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Cindy Sheehan, Thank Your For Your Dedication

May 31, 2007

I understand why Cindy Sheehan has quit as an official anti-war activist or is the title peace activist. It becomes overwhelmingly exhausting and bleak when it seems as if little to no progress is being made. Once upon a time when I was seriously considering becoming a K-12 teacher I thought about what I would use as my motivation, what would fuel me when I needed a boost, what would stand in as my inspiration in times when all seem hopeless. That old default answer that so many teachers have given in the past echoed through my head, “If I can only reach one child I will see myself as a success.” Unfortunately, that thought does very little for me. It feels like a risky investment in wishful thinking. One student in a lifetime? As if. I cannot live on those results. Call it self-preservation, but I need a little more than that.

After much deliberation and combing over policies and procedures, I decided that I needed to file a sexual harassment/sexual discrimination grievance against the military. It was a long and arduous process. People who were supposedly committed to righteousness suddenly yield when it came to the slightest personal sacrifice. As supporters began to disappear or betray the initial complaints it became obvious that there was never really a collective commitment for change, but advantageous posturing utilized for whatever gain could be had by playing all sides. It was like watching a player run from one team to the other depending on the current score.

When others turn away or change venues, it creates doubt even in the most committed. Thus, the most dedicated becomes confuse and wonder if he or she is still on the right path. Activism is a lonely business, comparable to motherhood, social workers, teachers, and all other occupations that are typically underpaid and predominately female. Society needs custodians but is unwilling to pay for the service, in money, praise, or results. Yet, society allows itself to be duped by people such as the PNAC who claim to be connecting to the world, globalizing for the good of the collective, all the while lining their own pockets and destroying the planet for the next generation.

In her swan song, Sheehan mentions the failings of the ego. When I read about how an ego hinders or destroys something potentially beautiful or derails a righteous and just outcome, I want to thrust my fist through the wall. We as a country do not seem to be free from this master ego. From the individual to the collective, no one seems to be immune. It is as if humility and true modesty is the new scarlet letter that no one wants to wear. When Blair resigned he was criticized, rightfully so, however, he did resign. His resignation does not make up for his mistakes but it does testify somewhat for the possibility of recovering his potential character, his own personal power, the power he lost when he sold out his beliefs. Right now, an American Blair type would be more welcoming than a Rove, Cheney, Bush, or Gonzales.

Americans are hyper-capitalists, grossly over consuming consumers, therefore by trade, by habit, –thieves. Disingenuous thieves. We hear liars testify daily with “I don’t know” and “I don’t recall” yet their egos will not allow them to be honorable and resign, will not allow them to say, “look, this is all wrong and I was part of it and did nothing about it until I was caught.” Even when they are caught they refuse to surrender. The ego of the American population will not collectively work together and force cancerous leaders to resign because doing so would be admitting that the collective allowed it to happen. We are a nation who does not tolerate failure or the perception of failure. Failure is a real ego downer. For an individual concluding that he or she has taken on more than his or her intellectual capacity or his or her learned capabilities is too much of an ego disappointment so it is not to be done. For the collective concluding that one was not overseen or held accountable for their mistakes is too depressing, too contradictory to the fabricated reality that is more soothing to the American ego. Resignation is too much of an ego killer, an image deal breaker.

I know what Cindy Sheehan feels, not in the same vein or of the same magnitude but similar enough to truly empathize with her. I hate to see her quit because when people like her quit it highlights impending doom. There seems to only be a can’t beat them then join them option.

Fighting them reaps nothing, joining them reaps nothing, remaining silent reaps nothing. So what other choice is there but to try and gather up what little life has left to offer and part ways.

“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.”—Cindy Sheehan

2 Comments
  1. Professor Zero permalink
    June 1, 2007 4:54 am

    This is a great post.

    On Sheehan – when you *really* go up against the government / the establishment, you do not get treated well. I do think she managed to scare them / get to them … no mean accomplishment.

  2. E. K.(Kitty) Glendower permalink
    June 2, 2007 9:50 am

    Yes. It makes the saying “You can’t fight city hall,” a reality.

    We have no more Mr. Smiths. He has gone to Washington, but sold us out while there.

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