Sheehan Ends Protest

Cross-posted from PoliBlog:

Via the BBC: US anti-war mother ends protest

Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved mother who became a figurehead for the US anti-war movement, is abandoning her fight after growing disenchanted with the campaign.

She has camped outside President Bush’s ranch since 2005, demanding a meeting over the death of her son in Iraq.

But announcing the end of her campaign, she also hit out at Democrats and anti-war campaigners who put “personal egos above peace and human life”.

She said she had sacrificed her health, her marriage and her finances.

In a letter on the Daily Kos website titled Good Riddance Attention Whore – a reference to the abuse she says she has suffered, Ms Sheehan said: “I am going to take whatever I have left and go home.

The blog entry in question is here: “Good Riddance Attention Whore”.

The whole thing ends up being very sad, especially with statements like this:

I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings.

And, there is, of course, the death of Casey Sheehan in Iraq that started the whole situation.

The thing about this situation that I find especially tragic is that Ms. Sheehan not only lost a son, but seems to have damaged the rest of her family as well as a result. She had every right to do what she did, but I have long wondered about the choices that she made in the pursuit of her goals. Without getting into all the specifics of her time spent as a activist, let’s face facts: camping out in front of the President’s ranch was not an especially good use of her time or resources–even if she had managed to get a meeting with the President, what good would it have done in terms of her goals? It is possible to be a peace activist without sacrificing one’s marriage, one’s finances and time with one’s living children.

Her bitterness is understandable, but I can’t help but notice she did make her own choices. Like I said: a very sad situation.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. spacemonkey says:

    All tools wear out eventually.

  2. Triumph says:

    Without getting into all the specifics of her time spent as a activist, let’s face facts: camping out in front of the President’s ranch was not an especially good use of her time or resources—even if she had managed to get a meeting with the President, what good would it have done in terms of her goals?

    Yes, she just should have shut up instead of aiding the terrorists.

    This is more evidence that liberals like Sheehan are anti-family and horribly selfish, wanting government to solve all of their problems.

  3. Triumph,

    That wasn’t anywhere near what I said.

    My point is that there are more effective ways of taking one’s message to both the government and to one’s fellow citizens.

    Indeed, while I disagree with a great deal of what Sheehan said and did, I am trying to be respectful of her right to say and do as she did.

    Still, why is it illegitimate to point out that her means might have been ill-chosen?

    Are you really going to argue that bankrupting herself by staying at “Camp Casey” was the most effective way for her to protest the war? Do you think that if Bush had stopped to chat that it would have changed US policy? If anything “Camp Casey” was a poor strategic move as media attention would only emerge when Bush was in Crawford.

  4. Anderson says:

    The thing about this situation that I find especially tragic is that Ms. Sheehan not only lost a son, but seems to have damaged the rest of her family as well as a result. She had every right to do what she did, but I have long wondered about the choices that she made in the pursuit of her goals.

    Grief makes people do strange things. I have often wondered what my response would’ve been, had I lost a child in Iraq, and then seen the President do his “nope, no WMD’s under this table” skit. Probably something felonious.

  5. Triumph says:

    Are you really going to argue that bankrupting herself by staying at “Camp Casey” was the most effective way for her to protest the war?

    Political participation is multifaceted. Her goal was only secondary to actually meet with Bush. Her main function–whether this was intentional or not it unclear–was to illuminate the problematic nature of Bush’s war policy and his general shortcomings as a president.

    In that regard, I would argue that she has been pretty successful. She is part of a larger system of political dynamics that has helped bring public attention to Bush’s inadequacies.

    Without getting into all the specifics of her time spent as a activist, let’s face facts: camping out in front of the President’s ranch was not an especially good use of her time or resources—even if she had managed to get a meeting with the President, what good would it have done in terms of her goals?

    You could have said the same thing about the SNCC activists in the lunch-counter sit-ins during the 60s. Joseph McNeil and Izell Blair didn’t go to the Greensboro, NC Woolworths to get a milkshake!

  6. Eneils Bailey says:

    “Her bitterness is understandable,”

    Sure, it is understandable,the woman was a pawn of the left, driven and controlled by groups and people who saw her as a political statement, not a mother who lost a child.

    As in ” Texas Hold’em,” anyone who bets all their chips based on hoots and hollers from the gallery, while ignoring natural instincts is destined to walk off the floor a loser.

  7. Michael says:

    My point is that there are more effective ways of taking one’s message to both the government and to one’s fellow citizens.

    And those would be? Seriously, what has had any effect on this governments Iraq decision making so far?

  8. Triumph,

    Are you really going to argue that Sheehan has been as effective as the sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement?

    I would argue that is an empirically difficult position to defend.

    Further, are you going to tell me that she chose the most efficacious route to try and get her message out?

  9. Sadly, she needed help but what she got were cheerleaders and people who wanted to use her to further their own agendas. Now that she is used up let’s see how many of them stick around.

  10. Barry says:

    Steven Taylor:

    “Further, are you going to tell me that she chose the most efficacious route to try and get her message out? ”

    Well, what would have been more efficacious?

    I think that she did a lot, considering what she was up against.

  11. Anjin-San says:

    A very sad story, made more tragic by the fact that the President does not give a rat’s ass about what the American people think or feel about the war.

  12. William d'Inger says:

    Sheehan’s worth is fading fast. Her best option now would be to hire a ghost writer to do a quickie tell-all book and hopefully get it on the NYT’s best seller list during the final month of the ’08 campaign. That, a couple interviews on morning TV, a few book signings, and she walks off with a cool half million after expenses.