There will be some who purposely “misunderstand” what I
am about to write. I say this with absolute certainty because
others who have written of Cindy Sheehan have suffered the same
fate. I’m doing it anyway because I accept the fact that my
opinions are fair game for criticism and because Sheehan is not
really the point of my comments.
Few can not feel Sheehan’s pain over the loss of her son
Casey, a soldier killed in Iraq in April 2004. Sheehan grieved in
relative solitude until beginning a protest at President Bush’s
Crawford, Texas home that has drawn national and international
attention. A media star now, she has expanded her demands from a
second meeting with the president to calls for his impeachment, the
withdrawal of Israel from former Palestinian territories, and a
pledge not to pay her federal taxes.
My own son has begun the process of joining the
military, a decision that pits the patriot in me against the
father. I support him for a variety of reasons but the very real
possibility of his loss is sobering. Having a son who plans to
enlist is a far cry from losing one in war but accusations that
those who are critical of Sheehan’s activism are not sensitive to
her personal loss are absurd.
Her critics include her family. In a press release
dated August 11, 2005, “Casey Sheehan’s grandparents, aunts, uncles
and numerous cousins” publicly refuted her views, a fact barely
mentioned by a media that prefers to imply Sheehan’s critics are
unfeeling at best and right-wing extremists at worst.
Yet while Sheehan has only recently burst onto the
national scene, the Crawford campout is not her first brush with the
press. After a condolence meeting with President Bush in June 2004,
she was interviewed by The Reporter, a newspaper based in Sheehan’s
hometown of Vacaville, California. At that time Sheehan said of
President Bush, “I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for
the Iraqis. I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss.
And I know he’s a man of faith.”
The Reporter article said “For a moment, life returned
to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and
bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.” Sheehan gushed
“That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of
That’s a far cry from her story today. In August she
told CNN the president treated the meeting like “a party” and
claimed “He wouldn’t look at the pictures of Casey … He didn’t even
know Casey’s name. He didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t want to
hear anything about Casey.” She says she now wants to ask why we
went to war.
What happened? It’s simple: Media that didn’t give two
hoots about Cindy Sheehan or her son when she supported the
president are giving her the rock star treatment now that – and
because – she doesn’t.
Speaking of rock stars, consider the Rolling Stones (or
“Strolling Bones” as one wag called them). While the social
security-aged rockers get plenty of coverage for being ancient guys
who tour the world crooning ancient tunes, when was the last time
you heard anything about a new Stones song? Yet “Sweet Neo Con,” a
clear attack on the president despite Mick Jagger’s denial, has
drawn the geezers the most press coverage they’ve had since Ed
Sullivan made them change the lyrics to “Let’s Spend the Night
If there is a difference between Cindy Sheehan and the
Rolling Stones it is that Sheehan has become a tool of media bias
while the Stones are simply using it. In both cases, the bias is
the real story. Cindy and Mick are just sideshows.