George W. Bush's war has generated enough tears to hydrate the Sahara. More tears this morning. Cindy Sheehan has thrown in the towel. Her protest against the war that killed her son Casey is over. She has come to the conclusion that Casey died for nothing. Nothing at all. That, and her realization that America "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." She's right. And the tears dribble down to my keyboard. There's more.
Cindy never minced words in her long struggle to bring Bush's immoral war into national focus. She infuriated a lot of people with her candor. Bush blew her off, refusing to speak to her, even when she camped out in his neighborhood. But Bush will not speak to anyone who has not been thoroughly vetted by his people. He will not converse with anyone who disagrees with him. Which means, of course, that he is completely isolated from reality. But then you already knew that, didn't you?
The woman is not a saint. She made mistakes and missteps. But she never stopped trying. Her gutsy stand cost her her marriage, her savings and her health. That's how much she loves her son. That's how much she wanted to help move her country onto a moral track. Clearly too big a job for one woman.
Cindy Sheehan. Love her or despise her. Either way, she has been this country's fearless conscience for three long years. She has spoken out in ways that put our cowardly politicians to shame. There's that five-letter word again. The thing of which there is zero, zip, nada in Washington D.C.
In the end, even the Democrats turned on her. You see, she wouldn't sit down and behave herself. She pissed off everyone by calling America "a fascist corporate wasteland." The thing is, she's right about that, too. One nation, under the god of rampant consumerism and the bottom-line.
Cindy said, "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."
You know that thing about not knowing what you had until you've lost it? We have lost our most consistently strong voice in the land of the mealy-mouthed. We have lost the burr under George's saddle. It sickens me to think of his smirky celebration of the news that his nemesis has packed it in, even as the Democrats are losing their way, if indeed they ever knew what it was. And once again, America comes up the big loser.
I want so much to be able to tell Cindy that her son died for something. Turns out he didn't. How many more? How many?
Barbara J. Miller lives in Minnesota. She writes for www.clotheslineblog.com.