Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Be Well Cindy

Word circulated yesterday that Cindy Sheehan had resigned from the Democratic Party and the peace movement. In doing so, she wrote a letter which is posted at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/23018.

This is hard news for the peace movement. Cindy has long been a strident but unimpeachably valid voice for the anti-Iraq war movement in this country. She is a mountain of rock in the movement. I am a mote of dust, but I can relate to her decision as, I'm sure, can anyone who has ever held a leadership position in such a movement.

Immediately upon learning about the Camp Casey she established across the road from W's Texas ranch in memory of the son she lost in Iraq, I led the effort to set up a sympathetic Camp Casey here in Springfield. It was one of my life's most harrowing experiences.

The first day went swimmingly. We had a very large turnout for our town, but the second day brought an invasion from a local war-mongering Rush wannabe and about 50 of his listeners (hopefully at this point that would be all of them). He left late in the morning, but many of them stayed for the next two days and into the nights. Their obscene heckling often triggered inappropriate responses from some of the folks on our side.

I learned over those three days that our side had as many nuts and loose cannons as the other side did. I spent as much time trying to console and control overwrought peace marchers as trying to contain the abusive behaviors from the other side. We had to call the police in three times the last day. I was able to leave around 10:00 the third night only by calling the police and asking them to clear the lot of people from our side. That was the last time I agreed to take a leadership role in such an effort. I just don't have the will to wrestle with all the people who, consciously or not, do everything they can to undermine the work. Combined with the pain of doing things like reading the names of the dead soldiers, I can't take it.

Cindy Sheehan's efforts to get America to understand that her son's life was taken in a false cause have been monumental and have unquestionably taken a huge toll on her emotional well-being. I broke down while reading the names of the dead because I came to one that could well have been the son or grandson of one of the fellows I was in basic training with. Cindy, every day for the last three years, has not broken down while intoning the name of the own lost son in the same context. The weight of just that task would be enough to crush most of us, but she also had to deal with daily villification by detractors and, far too often, the press - as she did here in Springfield and, ultimately, had to conclude that even the Democratic Party she was counting on to turn things around was paying no real heed to her words and her work. We're all fed up with them, but for her their perfidy was a direct, personal blow.

Namaste, Cindy. May time and love heal your wounds. May the nuts and loose cannons now leave you alone.

The nation owes Cindy a great debt. Our hopes for her well-being ought to be with her today and for many days to come. She did a great deal to open the nation's eyes to the horror that BushCo has unleashed upon the world.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

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