Skip to main content

Over the past couple days, I've discovered that any criticism of Cindy Sheehan in a liberal discussion forum will be met with several people immediately feeling compelled to remind me that Cindy lost a son in Iraq. So let's get that out of the way in this rant: I stipulate that Cindy Sheehan's son was killed in an illegal, stupid war.

I follow my stipulation by mentioning--nay, by ranting--that I am about as thoroughly sick of Cindy Sheehan as anyone can be, and I wish her all the luck in the world in her pursuit of what I hope will be a nondescript retirement.

"Oh, Steve," you say, "you're so cold. After all, remember, she lost a--" no, do not use that as an argument, because it isn't. Appeals to emotion are not arguments. And if the death of Cindy's son is an effective argument for why she has some special say on the war in Iraq, then it is equally the case that a pro-war mother who has lost a son in Iraq has an absolutely equal case for being heard as a legitimate spokesperson. What we have to do as a body of liberals is to figure out what we would do with any other member of this body that wrote a diary, as Ms. Sheehan has, in which we proclaim that we are "retiring" from Daily Kos. We would immediately be derided for writing yet another in a long string of "Goodbye Cruel Kos" diaries, stretching back to this site's founding. People would take it for what it was: a cheap attempt to gain some sympathy for some alleged wrong done to the diarist by those whom the diarist mistakenly believes are required to brook no dissent or disagreement with the diarist's superior point-of-view.

Well, I don't buy it. I have had misgivings about Cindy Sheehan as the "face of the anti-war movement" since her genesis. The death of a child can certainly be a legitimate motivation for activism, but the problem for Cindy was that Casey's death didn't act as motivation for Cindy to oppose the Iraq War--it acted as motivation for her to oppose the death of her son. And that's a completely different thing. Cindy wasn't camped outside of Crawford to berate the president for an illegal, stupid war. She was camped outside of Crawford because she claimed she "had questions" about why her son died in that war. That doesn't make Casey a motivation and a spur to action. It makes him a fetish and a totem, and personally I find that repugnant.

Cindy followed up her original activism by getting swept along in a string of bone-headed decisions, including being used as a prop by Hugo Chavez. You may love the fact that Chavez wants to give this country's poor cheap oil. You may be less inclined to give him a group hug now that he has shut down a major media outlet that was critical of his administration.

So Cindy has decided to "retire" from her activism. That's great. It must truly be wonderful for one's activism to be such that one can retire it when one wishes. It gives one's followers the sense that their leader wasn't all that serious about the mission in the first place. And personally, the cynic in me--and the cynic in me has a lion's appetite--wonders if this is indeed the last we will be hearing from Cindy Sheehan, or if, as seems more likely, the psychic caresses that she has now gotten in a diary with 850 postings will now smooch away all those boo-boos that she apparently got from some mean ol' bloggers over there on Democratic Underground.

People who go into public service can expect to get knocked around. That's one of the things that people ask themselves before they jump into that fishbowl: can they withstand the heat from the stage lights, or are they likely to fall off the edge into the orchestra pit? If they aren't ready for part of the audience to heckle, then they probably want to reconsider their activism.

Originally posted to steve davis on Tue May 29, 2007 at 05:46 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site