Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Asked and answered: Clarifications on Cindy Sheehan

All of the responses I've given over email and on here summarized in one big post.

1. I do not support the war. I don't like protests and even I marched against it. That having been said, I think Sheehan's insistance that we pull out immediately is naive. I also basically support Isreal as an imperfect copy of Democracy in a very un-Democratic region of the world. Other than that, as far as I've read, she and I are more or less on the same page.

2. Yes, what happened is awful. Were she my friend bitching to me across my kitchen table, I would totally be there for her and not criticise anything she had to say. But she has deliberately chosen to become a political symbol. In criticizing her, I am taking her seriously.

2.5 Her marital problems and changing opinins are irrelevant to her message. Her lying to CNN about the email is only relevant as evidence that she may not be the great symbol for us that we want her to be.

3. The "being the mother of a soldier gives her special wisdom" card that people keep playing is a very dangerous one for the democrats to use. Let's not kid ourselves, most soldiers grow up in families that have the sort of values that produce soldiers. Those families are mostly Republican. Trust me, there's an even more sympathetic mother with a son who, say, died a hero saving his buddies, with pro-war views waiting in the wings for the right moment. The more liberals say "But she lost a son, she has moral authority,"the more we set the stage for her.

4. What I object to about Sheehan is her tactics. She is using emotion rather than reason and more importantly using religion as a political weapon. When the president wouldn't meet with her, changing her demands to asking him to pray with her was tactically very clever. It has gotten worldwide attention. The press has gotten across the "President won't pray with the mother of a dead kid" message very well. But I object to her using religion to score political points and beat up the president. Yes, the President does the same thing. Nearly this entire blogosphere objects when that happens. We should be objecting when our side does it, too. It's wrong.

5. To over-simplify, Anti-Semetism is being against Jews. (Yes, I know that "semite" can mean Arab. But we're going with the commonly-understood definition and I said I was oversimplifying.) Anti-Zionism is being against the idea that Isreal has the rights to the portion of the Middle East that they want.

6. Yes, I've seen the "Cindy Sheehan is a prophet" post. I don't consider her a prophet because so much of what she has to say on the "Who cares about the Iraqis and the Israelis? Just bring the Americans home!" front is so very shortsighted, which is the opposite of what I think a prophet typically is.

But let's assume for a moment that she is a prophet. From what I've read about prophets, most of them are not ready for primetime politically. She's already lied to Anderson Cooper about an anti-Zionist conspiracy to rewrite her email to Nightline, again, a story that would have been more believable if she hadn't sent several copies of the email out.

If we want to treat her like a prophet and learn from her, OK.

But we should not be confusing her with a Messiah, and I think that's what we're doing.



Jesus Reyes said...

5. You make a pivotal distinction. Anti-zionism does not equal anti-semitism (nor does anti-Sharonism). Many nutjobs are anti-zionists, not all anti-zionists are nutjobs. I see nothing in her letter that sounds like she is anti-zionist or a nutjob. Anti-zionists include, among others, Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Ghandi, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Norman Finkelstein, Uri Avnery and the Naturei Karta. The Jews on this list are labeled “self loathing” and the others anti-semitic by the same people who are working overtime to orchestrate the smear Sheehan campaign. This is merely the first shot in their propaganda campaign and other techniques such as transfer and association are in the works

3. Having been in the army during the Vietnam conflict, I didn’t see many republican, or middle-class soldiers. Most came from lower class backgrounds and were just looking for a way up or a way out or just couldn’t afford the educational deferment. I don’t see this army as much different. Of course, Rove can produce whatever he wants, Fox will put it on and we will immediately believe it. For once Rove has to compete with an effective voice from the other side.

1. Some would say that democracy is where everyone gets to vote, not just the Mormons or southern Baptists.

I realize that I havent addressed your central point. I enjoy your blog.

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