Years ago, away back in the eighties, there was a fantastic show on TV…I think it was called NBC News Overnight or something like that. It had as one of it’s news anchors a wonderful woman by the name of Linda Ellerbee, who would close each nights broadcast with Kurt Vonnegut’s phrase from Slaughterhouse Five: “And so it goes”. That’s where, as a satirical writer, I believe I am with Cindy Sheehan.
It’s amazing really, but I posted my first Cindy Sheehan story on August 7th, just ten days ago. When I Googled the News link to Ms. Sheehan’s name at that time to get some background, I think there were maybe a couple of dozen pieces about her…her web search had more, but the news link was pretty sparse. After posting my first piece a few of my ultra-Liberal and well informed friends had no idea who I was talking about. Today, there are nearly two million news pieces posted about this woman and I think you’d have to go deep into the Brazilian rainforest to find someone who hasn’t heard of her, although I’m pretty sure I even saw a posting about her on The Yanomamo Tribe Blog.
Being an egotistical and self-congratulatory jerk, I like to think that in some way I was helpful in spreading the news about Ms. Sheehan. Whether or not that’s true ( and sadly, it probably isn’t), I can’t help feeling a little blue when I read all these stories about her; it’s kinda like watching your kid go off to her first day of school. She belongs to the world now. From a simple news blurb she’s progressed to first being an item worthy of a paragraph, to a full story to a major event and finally, a complete symbol of the entire anti- war/ anti-Bush movement…all in ten days. She must be ready to crack under the pressure; I know I would be and I know that’s what George Bush is hoping for.
By August twelfth I wrote, warning Ms. Sheehan that the smear campaign would begin. Although I think Rush Limbaugh actually got there before I did on that one, the effort to destroy Ms. Sheehan has indeed begun in earnest. Conservative pundits call her a crazy, deranged and grief stricken tool of the Radical Left. The say she has an AGENDA. While she certainly has an agenda and is obviously grief stricken, I don’t think she’s being used or is a tool. She sure isn’t crazy. If anybody is using anybody else, I think Cindy Sheehan is using the Leftist anti-war cadre.
After three or so years of stumbling around trying to get people to listen to them with little or no success, this lonely mother sitting in a tent outside George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch did what they couldn’t…she got the world to first take notice, then finally pay attention.
Of course, George W. Bush helped…a lot too, mostly by being a public relations idiot. Even Richard Nixon went out one evening in Washington DC to quietly talk to protestors about the Vietnam War. It didn’t work of course, but I find it telling that America’s most paranoid President wasn’t afraid to do what George Bush obviously is…come face to face with someone who disagreed with him.
There was a time, just two short weeks ago in fact, when the Secret Service could have politely come and gotten Ms. Sheehan and driven her up to the ranch for a nice cup of hot coco with George. He could have told her that he really believed that he was furthering the cause of Freedom and was truly sorry for her loss and also for the fact that she disagreed with him, but being a man of great conviction and personal honor he had to do what he thought was right. He could have pointed out that Casey Sheehan volunteered for the duty that took his life, so at least he must have believed in the Noble Cause, whether or not she did. Karl Rove could have written it all own for him so he wouldn’t screw it up. And it just might have worked. But he didn’t and now he’s paying for it by exposing himself as an uncaring coward who’s afraid of a middle aged woman. It’s too late now and boy, I can’t wait for his next press conference.
Anyway, Cindy Sheehan has already achieved her goal just by being denied it. Neat trick. She’s exposed George W. Bush as a coward, brought attention to the fact that there is no answer to her original question, now lost in all the rhetoric from both sides…namely, what exactly is the reason we’re in Iraq? In other words, just what is the Noble Cause that everyones been dying for? And most amazingly of all, she’s gotten America to actually pay attention. I honestly didn’t think anyone could do that.