29 May 2007

Eleventh Tuesday Topic

Cindy Sheehan, perhaps the most famous personality in the effort to end the Iraq War in America, announced yesterday that she is leaving the peace movement.

She cites extreme disillusionment with both American politicians and the peace movement in general, as well as personal exhaustion and strife, as her reasons for the departure.

What do you think of this decision and its reasoning?

What impact, if any, do you think her announcement will have on the peace movement?

What parts, if any, of her frustration do you relate to?



At 30 May, 2007 05:24 , Red Valley said...

I've already posted the bulk of my thoughts on this subject on my blog, but just to comment on the affect this will have on the peace movement, I fear it will discourage some. Cindy was an inspiration to me and many others seeking to help make a better world. That news came for me less than 24 hours after I lost a close personal friend, so, for me, it was not a timely point at which to lose such an inspiration as her to forfeiture. In all honesty, I relate to her frustrations, but when I look at polls and talk to people today, I find reason for hope more so than ever in my personal memory. People are genuinely wanting a better world today, and part of that is clearly an end to the Iraq War, as recent polls show anywhere in the range of two-thirds to four-fifths of the public opposes the war. That's record opposition, folks! Peace has clearly gained credibility from the early days of the war when only 19% opposed. The fact of the matter is that, simply put, our government as a whole does not reflect the views and wishes of the American public (yet, for some reason, we consider it a democracy). But I have never seen in my (admittedly short) lifetime such a hunger for peace, environmental justice, or progress in general as I do today. The polls show that people are taking the progressive stances on just about all issues on which they are polled. That's reason for hope! So I sincerely hope that others will not despair as unfortunately one of the peace movements brightest stars has. As Gandhi said, when he felt like despairing, he recounted that, in the end, the side of right has ALWAYS won out in the end throughout history. If the laws of history apply, ultimately we in the peace movement will prevail. It is simply a matter of when and how.

But I do want to also touch on Cindy's expression of frustration about the partisan nature of criticism today. I agree with her completely. Today, it is the norm to criticize the now-minority-in-both-chambers-of-Congress Republicans (unless of course, you work for the mainstream media), but I find that, if one holds Democrats to the same standards, suddenly the criticism turns on you. We do not need a Democratic nation folks (as last week's war vote should have clearly demonstrated), we need a progressive nation. If that means voting Green next year, then that's what it means. If the Democratic Party won't take a stand for peace or justice, then let me suggest that the Democratic Party is then simply another vehicle of the capitalist class, like the GOP. We cannot exchange our conscience for "electability." We've been doing that for 15 years now (at least) and look where it's gotten us? I think the war, health care, and global climate change will be issues number 1, 2, and 3 next year, and that should signify the "electability" of people with committed positions on these matters. We need to be willing to hold both of the major political parties to the same standard instead of giving carte blanch to the Democrats to do as they wish simply because they are not Republicans. If we elected Democrats to end the war and they instead did the opposite and willingly kept it going, they should lose our votes and our support.

At 30 May, 2007 09:45 , John Lloyd said...

It's great to see that you're supporting 1000000 blogs for peace!


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