Today Cindy Sheehan issued a heartbreaking statement saying goodbye to the anti-war movement. She is right in noting how liberal activists will stand by her side so long as she exempts Democrats from her critique of pro-war politics. But she rightly has not stopped short of indicting both business parties for their investment in this war.
She needs to know that there are many, many of us out here who respect her principled critique. I know how hard it is to take shit, be called whore and any number of terrible things, then to have your fairweather friends disappear. It takes a tough and persistent person to stand up against all the forces arrayed against our movement. It is especially hard for a woman, I think, when so much vituperation against outspoken women is tinged with sexual violence. (Just see my hate mail in the academic freedom section of this blog for a much smaller taste than what Sheehan has had to deal with, I’m sure.)
The burden of standing against these forces should be shared.
Cindy, you are not alone. Look to your left–here we are.
(Here are Sheehan’s remarks):
May 28, 2007 9:59 AM
“Good Riddance Attention Whore” by Cindy Sheehan
Body: “Good Riddance Attention Whore”
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
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
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
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.