Success is shown in the great numbers of Americans who have supported you and your efforts since we first uttered to a friend, a colleague, a family member, "Hey, did you hear about the woman whose son was killed in Iraq? She’s camping outside Bush’s ranch in Texas. Yea, she wants to ask the president for what noble cause did her son die…that’s a damn good question."
In the summer of 2005, success might have been measured by President Bush taking a break from clearing brush to answer the simple question of a mother whose beloved son was killed in his "noble" war.
Instead, success was determined by the thousands upon thousands of supporters who traveled from all over the country, the world, to a small town called Crawford helping to ignite the anti-war movement in this country.
When evidence first trickled in that the attack and occupation of Iraq was based on lies and intelligence "fixed" around the policy, when our government abandoned habeas corpus, engaged in extraordinary rendition and torture, when countless Americans fell victim to illegal wiretapping and the media looked the other way, you were there to shine light on it.
Success might have been measured by the impeachment and removal of those responsible for these crimes against humanity and our Constitution. By joining with thousands of Americans who refused to tolerate these egregious acts you were successful in helping to awaken, energize and give hope and direction to millions of people.
When you refused to play the game and fearlessly confronted "non-Republican" leaders, you were chastised and abandoned by those who had used you for their own gain. Instead of shrinking away, you stood tall and you were successful in taking control of your own destiny.
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to abide by her sworn oath to defend and protect the Constitution at least in part to cover her own criminal trail, you were successful in becoming the sixth person in the history of California to qualify as an independent on a congressional ballot in order to challenge her.
In turn, you inspired everyday citizens to throw their hats in the ring, to declare this the year they would stop responding to fear and vote for a third party candidate who actually represented their views. Through your courage and at times unconventional ways, you reminded us what a real democracy looks like.
Throughout the campaign process you and your staff were victims of harassment, the breaking and entering of your campaign office and theft. You were forced to run a challenge against an opponent too afraid to face you for a single debate and a press that chose to act as pawns of the powers that be rather than as champions of a free nation. But, like so many times before you weathered the storm. In the end, you earned a respectable showing against a powerful politician wedded to a corrupt establishment.
In an age where people demand immediate gratification or else they bail, you showed that no great change can come by giving in to those who would divide, by backing off when confrontation is what is in order, or by trading integrity for approval.
Congratulations Cindy on successfully speaking truth to power, for enduring when others would cave, and for demonstrating that from the deepest depth of despair we can rise up and realize our strength and with it help change the world.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood and Cindy Sheehan (photo by Cheryl Biren-Wright)
As evidenced by the shirt Cindy wore in the summer of 2007 in Philadelphia on her Journey for Humanity tour, Americans have some unfinished business that needs tending.