Rather than extending America's focus on Presidential lies, the meteoric rise of Cindy Sheehan to the top of the headlines shifted our attention to a 'grieving mother.' Curiously, this shift seems to have happened despite the fact that Sheehan's personal writings and public statements tried to intensify the national focus on the President's lies and refusal to meet with her. So what is the bottom line of the Sheehan protest? What did the Sheehan week achieve? In broad terms, the success of the 'grieving mom' phrase indicates that Americans are now thinking about the War in Iraq through the frame of the family, rather than thinking about Iraq through the frame of 'terrorism' or 'ideology.'I think that is right and I think it raises an interesting question - what happens if Cindy Sheehan follows Bush when he returns to Washington, D.C? We have all watched as the country has turned against the Iraq Debacle. And this has happened without the emergence of a visible anti-war movement in the classic sense. And as atrios conjectured a few months ago, maybe because of the absence of a visible Vietnam-style anti-war movement. But Jeff hits on something here, and raises a different type of possibility -- a visible anti-war movement centered around a broad-based unassailable concern, a mother's concern for her children. If Cindy Sheehan travels to Washington, D.C., maintains her focus on the family costs of the Debacle, and to the Common Good of the country, it will have a great chance of resonating in a way a more traditional anti-war movement might not. Couple this with the clear evidence that we are in deep deep trouble in Iraq, and Cindy Sheehan may be the key to the first real tangible breakthrough into the "heartland" of a strong, broad based anti-war movement. Of course this is all speculation on my part, but I think it merits thought. Because we are on a Debacle treadmill with Bush and need to find ways to publicly pressure BushCo to push them towards accepting the reality of the demise of the neocon dream and a need to find a way out that best serves the interests and security of the nation and the world.
Jeff Feldman identifies the main reason Cindy Sheehan has captured the nation's imagination:
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