The War in Iraq’s most vocal and well-known critic, activist Cindy Sheehan, says she’s giving up her fight. She blames her decision, since someone else is always to blame, on Democrats who caved on their showdown with the president as well as some attacks from the left that have targeted her.
In her “resignation letter,” she states that the toll has been too much:
“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.”
She also takes a shot at Americans in general with this:
“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.”
A while back, when Sheehan first started getting attention with her protest outside Bush’s ranch in Texas, I criticized the way in which she chose to protest. Specifically, it was her line of reasoning I called into question: she suggested repeatedly that Bush lied about the reasons for the war, and that he shouldn’t be trusted. Yet she then claimed that she wanted to meet with him privately to get the “real” reason her son died in Iraq. The problem with this, I said, was that if you don’t trust Bush, then you don’t trust him: why would you believe what he said to your face if you think he’s incapable of being honest? I suggested that she was only there to make her political point and that she didn’t really want to meet with Bush for that very reason. She later made a statement indicating that she was glad Bush refused to meet with her.
Sheehan’s current potshot at the American society, it would seem, indicates that flawed reasoning is still alive and well.
The price tag for protesting, she says, is too high. Yet she seems to be angry that everyone else isn’t willing to pay the very price she says she is no longer willing to pay. Memorial Day is an annual reminder of the high price our soldiers have paid over this nation’s history so that we can have our freedom. But it is their work, their literal blood, sweat and tears, that have won the right for the rest of us to be as involved or as uninvolved as we wish to be.
Not everyone is going to be Cindy Sheehan. There are people who despise the war far more than she does, whether she would agree with that or not. And these people aren’t willing — and never have been willing — to go to the extremes she has to make their case. But in America, there’s nothing wrong with that if we value personal freedom: how willing you choose to be in letting your president, your lawmakers and your neighbors know how you feel is your business, not Sheehan’s and not anyone else’s.
If you have deep personal reservations about this war, then perhaps it could be reasonably argued that you should make them known; but the decision is still up to you. No one else gets to dictate that for you. You have to decide when your point needs to be made. No matter what price Sheehan has paid, that was her choice. No one forced her to do so. That’s why her campaign struck such a chord with so many people!
Ironically, her decision to throw in the towel comes at a time when I was most in agreement with what she was saying. As she put it in the aforementioned letter:
“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.”
It cannot be said any better or more clearly than that. Perhaps her son didn’t die in vain, as she has repeatedly suggested, if this clear point about the danger of falling for your own party’s lines, whichever party that happens to be, can be made and can actually sink in.