a religious sect known as the Nation of Islam. When Pool changed his last name to Muhammed and preached that Whites were devils, he was accused of teaching hate. Nobody bothered to ask who taught (The Honorable) Elijah Muhuammad to hate. But that mob in Cordele must hav been one of his instructors, as were the postcards made after Hamilton's death.
from the website Bad Subjects, article: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, a review by Joe Lockhardt

One of the reasons we cannot end the war is because White people will have to admit that right up there with WMD's and Terrorism was Racism. It was so easy to go to war against "towel heads" and "rag heads" and "sand niggers" that no one ever thought about school children or their mothers and fathers or even families. They will have to admit that they went to war against Brown people because they were Brown and their language sounds funny.

We can only blame being propagandized by our government and Fox News just so far. Or do we have to admit that we were gullible enough to believe that everyone in Iraq was a man in a turban and robe jumping up and down in the back of a pickup truck waving a gun screaming "Death to Amerikka".

Racism in America is the true terrorism. And if this is all then we may still be able to fix this. For in racism what is feared is what we are. Human.

In that case, the only fear we have, truly is fear itself.