Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How To Be an Anti-War Activist

Periodically, I follow what Cindy Sheehan is up to.

Sheehan has a lot of fans and a lot of detractors. Of the people who know of her, there seem to be few who are in-between these two positions.

For those of you who haven't heard of her, Cindy Sheehan is an anti-war activist who lost a son in Iraq. She's loud, she's outspoken, and she's not scared to take anyone to task. She's had very public demonstrations against Bush. She has gone on hunger strikes, marches, and has held vigils in an effort to end this war or, at the very least, to get some sort of answer or response from our "leaders."

Her detractors say that she's an attention whore, a loudmouth, and worse. They say she is unpatriotic for not supporting the war. I find this comment, simply, not true. Rather, she let her son go off to fight in this war, like so many others did and continue to do. And, when her son was killed in the war, she wanted to know what this war was all about.

She learned that it is a war most likely built on false pretenses and lies, and that its mostly a rich man's war fought on the back's of our nation's poor. You know, by many people who joined the military so they could get some money for college, or joined because it was a respectable option for those without many options. And now, they are the ones willing to fight when so many others- us?, our political leaders?- are not.

Pointing these facts out isn't unpatriotic. It's fucking reality.

And that is why I like Cindy Sheehan.

I like to think that she is out there expressing the collective rage of those of us who can't, who don't know how, or who are too scared to. Maybe it takes the loss of someone close to you to make you fearless. Whatever the case, the anti-war movement is yearning for a leader, for someone to give the rest of us direction. Not all of us Americans are apathetic. Some of us just don't know what to do, or how to help. We aren't brave enough to leave the security of our jobs to do things like buy land next to the Bush's Texas ranch in hopes of getting a conversation with him. We have health care costs, and insurance, and housing payments, and car payments, and student loan payments that we aren't willing to walk away from.

And, maybe, just maybe, some of us watch reality TV because the real news is just too damn depressing. We feel helpless. And powerless.

I do.

Now, Cindy Sheehan has given an ultimatum. Today she will deliver a petition to Congress, with 1 million signatures, for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. The basis for the Articles of Impeachment are: starting a war with a country that was not threatening us, providing false and deceptive rationales for war, authorizing attacks on civilians, and conducting illegal wiretapping among many others.

If Congress doesn't act on this impeachment, Sheehan will run for Congress against Nancy Pelosi in California in the next election.

So, to Cindy Sheehan, I salute you. You define what it means to be a courageous American.

To everyone who wants to help but doesn't know how:


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