Monday, September 12, 2005

CINDY SHEEHAN SPEAKS IN LOS ANGELES, BEGINS

A WOMAN WHO WON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER -- BUT
THE DEMOCRATS REMAIN THE OTHER PRO-WAR PARTY

CINDY SHEEHAN SPEAKS IN LOS ANGELES, BEGINS
NATIONWIDE BUS TOUR

An Open Letter by Scott Tucker, Editor of Open
Letter Online
http://www.openletteronline.com

(NO COPYRIGHT. FORWARD FREELY BUT PLEASE KEEP
OPEN LETTER AND OTHER WEBLINKS).

Readers of Open Letter,

Last night (Friday, September 9) Cindy
Sheehan spoke to a crowded audience at the Agape
Center in Los Angeles. CodePink (
http://www.codepinkalert.org ) helped organize
the meeting, and is also helping to bring the
message of Camp Casey from coast to coast. Camp
Casey was the peace encampment near the
president's vacation home in Crawford, Texas,
named after Cindy Sheehan's son, a soldier who
died in Iraq. Camp Casey was not the result of a
careful plan and strategy. Cindy Sheehan planted
the seed, but the encampment soon had an
astonishing civic and organic life. Sheehan is a
mother who wanted to ask the Commander in Chief
some tough questions. Why, for example, did her
son die in a war which the government first waged
with a campaign of lies? That's how Camp Casey
began.

Her T-shirt was printed with these words:
"He's not my president." And the name of the
anti-war group which has mounted the largest mass
protests in recent American history was
emblazoned right below those words: UNITED FOR
PEACE AND JUSTICE. (For information on UFPJ and
the upcoming Peace Festival in Washington, DC,
September 24 - 26, check this weblink:
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?list=type&type=91
).

Sheehan told the audience we have the right
and duty to take this country back from the oil
profiteers and warmongers. She quoted the
ghost-written rhetoric of George W. Bush-- which
passed his lips almost without a thought, but
which set her own heart on fire: "We have to
complete the mission to honor the sacrifices of
those who have died."

Cindy Sheehan believes the lives of brave
soldiers (including her son) have been sacrificed
for a dishonorable cause. That makes her a ery
dangerous person in the minds of those who hold
power and wage war.

Cindy Sheehan told Anderson Cooper: "I'm here
in Crawford because you reporters aren't doing
your job."

When reporters ask why Sheehan calls Bush a
terrorist, she tells them plainly: "Because Bush
says a terrorist is someone who kills innocent
civilians. Bush is killing lots of innocent
civilians, so by his own definition Bush is a
terrorist."

A woman with a mind and a mouth like Cindy
Sheehan's has to be smeared. She's heard and read
it all. The smear campaign is full of
contradictions, and full of distractions.
Sheehan has been called "heartless," and she's
been called "emotional." Laptop bombardiers
have claimed she's not "a real patriot," and war
propaganda has reduced Sheehan to a mother with
no maternal feeling, a woman who dishonors the
life and death of her own son. This campaign is
orchestrated from the top and through the usual
far right channels. She's not backing down and
she's not shutting up.

"If they couldn't knock me down by killing my
son," said Cindy Sheehan, "how do they think
lying about me will stop me now?"

She added: "My son's blood lined the pockets
of people who were already rich. This war is
driven by guys who can't admit a mistake, but
it's also driven by corporate greed."

Sheehan introduced another Gold Star mother,
Vicki Castro, whose son, Jonathan, was killed
with thirteen other soldiers when a suicide
bomber infiltrated a lunchtime gathering of
soldiers in Iraq. Vicki Castro pointed at a
photo of her son smiling behind the wheel of his
pick-up, and then at a photo of Coffin #1306
being delivered under a flag.

Arianna Huffington and others also addressed
the audience. Huffington fancies herself "beyond
left and right"-- or that's how she is positioned
on a radio talk show called Left, Right, and
Center-- and she does distinguish herself among
the well known opiners by taking direct aim at
weasels, flunkeys, "centrists," social climbers,
and war collaborators in the leadership of the
Democratic Party. For this reason alone, she is
a great public servant. She is wittier than
whole corporate crews of talking heads, and
(having been a scholar of the Greek classics) she
also paid a great compliment to Cindy Sheehan.
Huffington reminded the audience that the ancient
Greeks made an important distinction between
Pericles and Demosthenes, two of the great
Athenian orators. Pericles was the finer
speaker, and better versed in the art of
rhetoric. But when the ancient Greeks listened
to Demosthenes, "then they were ready to march."
The audience erupted in applause, and the analogy
was clear: Cindy Sheehan is a Demosthenes, and a
force for peace no government can dare ignore.

A warrior spirit and a commitment to peace
make Sheehan a woman who has to be smeared,
baited and bullied. She marched as close to the
president's home in Crawford as she could get,
before security guards blocked her and before she
was pushed in a ditch. That's how Camp Casey
began. A grieving and angry mother wanted the
Commander in Chief to answer her questions, not
just use her as a prop in his own photo ops. She
didn't have a flashlight that first night in
Crawford, much less a tent or portable toilet.
The government told her she'd better take No for
an answer. So she went over the head of the
Commander in Chief and took her questions to the
rest of us: we, the people.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who represents
the 35 th District of California (
http://www.house.gov/waters/ ) was introduced as
one of the very few "unbought, unbossed"
politicians in the Democratic Party. True--
which raises questions. Waters gave a rousing
speech but she is waging as hopeless a battle in
her own party as Bush is waging in Iraq. The
Democratic Party is dominated by the Democratic
Leadership Council, the bailiwick of the Clintons
and their kind. And Howard Dean-- remember that
"peace candidate" ?-- now heads the Democratic
National Committee. Dean changed his tune on the
war as soon as he got his new job. Dean said,
"Now that we're there, we're there and we can't
get out." Dean's words should be tattoed in red
ink on the foreheads of every liberal who still
believes the Democratic Party is some kind of
humanitarian organization. (See "Howard Dean,
Leader of the Other Pro-War Party, Backs the
Occupation," by Kevin Zeese, in CounterPunch,
April 22, 2005:
http://www.counterpunch.org/zeese04222005.html
).

Liberals-- excuse me, "progressives" (as
liberals scared of their own shadows now prefer
to be called)-- will be demanding that we vote
for Hillary or some other corporate "centrist" in
2008. Liberals who are literally invested in the
Democratic Party-- the big donors, the career
social climbers-- will give their party leaders a
free pass on every urgent and critical issue.
War, health care, welfare, housing, decaying
infrastructure, systemic corporate crime, the
trashing of air, land, and water-- each and every
one of these issues damn well better be a litmus
test for any candidate asking for votes in 2008.
The proof of liberal ineffectuality is that they
continue to vote by rote. "Progressives" who
pull levers for such career politicians are among
the most conformist and regressive people to be
found in the United States of America.

Until we make a radical break away from their
ideology and from the party of their choice, we
can expect continuing war collaboration from
"centrist" leaders-- no matter which corporate
politician reigns in the White House. Huffington
told last night's audience that the definition of
madness is doing something that does not work
over and over again. Huffington can huff and
puff, but she'll never blow the bipartisan system
down until she starts speaking out for the real
and growing opposition party: the Green Party of
the United States. (For more information on the
Green Party, check http://www.gp.org/ ). And a
thousand editorials in The Nation are not worth
one person who makes an honest break from the
stranglehold of corporate politics.

Last night proved that minds can change-- and
that in politics people can evolve not just year
by year, but week by week, and hour by hour. The
Democratic Party will not disappear-- it will
remain a partner in corporate wars and crimes.
That is the very reason a distinction must be
made between the career professionals of that
party-- the "centrist" hired managers of
capitalism, the party leaders such as the
Clintons, Gore, Dean, and others-- and the many
citizens and voters who are ready to think again
about war, peace and democracy.

The cry for peace must also become a
political battle cry:

NOT ONE CENT, NOT ONE VOTE FOR THE PARTIES OF
WAR AND EMPIRE!

1 Comments:

At 9/15/2005, Blogger markmorgan94824356 said...

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