JAZZMAN CHRONICLES: DISSEMINATE FREELY.
Dying in Vain: A Mother Plants the Staff
By Jack Random
Cindy Sheehan has gone home to care for her ailing mother. She has left behind a legacy of truth. She has given rebirth to a movement rich in truth, strong in moral righteousness, but struggling to maintain its balance and unity. She has asked the questions that many have asked before her but while our voices have been lost in a sea of media confusion, hers has registered clearly from sea to shining sea.
How many have given their lives to support the proposition that dying in an immoral war is not dying in vain? Not if you persevere? Not if you win? At last, the Nazi analogy is wholly appropriate. If the Third Reich had prevailed, would German soldiers not have died in vain? If not, then how can our persistence in an unholy war sanctify the blood of our fallen soldiers?
I have news for all of you who have questioned the character and derided the integrity of Cindy Sheehan: Every soldier who has lost his and her life in this war has died in vain. The fact that we initiated this war means that every soldier who lost his life in Vietnam also died in vain. We were supposed to have learned the error of our ways. We were supposed to have corrected our course. We were supposed to have sworn never again to fight an unjustified, immoral war, a war of choice, and a war of imperial ambition against indigenous peoples. Instead, we appear to have learned nothing and therefore our soldiers have died in vain.
How many clichés can be thrown at a wary public to justify the next soldier’s death? My country, right or wrong! Love or leave it! These colors do not run!
How many soldiers must die for the incredible incredulity of the American people? How many must die because the president projects a good old boy image and walks with bowed legs though I reckon he has ridden a horse no more than his silver spoon associates. How many must die for the Hollywood images of Duke Wayne, Rambo and Arnold Schwarzenegger? How many must die so that we can continue to pretend that we are the chosen, the master nation, the exception to all rules of international law and common decency?
Cindy Sheehan is hardly a wild-eyed radical. She is a grieving mother who has chosen to plant the staff. She is the darkest nightmare of both major parties though the Democrats shamelessly exploit her cause without embracing her singular demand: an end to the occupation now! She will not compromise. She will not yield to those supposedly “wiser” and more knowledgeable than herself – those who can spin a few rationalizations to justify another thousand or two thousand American lives. She wants our soldiers to come home and she holds to that simple message no matter how hard the pundits and pretenders push and prod.
The media are beside themselves trying to understand how one woman can possess such power of persuasion. Silver spooner Anderson Cooper of CNN and the house of Vanderbilt thought he had a scoop when he “reported” (paraphrase): I asked her if she was a radical and she said, “I guess I am.” The scoop is nobody cares. Your little labels no longer work the charm they used to work. She is a woman with something real to say and that has become the rarest of all commodities on the airwaves.
Cindy Sheehan is not saying anything that thousands have said often and repeatedly since the war drums began pounding on the twelfth of September 2001 but, for the first time, the crowd we could never reach (the barbecue crowd, the tailgaters, the NASCAR fans, the six-pack after church crowd, on and on) has finally begun to listen.
If you will not listen to a grieving mother, you are beyond redemption – and you are in need of redemption more than you can imagine. Ignorance has never been a very potent excuse for immorality but in the age of information, it is clearly deliberate and intentional. If Dante’s hypothesis is correct, there is a place in the lower depths for such as you.
One wonders what son Casey would think of his mother’s stand. He was after all a volunteer. If he felt even marginally as I do about my mother, whether or not he agrees with her, his heart is teeming with love and pride.
It is a hard and painful thing to accept that your child has given his life in a cause that is both false and malicious. We can only hope that it is not in vain if it helps to bring the war and the occupation to an end.
If you sincerely wish to support our soldiers, caught in the vice grip of political malfeasance, take a vow for the coming election: Vote only for candidates who are sworn to bring our soldiers home – not tomorrow, not a year from now, but today.
Listen to the mothers. Listen to their voices and gaze into their eyes. The warlords of the White House may try to recruit their own mothers to the cause of war but the fire that resides in Cindy Sheehan’s soul will be missing. You can buy or find almost anything (including a spokesperson for any cause) but you cannot buy passion, sincerity or a mother’s love.
Cindy Sheehan is the real thing and all of us should be eternally grateful.