30 January 2006

An open letter to Cindy Sheehan

From the AP:
CARACAS, Venezuela - Cindy Sheehan, the peace activist who just announced that she is weighing a run for Senate, plans to protest again outside President Bush's Texas ranch, Venezuela's president said Sunday with Sheehan by his side.

Hugo Chavez, his arm around Sheehan's shoulders, told a group of activists that Sheehan had told him that during Holy Week, in April, "she is going to put up her tent again in front of Mr. Danger's ranch."

"She invited me to put up a tent. Maybe I'll put up my tent also," Chavez said, to applause from an audience invited to his weekly broadcast on the final day of the World Social Forum, an annual gathering of anti-war and anti-globalization activists.

Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004, thanked Chavez for "supporting life and peace" and she was impressed by his sincerity.

"He said, 'Why don't I run for president?'" she said. "I just laughed."
Sweet merciful Christ.

Don't get me wrong, Cindy, I like you. I'm 110% behind what you're trying to accomplish. You were asking some hard questions that desperately needed to be asked, and (despite some people's efforts to the contrary) your unfortunate status as the mother of a soldier killed in action in El Presidente's war gave you an unassailable credibility many war opponents lack or find easily stripped by the GOP noise machine.

But standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Hugo Chavez?

As amused as I was watching him stick it to Big Oil for rights to drill in Venezuela, I'm not sure the O'Reilleys and Hannitys of the world could have dreamed of a better image to use for the "puppet of the radical left," accusation they tried to smear you with. You may have started as one mother looking for answers, but, like it or not, those days are far behind you. Intentional, or not, thrust upon you, or not, your story has made you "someone," now. You have a voice, the likes of which, most of us could never hope to have.

And, though it's cliche, that brings with it responsibility.

No one naturally knows how to deal with that sort of thing, and you're no exception. You don't have to be a puppet to benefit from some guidance in the role in which you've found yourself. But that guidance has to be carefully sought, as well. That said, you have to see that this latest meeting/photo op was some bad counsel. Cindy, if you believe in the goals youve stated, you've got to be smarter about how you pursue them. There are people all over this country that believe in you and what you're working for, but there are some places they won't follow. If any answers are to be had for your son, you need them and they need you. Unfortunately, there are people who'd stop you every step of the way.

Don't make it easier for them.

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