I admit to becoming completely fascinated by Cindy Sheehan. This woman…unprepossessing with a gentle and friendly smile, just an average lady you’d pass on the street, maybe nod to as you went by, nothing really remarkable about her at all. But with any luck, Cindy Sheehan just might be the woman to change the course of American, and by extension, world politics.
I honestly don’t think I’m engaging in hyperbole here. Sure, Americans have been watching the growing death toll in Iraq with some concern and unease for several months now. Yes, the President’s poll numbers regarding his handling of Iraq have been dropping, but in general Americans don’t really seem to care about Iraq; it only makes the news these days when large numbers of Americans get killed all together, that’s interesting, but only for a day or so. After that it’s on to some beautiful missing teenager in Aruba, something to get their prurient juices flowing.
Also, deep down inside, I think most of the people who initially supported the war are now embarrassed by it. They’re embarrassed because they allowed George W. Bush to play to their fears, to lie to them, to use them and now they don’t want to think about it. It’s become that thing you saw on TV that you absolutely had to have but didn’t need, that you paid too much for and it doesn’t work well or fit right so you stick it in the closet and pretend it doesn’t exist.
But, much to the dismay of all involved, Cindy Sheehan is becoming the one person in the family who keeps opening the closet door and asking, “Why did you buy this thing? How much did it cost? When will you ever be able to pay off the interest on the credit you used to get it?”
All good questions, and all questions we don’t feel like thinking about. The real danger is that Cindy Sheehan and her questions will stop making the news, not because the questions got answered, but because we’re all too uncomfortable to hear those answers.
It’s also probably inevitable that some group will explode on the scene with information that Cindy Sheehan once slept with Osama bin Laden or donated to the Saddam Hussein, or worse, Hillary Clinton re-election committee. Someone like Swift Boat Veterans Forsooth or Baathists for Bush. Dedicated phone lines will be installed from Karl Rove’s office to the new groups headquarters and the smear campaign will start in earnest. Cindy Sheehan will be cast as a greater traitor than Max Cleland or John Kerry, crazier than John McCain or Howard Dean and probably a closet Lesbian to boot.
The problem for George W. Bush and his merry band of slanderers is that I don’t think that can or will stop Cindy Sheehan. She’s already paid the highest price she could and the inevitable extra cost to her that George Bush will try to exact from her pales in comparison.
I’d be shocked if the Texas authorities actually made good on their promise to arrest Ms. Sheehan this Thursday; it will only make matters worse for them and they have to know it. The image of a Gold Star Mother being led away from George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch by the flinty eyed McLeenan County Sheriff’s Office Captain Kenneth Vanek and a phalanx of Secret Service agents to be charged with being a Threat to the President is one that should make even the most hardened Republican sit up and take notice and someone as astute as Karl Rove has got to know it.
So, this woman, this Cindy Sheehan, the person who already has exposed George W. Bush as too cowardly to face her or even let her even five miles near him, is poised to expose the fallacy and cost of the war he started. God Speed, Ms. Sheehan.