Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Faces of Protest - then and now

photo credit above left: AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

These are the faces of protest – war protest. On the left, a recent associated press photograph of Cindy Sheehan at a press conference. On the right, a now famous photograph of shooting at a Kent State protest of the Viet Nam War. The faces are decades apart, but the cause is the same. They protested wars that were started by evil men. Like the old adage about history, it seems that human beings are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over, and over again, endlessly.

Remember Ms. Sheehan? I certainly do. This is the woman who protested the War in Iraq “outside the president’s Texas ranch” for 26 days in August 2005 – a protest that eventually reached 300 people. But to say it was “outside the presidents home” is misleading. They were not allowed to get closer than one mile away from George W’s home. On February 2006 she was arrested for having the audacity to wear a T-shirt in the galley of the U.S. House of Representatives that read “2,245 Dead. How many more?" at the George W’s State of the Union address. The House rules, it seems, disallows protests in the gallery. We wouldn’t want the president reminded of the some of the deaths he was busy telling us what a great job he was doing now would we?

The Viet Nam war ended with the withdrawal of the troops by Richard “peace with honor” Nixon – but only after America was forced out of Viet Nam. What will it take to get America out of the War that the president started this time?

In the mean time, Ms. Sheehan has ended her efforts at ending the war. I can understand why. As Ms. Sheehan herself put it:

“I have been wondering why I’m killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush.” – Cindy Sheehan.

She said it best, perhaps, in what she called a “resignation letter” in her online diary:

“Good-bye American…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you that country unless you want it. It’s up to you now.” – Cindy Sheehan.

Sadder still, is the fact that no matter how much Americans my want the war to stop. No matter how many Americans DEMAND it. It is not up to just us. That is because we have leaders that are no longer have a government “by the people, for the people, and of the people” as Abraham Lincoln once put it. We have a government by a handful of powerful people who represent their own interests only. Those people are known by the initials G.O.P. I hope, I pray, that there is a way to remove the troops sooner than an anticipated removal of Republican Politicians in 2008.


Dan in Tx said...

Hi Julie! I've posted on your blog a few times. You know me believe it or not (hint: I recently asked you a lot of questions about Buddhist beliefs regarding reincarnation).

Speaking as a man who spent some time in the U.S. Army with many uncles, great uncles, cousins, and father who were also soldiers at some point, I would just like to share my take on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Should we have gone into Aghanistan? Definitely! I firmly believe that there'd have been more planes flown into buildings if we hadn't. Should we have gone into Iraq? No.

I firmly believe that, now that we ARE in Afghanistan and Iraq, we are obligated to stay as long as we have to in order to fix our mess. We've destabilized the region. Iraq is fully incapable of governing itself right now- if we pull out without leaving a strong government behind, there will be civil war with no bounds, ten times worse than it is now! I've heard a few people say that Iran would fill the gap if we left, but I don't think Iran would even be able to fix things.

As ugly as it is, we must stay until our mistakes are rectified. The last hundred years has proven that us Americans learned our lesson on September 1, 1939. We learned then that we cannot destroy an enemy and then leave them to rot. We will only fight them again later. We rebuilt Germany, we rebuilt Japan, we rebuilt Korea.

Better 4,000 or even 40,000 of our soldiers, trained and paid to fight and die, than 400,000 more Iraqi civilians if nobody is there to keep the peace.

Sr.Julie said...

While I can't say I agree with everything you say I understand how you feel. For myself, and the standpoint of Buddhist Nun, who is also Christian, all life is precious. For me, and my path to God, I will quote the Angel in the Movie "prophecy" who says simple, "Sometimes you just have to obey"