Cindy Sheehan has announced she's quitting, and of course -- it's all about her pain.
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.
Sheehan deserves credit for all that she's accomplished. She "put a face" to the grieving parents of American service members who have died in Iraq, and Bush's rebuke and refusal to meet with her -- and the resulting news footage of the downtrodden Mom standing on the dusty Crawford farm roads being ignored by Bush -- angered a lot of sensible Americans, and galvanized the anti-war opinions of many mainstream, moderate voters.
But, as Cindy tell us -- America -- and the left in particular -- just didn't do enough for her in return, and now she's stepping down from her soapbox.
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."
Sheehan and her far left netroots supporters apparently confused political success with some form of personal righteousness. While they often look the same to political outsiders new to the arena, it's a trap difficult to climb out of, especially when swelling egos make climbing that ladder all the more difficult.
Cindy and her pals confused the growing anti-war sentiment of late, which resulted in large part from the continued poorly-executed war plans of President Bush (and have become much more obvious over the last 3-4 months as the "surge" falters and sputters), with some sort of personal victory on the part of the far-left's vocal anti-war platform.
She appears to believe she created the anti-war sentiment that's recently blossomed, and when the Democrats in Congress fail to execute on her further plans and timetables she throws up her hands in disgust... apparently frustrated that people "stopped listening to her", and things stopped "going her way", when Democrats backed down from their faceoff with Bush over funding.
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 tenaciousness of single-issue radicals like Sheehan leaves them blinded to political realities and compromise. It's like the pit bull who clamps on with jaws of steel and just won't let go and who therefore -- with nose right up against the denim pant leg -- can no longer see the larger picture.
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.
Now it's up to us? Who did she think it was "up to" before... her?
Apparently so. Clue time, Cindy, it's always up to us. All of us, as it should be in a democracy -- our democracy. Sheehan tips her hand, in my view, when she calls America a "Representative Republic", ignoring that we're truly a "Representative Democratic Republic" and therefore reliant on the forums and mechanics of the two-party system and the wisdom of our elected leaders.
Our government is not a boat that floats on a tide of public opinion -- we have elected officials who are informed by public opinion, not lead by it. There are clear signs that the Republicans took notice of the growing anti-war public opinion -- and that in itself is a huge victory, and a potent precursor of significant change ahead.
And as to her farewell, "Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love..."..., there are enough of us on the left who do love this America, faults and all, to continue the good fight, Ms. Sheehan.
I hope you find the America you love - we've already found ours.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!