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The Tentacle


August 24, 2005

Cindy Sheehan’s Texas Quagmire

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Just when you thought that Dr. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was one fry short of a happy meal, in walks – stage left, way-left – Cindy Sheehan to super-size the totally bizarre state of political discourse in our great country.

Former sports columnist Maureen Dowd wrote in her New York Times column on August 10 that Ms. Sheehan has the "moral authority" to protest.

Many will agree that Ms. Sheehan has certainly become an example of “moral relativism,” but “moral authority” has about as much to do with one’s right to protest as the fact there is an average of 178 sesame seeds on a McDonald's Big Mac bun. I’m feeling a little manipulated here.

We have, in our great country, the right to criticize and protest, whether justified by your “moral authority” or perhaps you are an anarchist on holiday, who tivos “Desperate Housewives” while you are away. Concurrently, I have a right to criticize you.

Unfortunately, Ms. Sheehan has become an American tragedy played out on media freak-show, uber-reality TV. And, just when you thought that the quagmire in Crawford story has explored all the dark crevices of satire and absurdity, things just get curiouser and curiouser.

In case, you've been on vacation since August 6, Ms. Sheehan is a 48-year-old Californian, whose 24-year-old son, Casey, an Army specialist, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. She met with President Bush shortly afterwards, along with 16 other families at Fort Lewis, WA, near Seattle.

Her hometown, Vacaville, CA, newspaper, The Reporter, wrote on June 24, 2004: "Sincerity was something Cindy had hoped to find in the meeting. Shortly after Casey died, Bush sent the family a form letter expressing his condolences, and Cindy said she felt it was an impersonal gesture. 'I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,' Cindy said after their meeting. 'I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.'"

Apparently, in the months after this meeting, the wheels came off the cart for Ms. Sheehan. According to an August 14 Boston Globe article, she engaged a political consultant and a team of public relations professionals and began "crisscrossing the country for more than a year demanding answers on why President Bush continues to wage what she calls an unjust war in Iraq."

The Globe further reports that she founded an antiwar organization, Gold Star Families for Peace; joined forces with CodePink, a women's antiwar organization; MoveOn.org; [and the New York Times]… "TrueMajority, an antiwar group founded by Ben Cohen… one of the creators of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, hired Fenton Communications, a Washington public relations firm that has worked intermittently with Sheehan over the past year to coordinate media coverage."

According to one website, it is rumored that even Barbra Streisand has been enlisted to help. Quintessentially, Ms. Streisand is perfect – as she is accomplished in arrogantly discussing issues for which she usually hasn’t a clue, but she’s angry about it.

On August 6, Ms. Sheehan, arrived at President Bush's Crawford ranch and engaged an entrenched enemy, without an exit strategy, to rage at everything, anything, and George W. Bush. She told Veterans for Peace’s Mike Ferner, "That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war... You get that maniac out here to talk with me in person. Bush needs to tell me why my son died in Iraq. I've got the whole month of August off, and so does he."

Gee, I wonder why President Bush won't give her an appointment?

At this point, Ms. Sheehan’s "moral authority" has evaporated into a proxy opportunity for MoveOn.org to use the grieving mother of a slain soldier for cheap political gain. "She's like a herald, waking everybody up," said Tom Matzzie, the Washington director for MoveOn.org.

She has discredited herself and an otherwise, compelling and persuasive expression of grief, for which she has earned the "moral authority" to express in the loss of her son, but she lost me when she got together with the Hollywood moonbats and Michael Moore.

No word yet as to whether or not Sen. John “Chickenhawk” Kerry will make a cameo appearance and throw Cindy Sheehan’s son’s medals over a wall.

As for Maureen Dowd's sense of "moral authority," you can read the web as well as I can, but apparently there has developed a great deal of controversy over what Ms. Sheehan has said and hasn't said; and it doesn't sound like the words of any "moral authority" I would like to recognize.

Prophetic moments like: "her son died for Israel;" or "[h]e died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East." Or - "Protesting is not enough! We must take radical action against the fascists in our own country! Bring it down! Bring it all down!" How about: "You killed my son, George Bush... needs to be tried on war crimes and go to jail."

She's starting to make even Jane Fonda sound reasonable.

Finally, Cindy Sheehan is quoted as saying, "Now I know how Mickey Mouse feels at Disneyland." What was that all about? Perhaps in order to understand this profound quote, we need a moonbat decoder ring. I think they sell them on MoveOn.org. I am not sure what President Bush ever did to Mickey Mouse, but now even I want to meet with the president.

The blogswarm over "the truth we're hearing might not be the truth we think it is" indicates one thing for sure; she's bankrupted her “moral authority” start-up capital. If she is the product of the best and the brightest Democratic political and public relations handlers, civil, reasonable and necessary public discussion in America has reached a dangerous new low and for that we can all be morally offended.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org



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