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" ...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 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.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Deb. Yes, working in the peace movement can get very discouraging. It's true what she's saying. I was in the same place as her once in my life...I now realize that working for peace has to be done carefully, or else it can become it's own type of "WAR" and destroy you and everything you cherish and love. Peace work has to be done expecting no result, totally in syncronization with one's Higher Power, or else it definitely will consume you.

    The problem here is that really we can only change ourselves, not other people...and other people have a lot we don't like. It becomes the ultimate act of futility to throw yourself totally into this movement and still all anyone cares about is American Idol...the Serentiy prayer can definitley come in handy!

    I think this is what happened to Phil Ochs. He was consumed by the War of the Peace movement. Dangit Phil, you robbed us of so much music and goodness when you killed yourself!

    I'm glad Cindy sees what's happening to herself before it's too late...God-willing, we'll see her in the movement again someday, revitalized and with a clear perspective.

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  2. She's just taking a break. I think what wore her out is these so called liberals and progressives that fall for any BS that the democrats spew. They were attacking her as bad or worse than the so called right.

    Only the unDemocratic party could get the peace movement to support a pro-war candidate like Kerry or Clinton. Only Todd Portune could trick people into thinking that a jail is good for black folks.

    The peace and social justice movement need to come together because they are the same thing. We need more African Americans in the peace movement and more white people in the struggle for social justice, civil and human rights.

    We need a real opposition party(GREEN!). We need a media that reflects the peace and social justice movement. We'll have to build both, but the truth is on our side. Everybody knows we're surrounded by corporate weapons of mass deception.

    ReplyDelete

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