on leeches, shame and humanity
I swore I wasn't going to do this. But I've never been one to heed my own warnings.
Let me start by saying that I do not agree with most of what Cindy Sheehan is saying. I agree with her right to say it, however, and I am not going to judge her because I've never had to deal with the grief of losing a child. Everyone grieves in their own way; perhaps this is Mrs. Sheehan's way of dealing with her loss.
What's making me sick about this whole public is mess is the way the zealots on either side are fighting over Sheehan's words and publicity like vultures on a meaty carcass.
The flesh-eating leeches of the left have glommed onto Sheehan's grief as if it were some magic potion that would miraculously make all their dreams of getting Bush out of the White House come true. She's their panacea, the be-all and end-all of publicity stunts, an icon ready made for media and the furthering of agendas. Sheehan is the savior of the anti-war cause. The only problem with being a savior is the likelihood that you'll end up dying on the cross they nailed you to. The anti-war drones are giving her the microphones and keyboards and public airwaves and you can bet that when the hoopla dies down and the situation's no longer the hot media story, Sheehan will be left hanging on that cross wondering where the hell her followers went. Why, they went to the Next Big Thing, Cindy. But thanks for pushing their plight to the forefront, for getting in your digs at Israel, for bandying about the "I" word (impeachment), for being a useful tool of the left wing propaganda machine.
And what about the right? Not content to sit back and let this just play itself out, not satisfied with letting the left do their own damage by making themselves out to be blood sucking leeches, the right wingers have to get in on the act, too. And they couldn't just attack the messages (get out of Iraq, get out of Israel, you killed my son, I sacrificed my son) - no, they had to attack Cindy Sheehan herself. I guess none of them ever stopped to think about the appearance of civility or how it looks to have your cause being furthered by also taking a woman's grief and using it to your advantage.
Is it really necessary to splash her divorce papers all over the internet? Is this anybody's business? No, her personal life is NOT fair game. Her family is not fair game. And as much as it takes enormous balls of steel for Sheehan herself to pen a diary at Kos entitled Leave My Family Alone when she's the one who brought this into the public eye, it takes a person with no semblance of common decency to start gloating over Sheehan's divorce as this proves something, somehow. Do you know how common it is for couples who have suffered the loss of a child to separate? Do you think this is some win on your part, something to high five each other about? Woohooo, a family is falling apart, another point for our side! That's sick. SICK. You're just another kind of leech.
I can't believe what I'm reading lately. From those who compare Sheehan to Rosa Parks, to those who are trying desperately to dig up sordid details of her family life; from those who don’t give an ounce of shit about Sheehan or her dead son except what they can do for the cause to those who dare to tell Sheehan how to - or how not to - express her grief and oh, those who show up to oppose Sheehan by holding up pictures of her son (talk about exploitation) and those who have in the past ridiculed soldiers and are now holding up Casey Sheehan as some kind of icon. My GOD. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
The war, the election, Schiavo; I thought all those things were going to be the event to break the chasm between left and right wide open. The past week or so has made me think that no, it's going to be this one woman and her dead son that does it. And then I have second thoughts about that, too. Maybe the Sheehan story and the resulting freak show of a circus that evolved from it will be the thing that makes people disavow the wingnuts on either side. Maybe it will make the more honest, the more sincere, the more intelligent among us disassociate ourselves from the fanatic fringes, from the zealots who think that everything is justified when it comes to furthering an agenda.
This rant is not about the war and I don't want to hear or read your responses if they are going to talk about an unjustified war. Nor is it about Israel or about Bush. It's about US. It's about bloggers and political followers and the media. It's about people with seemingly noble causes, people with voices who just want to be heard. That's all well and good. That's America, a place where Cindy Sheehan can say whatever the hell she wants and where you are free to refute her. And honestly, I'd rather listen to a thousand Cindy Sheehans rant about Israel and impeachment than not be allowed to listen to her at all. But look at how we are doing this. Look at where we've ended up.
Where the hell has our humanity gone?