A Mother’s Eyes

There has been a good conversation going on over at Tripp’s blog about Camp Casey in Crawford, TX.

For those who do not know about it, Cindy Sheehan is a mother of a KIA soldier in Iraq, Casey. She is staging a sit in at President Bush’s Crawford ranch. She just want to meet with the president one on one to ask him some very important questions. “What is the nobel cause my son (our kids) died for?” and “Why did you kill my son?” She believes that the war is illegal and immoral…which it is.

She is the new face of the anti-war movement. Not the long haired radicals, but the sad eyes of a mother who lost a child for no good reason.

The discussion over at Tripp’s turned to the effectiveness of such a protest. He see no use in it because the president will never meet with her, and even if he did would not take anything she said to heart…so why do it? This, I believe, is a short sited and lazy way to look at protest. (Tripp is far from lazy, but this argument is.)

I, on the other hand, believe what is going on is Crawford is one of the best things that has happened for the anti-war movement. I know, too, that President Bush will not meet with Cindy. I know that if he did he would sweep it under the rug. I have seen her being smeared by the right wing pundit class who know how to fight a war eventhough they have never been. I have seen her refute those smears with grace and love. Here is an example of an exchange that happened the other day as reported by Jodie Evans at CodePink:

The first question of the morning pool came from a young soldier who had just returned from Iraq. He was polite, addressing her as Ms. Sheehan. Surrounded by cameras he told her he was sorry for her son’s death, he said he had lost many friends in the Iraq War also. “Death is a part of war and what we are doing is more important, bringing freedom to the world. Think of all the people who died for the freedom we enjoy. So your son’s life is just a drop in the bucket.”

Those of us standing behind the cameras gasp, but Cindy’s face continued to listen to him calmly and openly. Forced by the gasp he quickly said “but I feel for your son.”

At this moment Cindy put her arm on his shoulder and holding him to her side they walked out into the field together, she asked the press to give them some privacy. They honored her in a way that I have never seen before, they were still shooting photos as the 2 walked away. Cindy drew the young man close like a mother, they spoke for about 5 minutes during which the shift in his feeling was palpable. He stepped away and pulled a book he had written about his experiences in Iraq and gave it to her. Then they hugged a long deep embrace, you could see the conversation continuing.

She walked back towards us and the press as he left. Yet again, this woman had made me cry with her strength her love and her courage (oh I forgot to mention everyone else in the camp had tried to keep this young man from confronting her). As we walked back to our make shift office in Casey’s camper I was pouring my heart out in awe of her, she stopped me and said “do you know what that young man said as we were hugging? He said his mother agrees with me. She told him that if he had been killed in Iraq she would have done the same thing …and then he called me Mom.”

This is the new face of the anti-war movement.

But, why do I think this protest is a good thing. I see something happening that has not happened since the war began. I see people talking about it. Really talking about it, not just lip service. No, I see and hear people talking about the wast of life. I see right wing people look begining to take off the rose colored glasses. I see the left wing people opening their arms and hugging those who need it. It see the middlle of the road people discussing it. This is what the protest is doing now. These discussions will come up again in 2006 when people go to the polls to elect members of congress. Remeber, the civil rights movement grew out of people in Motgomery, Alabama just wanting to change the way segregated seating was handled on the busses (not get rid of segregated seating, just change the was the ruels were enforced), but it grew from there to fighting for de-segrated seating to the voting rights act.

Ms. Sheehan is changing the direction of the wind. Something that has needed to be done for a long time.


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