Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cindy Sheehan quits the cause

Cindy Sheehan, known mostly as the face of the anti-war movement, is quitting the cause due to a variety of reasons, among them a despondency over the effectiveness of her anti-war efforts in particular, as well as the anti-war movement in general.

Among her statements, she made some that were obviously heartfelt, even though they were a bit misguided. While Sheehan's statements were heartfelt, I think she is doing herself and her son a disservice by stating that her son "died for nothing". That's a terrible way to view her son's death. I am not a parent, so I can't say that I know what it's like to lose a child, but her son went into the military fully aware of the possible consequences of serving in the military.

Dying in battle, in other words, is a very real possibility. That's something that, not only the military person who signed up accepts, but so do the loved ones - or at least they should in theory. Stating that Casey - Sheehan's son - died in vain shows that she's thinking more of herself and her own pain rather than seeing the big picture, which is understandable, since this is her son that we're talking about here, but her view that her son's death was senseless really needs to be put in perspective.

One of Sheehan's lamentations about her son's death is that "I have tried every (day) since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives."

This sounds much like she expects a country that is perfect. There are no perfect countries. There never have been, nor will there ever be. So long as countries are run by imperfect human beings, there will always be imperfect countries. However, the U.S. remarkable in so many ways that it is singularly unique in human history. Despite the many disputes and disagreements, we can settle on actions without going to arms against each other (the Civil War being the exception, of course). We are not ruled by a monarchy nor a tyrant. Even Hugo Chavez can't run Venzuela without controlling and even censoring that country's press.

But we have freedom of speech and freedom of the press here. We have freedom of worship and freedom to gather into like-minded groups. We have so many freedoms in this country that so many countries do not. Some countries may have some of our freedoms while others have other freedoms, but few, if any, have the number of freedoms that we have. Yes, we have our faults. We always will. We'll never be perfect, but we'll always try to be better. That's probably our greatest strength.

So Casey Sheehan fought for the rights and freedoms that the rest of us enjoy. He fought for the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship and of all the other freedoms that we enjoy. He fought for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He fought for our right to vote. He also fought for those who care more for who wins American Idol than about current news events. Such people come with the country. He had to fight for all of us, not just some of us, or he wouldn't have served his role as one of our nation's soldiers. He did not die in vain - rather, he died in the role that he went into serving.

I can certainly sympathize for Cindy Sheehan. I feel for her, and I know that she is going through a great deal of pain that I have never gone through. But she has some issues to work out, and I think stepping out of the anti-war movement is probably a good start. On her blog, she mentioned getting back to her life and back to her other children. Casey is not with her anymore, but her other children still are. They still need their mother, and in truth, she needs them.

As hard as this is going to be, she needs to let Casey go. She needs to come to terms with his loss, which she hasn't yet, based on all that we've seen from her since she became a public persona. There is bitterness in her words, and that needs to be dealt with as well. Her son did not die in vain - far from it, actually. I hope she can accept that one day. In the meantime, she needs to reconnect with her surviving children. Maybe, all together, they can help come to terms with Casey's absence. Now Cindy Sheehan needs our prayers that she will let go of her bitterness before it consumes her. She took an important step by stepping down. I hope she can follow through.

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