"Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away"~~Robert Fulghum
Sheehan March for Peace Crawford, TX August 6, 2006 by REUTERS/Jason Reed
Today I got some bad news. Apparently, my father in law's health necessitates him to undergo open heart surgery soon. Upon hearing this, my mind immediately flooded with images -- memories of my own father on an ICU ventilator immediately following his triple bypass, the visual of my mother-in-law's concerned face and wringing hands as I imagined she looked when she heard the news.
With these images rushing through my brain, the date of Pop's upcoming surgery on April 4 haunted me. What's April 4? What's so special about April 4, I kept asking myself. I looked at my calendar and the day was absolutely blank. It was no one's birthday, I had made no plans for April 4, and nothing was going on that day.
Later, after visiting Cindy Sheehan's Facebook page, the significance of the date suddenly dawned on me. For it was on April 4, 2004, that Casey Sheehan, son of Cindy Sheehan, was killed in the war on Iraq. A fan and supporter of Cindy all these years, I pondered the coincidence of my husband's father being scheduled for major, life-saving surgery on the anniversary of Casey Sheehan's death.
For an individual to attach such significance to the memory of a particular date is telling. Normally, the human mind can recall certain big "red letter" days associated with major milestones, anniversaries, and birth days of our loved ones and dearest friends. The fact I remembered April 4 was significant -- a sure and certain indication that peace-loving America is caught up in a love affair of Cindy Sheehan and her relentless mission to turn the concept of peace into reality.
Yet what makes Cindy Sheehan different than countless other anti-war activists? Certainly other American mothers and fathers have lost sons and daughters in continuous US combat since 9/11. But how many women or men have dropped everything -- and I do mean everything -- to do what they know in their hearts is the right thing to do, leaving family and marriages behind in order to set up camp in the blazing hot summer sun in Crawford, Texas? How many men or women can we think of willing to give up their soft, cozy beds and modern facilities to pee in buckets -- simply for the opportunity to yell into bullhorns, demanding an answer to the singular question of the Head War-Maker-in-Chief: why did their son or daughter have to die for a lie?
When they made Cindy Sheehan they threw away the mold. Recognizing her capacity to expose the corrupt system and the threat she presented to the imperialists, the powers that be eventually gave the order to turn off the microphone and put an end to Sheehan's mainstream media coverage. Quite justified in their fear of Sheehan's formidable power, the press went missing once she started exposing the Donkey Party as equally complicit in the heinous war crimes being committed against humanity.
Current mainstream media notwithstanding, Cindy Sheehan never threw in the towel. Thus, millions all the world over still admire and revere Cindy Sheehan as the bright, sharp-tongued, outspoken woman who put a face on opposition to US wars of the 21st Century. From initial efforts to call out on the carpet Dubya and his genociding partners-in-crime, Sheehan took us to an even deeper level of understanding of the workings of the industrial-military machine which, in order to function, depends on keeping Americans in the dark. Yes, Cindy Sheehan not only became the woman we call "Peace Mom" -- but she boldly exposed the red vs. blue game being played, as if grand theater upon us, exposing our public servants as sociopaths masquerading as humans who make a good living deceiving us into believing democracy still exists -- that is, if it actually ever existed at all.
What, we may ask, makes Cindy Sheehan so brave? Apparently born with extra large cojones, Ms. Sheehan has fearlessly gone toe-to-toe with war makers who possess no conscience; spitting in the faces of those who perpetrate unspeakable war crimes and atrocities upon those who have done nothing to harm us. Yes, in the almost seven years since Casey Sheehan was murdered, his mother has courageously acted as America's unofficial Ambassador of Peace, a role she continues to this day, spreading the urgent message of waging peace throughout the world.
And try as I might, I am not able to recall even one single person who has worked so hard, spoken in front of so many people, and campaigned so tirelessly against a war-supporting Speaker-woman of plastic face. I'm also hard pressed to think of anyone who has written quite as much or as passionately, given the Empire hell on her own countless radio programs and others' shows, participated in so many anti-war protests, and rallied crowds of peace-wagers throughout the world. Why, America's Peace Mom even subjected herself to repeated incarcerations, out of an unwavering belief that saving young people from being butchered in war -- and preventing deaths of millions of innocents overseas was more than worth the degrading, invasive cavity searches she would be forced to undergo.
Yet, for all her years of hard work and the international recognition afforded her when the media was still covering the grieving mother openly denouncing the Executive Shrub, Cindy Sheehan's life hasn't exactly been a bed of White House Garden roses. Because, let's face it. There's just no money out there for peace activists who actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but -- and who can't be bought out for a fee.
In typical forthright fashion, earlier this week Cindy Sheehan announced to nearly 5,000 of her closest friends that she had a medical condition that required prompt attention, but possessed neither health insurance nor the funds to seek treatment at the local Emergency Room. Although many fans implored her to seek emergency medical treatment, ER visits are costly and Cindy Sheehan was not about to incur a bill she could not afford to pay.
Thinking about all this, it occurs to me that, although Cindy Sheehan has undergone tremendous sacrifice, perhaps we have not done enough to support our very own Peace Mom. After all, she has spent the last six years of her life as the very Face of the peace movement, living quite meagerly, making great sacrifices most of us will never even know. Now it's our turn not merely to say thank you, but to show our gratitude in a tangible way and support Cindy Sheehan in terms of dollars and cents. If we want our Peace Mom to stay strong and continue to fight alongside us in the ring, we must enable her to be able to continue waging the good fight that will help put an end, once and for all, to these endless, ruthlessly violent, unconscionable killing sprees overseas.
There are many ways to support Cindy Sheehan's work. She produces a weekly radio show that requires funding, and she's written several excellent books we can buy. And although many of us may not exactly be rolling around in extra cash, almost all can manage to scrape together a few bucks to support Cindy's work. Let's agree to bring our coffee from home (forgoing the Grande mocha lattes) and cook pasta for dinner (instead of dining out at restaurants where our Parmesan is grated for us at the table) and throw a few bucks Cindy Sheehan's way.
Now more than ever, it's imperative we continue to fight against these genocidal wars. And having an international spokesperson -- a compassionate human face, combined with a mother's heartfelt love for humanity -- is something -- or, rather, someone we absolutely must now all support.
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