Cindy Sheehan, denouncing Democrats’ hypocrisy, quits in disgust

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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…”

Cindy Sheehan | “Good Riddance Attention Whore” •
Cindy Sheehan | Letter to Democratic Congress •

Sheehan Quits as Face of US Anti-War Fight
By Dan Glaister
The Guardian UK | Dateline: Tuesday 29 May 2007

Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq three years ago, said yesterday she was stepping down from her role as the figurehead of the US campaign against the war.

“This is my resignation letter as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” she wrote in a sometimes bitter diary entry on the website Daily Kos. “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.”

Ms Sheehan, 49, rose to prominence when she voiced her discontent with President George Bush’s policies when he met her and other grieving members of military families.

Announcing her decision on Memorial Day, the anniversary on which the US remembers its war dead, she said that her announcement had been prompted by the recent hostility she had faced from Democrats.

“I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican party,” she wrote. “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 labelling me with the same slurs that the right used.”

On Saturday, in an open letter to Democratic members of Congress, she announced that she was leaving the party because she felt its leaders had failed to change the country’s course in Iraq.

She said that the most devastating conclusion she had reached after three years of protest, which included a trip to Cuba and the setting up of a protest camp outside Mr Bush’s Texas ranch, was that her son had died for nothing.

“I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful,” she wrote. “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.”

“Good Riddance Attention Whore”
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Dateline in our fraternal site truthout: Tuesday 29 May 2007

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 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 [put aside] 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 any more 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.

*******************************
Letter to Democratic Congress
By Cindy Sheehan
Tuesday 29 May 2007

May 26, 2007
Dublin, Ireland

Dear Democratic Congress,

Hello, my name is Cindy Sheehan and my son Casey Sheehan was killed on April 04, 2004 in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq. He was killed when the Republicans still were in control of Congress. Naively, I set off on my tireless campaign calling on Congress to rescind George’s authority to wage his war of terror while asking him “for what noble cause” did Casey and thousands of other have to die. Now, with Democrats in control of Congress, I have lost my optimistic naiveté and have become cynically pessimistic as I see you all caving into, as one Daily Kos poster called: “Mr. 28%”

There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage. You think giving him more money is politically expedient, but it is a moral abomination and every second the occupation of Iraq endures, you all have more blood on your hands.

Ms. Pelosi, Speaker of the House, said after George signed the new weak as a newborn baby funding authorization bill: “Now, I think the president’s policy will begin to unravel.” Begin to unravel? How many more of our children will have to be killed and how much more of Iraq will have to be demolished before you all think enough unraveling has occurred? How many more crimes will BushCo be allowed to commit while their poll numbers are crumbling before you all gain the political “courage” to hold them accountable? If Iraq hasn’t unraveled in Ms. Pelosi’s mind, what will it take? With almost 700,000 Iraqis dead and four million refugees (which the US refuses to admit) how could it get worse? Well, it is getting worse and it can get much worse thanks to your complicity.

Being cynically pessimistic, it seems to me that this new vote to extend the war until the end of September, (and let’s face it, on October 1st, you will give him more money after some more theatrics, which you think are fooling the anti-war faction of your party) will feed right into the presidential primary season and you believe that if you just hang on until then, the Democrats will be able to re-take the White House. Didn’t you see how “well” that worked for John Kerry in 2004 when he played the politics of careful fence-sitting and pandering? The American electorate are getting disgusted with weaklings who blow where the wind takes them while frittering away our precious lifeblood and borrowing money from our new owners, the Chinese.

I knew having a Democratic Congress would make no difference in grassroots action. That’s why we went to DC when you all were sworn in to tell you that we wanted the troops back from Iraq and BushCo held accountable while you pushed for ethics reform which is quite a hoot … don’t’ you think? We all know that it is affordable for you all to play this game of political mayhem because you have no children in harm’s way…let me tell you what it is like:

You watch your reluctant soldier march off to a war that neither you nor he agrees with. Once your soldier leaves the country all you can do is worry. You lie awake at night staring at the moon wondering if today will be the day that you get that dreaded knock on your door. You can’t concentrate, you can’t eat, and your entire life becomes consumed with apprehension while you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Then, when your worst fears are realized, you begin a life of constant pain, regret, and longing. Everyday is hard, but then you come up on “special” days … like upcoming Memorial Day. Memorial Day holds double pain for me because, not only are we supposed to honor our fallen troops, but Casey was born on Memorial Day in 1979. It used to be a day of celebration for us and now it is a day of despair. Our needlessly killed soldiers of this war and the past conflict in Vietnam have all left an unnecessary trail of sorrow and deep holes of absence that will never be filled.

So, Democratic Congress, with the current daily death toll of 3.72 troops per day, you have condemned 473 more to these early graves. 473 more lives wasted for your political greed: Thousands of broken hearts because of your cowardice and avarice. How can you even go to sleep at night or look at yourselves in a mirror? How do you put behind you the screaming mothers on both sides of the conflict? How does the agony you have created escape you? It will never escape me … I can’t run far enough or hide well enough to get away from it.

By the end of September, we will be about 80 troops short of another bloody milestone: 4000, and MoveOn.org will hold nationwide candlelight vigils and you all will be busy passing legislation that will snuff the lights out of thousands more human beings.

Congratulations Congress, you have bought yourself a few more months of an illegal and immoral bloodbath. And you know you mean to continue it indefinitely so “other presidents” can solve the horrid problem BushCo forced our world into.

It used to be George Bush’s war. You could have ended it honorably. Now it is yours and you all will descend into calumnious history with BushCo.

The Camp Casey Peace Institute is calling all citizens who are as disgusted as we are with you all to join us in Philadelphia on July 4th to try and figure a way out of this “two” party system that is bought and paid for by the war machine which has a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives. As for myself, I am leaving the Democratic Party. You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.

We do not condone our government’s violent meddling in sovereign countries and we condemn the continued murderous occupation of Iraq.

We gave you a chance, you betrayed us.

Sincerely,
Cindy Sheehan
Founder and President of
Gold Star Families for Peace.

Founder and Director of The Camp Casey Peace Institute

Eternally grieving mother of Casey Sheehan

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Except for endorsing the views and information contained herein, Cyrano’s Journal Online has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is CJO endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

3 comments on “Cindy Sheehan, denouncing Democrats’ hypocrisy, quits in disgust
  1. It took three years for Cindy, a noble idealist, originally a true believer in the goodness and essential rectitude of our system, to run aground on the shoals of liberalism and opportunistic centrism (hard to distinguish, I admit), the main political expression of the Democratic party establishment today.

    A thousand days during which she contributed much to the antiwar movement, such as it is in this most neurotic and exasperating of plutocratic republics, while giving inspiration to anti-imperialist, authentic democratic forces around the globe…And she finally collided with the truth.

    The truth that many of her companions in this journey were actually fractured, self-incapacitated leftists, if the word “left” can be applied to them at all. Maybe “obsessive anti-Bushites” is a more adequate label. The kind of people who still think the Democratic party offers an alternative to the corporate royalists—be it in the name of “realism” (the usual excuse) or because they feel comfortable with the illusion that complicated half-assed reformist patches and “comfort politics” without real teeth will save the day, and that a true opposition to the current system of organized crime at the highest levels can be counterbalanced by a “loyal opposition” that remains beholden to the very root of the problem: an economic system that is no longer even remotely viable for most humans, non-humans or long-tyrannized nature.

    By their deeds thou shalt recognize them, warn the old sages…and it’s clear that the people throwing epithets at Cindy today are the same ABB (anyone but Bush) crowd that had little compuction in crucifying Ralph Nader for supposedly “losing” the 2000 election. It would be ludicrous for me to speak for the “left”, but let me say this: if I have learned anything in more than 3 decades of active participation in world politics as a self-defined independent leftist, it is this: the true “left” did not betray Cindy. The real left did not attack Cindy and never will. The real left is not whimsical or neurotic, nor does it care about endless “turf wars” and other contemptible egotistical games. And the real left supported Cindy in her work and will continue to do so, unwavering in its belief that Cindy represents the best that this country—or any country for that matter—has to offer as a decent, brave, and compassionate human being.

    But her gradual discovery, a painful lesson no doubt, is also a painful reminder to other true leftists—a very thin line indeed of tireless, committed human beings like Cindy, who often labor in anonymity against huge odds, and in the midst of enormous personal obstacles.

    And the lesson is this:

    Given the astonishing number of imbeciles and ingrates we seem to have in our ranks, it’s clear that, while much of the destiny of the world remains dependent on the outcome of US politics, there’s really little reason for hope. The masses of what we call the left in this nation have been so pre-empted, so disabled by the siren call of liberalism that the Republicans and other strains of political vermin have nothing to worry about. Bush may indeed exit the stage in 2008, and the crown passed on (maybe) to a Democrat, but little or nothing will change. This corrupt system will still win that election. If only because in a rigged game without actual choices, the outcome is pretty much inevitable. It’s obvious that the political and media cesspools, the sheer confusion that define contemporary American culture today, with its massive indifference to issues beyond the self (a culture the plutocracy has long abetted) has paid off.

    Even Orwell would puke.

    —Patrice Greanville
    Editor
    Cyrano’s Journal Online

  2. I have great empathy for Cindy Sheehan. The life of an activist, particularly one under the magnifying glass as much as Cindy has been, is beyond difficult. The costs are huge, and the loss her activism was born from is deep.

    We expect that there will be those against us, but we also expect the support of the like-minded. My experience is that the like-minded can be as petty and narrow minded as our detractors. The rules vary from one “friendly” group to another, but there are egos and there are expectations that you will to bow to this or that political “strategy.” It is a harsh reality to experience, but most who have been activists have experienced “the wall.”

    It takes one’s heart away when allies turn vicious. Support one assumed was solid ground under one’s feet turns into a sinkhole.

    I offer my gratitude and empathy to Cindy Sheehan. She gave her all, and she took the brunt of the criticism to bring a call to sanity in this country. It was and is a tremendous burden. She became a conscience in many ways for people in the US regarding the debacle of Iraq and the “war on terrorism.” She faced a challenge and embraced it whole heartedly. Most would never take up that challenge. I honor her courage, her passion, and her decision to withdraw. She i has been, and continues to be, a model of the passion that fuels the fight for justice.

    Cindy, you have made a tremendous difference to this country.

  3. the DLC bullied her out of running for office in california. The Democratic leadership was never comfortable with Sheehan for obvious reasons…..and I recall her return from meeting with Chavez…..and applauding what he has achieved in Venezuela……not the sort of sentiment mainstream media embraces, nor the DLC (Pelosi called chavez a thug).

    She was an important symbol (much as pat tillman might have been….had his own troops not shot him) for the anti war movement. In today’s climate such symbols are targets. The lessons of the Sheehan story are mostly about the way she was attacked — and the way Democrats refused to stand with her against the war.

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