Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cindy Sheehan's Example

Cindy Sheehan submitted a "letter of resignation" through yesterday's entry on her Daily Kos blog:

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

The above text is the conclusion of that entry. It was preceded by a rather extended text developing the argument that led her to this conclusion. In a time that has so tightly coupled the lack of reflection with the lack of will, the entire text makes for sobering reading. It deserves all that reflection that we no longer seem to be able to muster, whether through lack of will or the sheer laziness of lack of energy. One must read her remarks in light of not only Russ Feingold's criticism of the Congress for preferring "political comfort" to strength of will but also the tactics of the "media ideologues," both right and left, to turn the legislative process into grist for an entertainment mill that, as Ms. Sheehan observed in her blog, is probably best represented by American Idol. Last week I choose to pick on Keith Olbermann; but he is only a symptom of the far greater malady that has warped the democratic ideal of the "people's choice" to a point where it is barely recognizable. It is the country that grew out of that ideal that is the object of Ms. Sheehan's love in the above text; and she now seems as resigned to the death of that ideal as she has had to be to the death of her son Casey.

If Ms. Sheehan is right, then she has refuted my assertion last week that the Democrats care what she says, while Bush can ignore it by dint of his own personal morality. Actually, if I read her argument correctly, it is actually the Democrats who refuted my assertion, leaving me feeling about the same way I felt in 1968, when it was clear that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans had put up a presidential candidate for whom I could vote. This was all the more ironic, since this was the first presidential election in which I could cast a vote. So it was that, on the first opportunity I had to vote for who would be President, I gave my vote to Dick Gregory, running under the Peace and Freedom Party, because he made it clear that action in the face of an urgent situation was more important to him than "political comfort." However broad the playing field may appear right now, my guess is that the choice we shall ultimately face in November of 2008 will be equally disconcerting, if not more so.

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