09 July 2007

I thought she retired

Allow me to just go ahead and jump into the chorus of people laughing at Cindy Sheehan's announcement that she'll (maybe) challenge Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress in 2008.

Now let me take a moment to prove my bona fides here. I'm just about as anti-Iraq War as they get, and I'll gladly point out the various reasons why that effort was and is both illegal and unethical. I'm not yet a pacifist, but a Quaker education and a degree in peace have pushed me markedly in that direction. Nevertheless, I have a long-standing (though rarely mentioned) beef with Cindy Sheehan (not that I've ever met her).

Plenty of people have gone on about how she's unqualified for this and that, how she takes overly simplistic positions on incredibly complex subjects, etc. I'll leave those arguments to their merits (or lack thereof).

My thing is this. Cindy Sheehan is far too possessive of the "parent of an Iraq War service personnel killed in action" mantel. I hear her story about her son's service and her grief at his loss and it is truly heartbreaking, and certainly one I empathize with. However, through her things like setting up Camp Casey and naming every soldier and marine that's fallen and claiming that they died in vain, she's disrespecting the memories of those individuals. I won't tell her how she should remember her son or what she should feel about his loss. But she shouldn't go around telling the other parents/loved ones to be enraged. Some parents/spouses/children of deceased Iraq veterans believe that their family's victim in the war died honorably, in an honorable cause. No matter how much Cindy Sheehan, or anyone else, feels about the war and its consequences, absolutely no one has the right to challenge people in their grieving. Sheehan should have respected the wishes of those families who did not want their loved one's names displayed at Camp Casey (and elsewhere) and who did not want to be connected with the message she was conveying. She simply cannot rightly claim ownership over and complete understanding of every single U.S. military death in Iraq or Afghanistan, and her claim to speak for all war-dead parents is totally unfounded. It's painfully disrespectful and frankly rude.

Now my faith in any elected representative is virtually nil, and my trust of them is even less existent. This definitely means I don't really like any of them. Nonetheless, I truly wish Speaker Pelosi the best in a potential campaign against Cindy Sheehan. Besides, I thought Sheehan was supposed to have bowed out of public life by now.

No comments: