Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

Dear Cindy Sheehan,

I am writing to offer an endorsement, and some information concerning you. I would not presume Free Soil is the first national party to offer to endorse you. I could understand why you wish to remain independent. As one rebellious woman to another, I know of the pitfalls and treachery of party politics, but I think Free Soil can be different, partly because my circle of friends revived it over thirty years ago. The blogger known as Heart, Cheryl Seelhoff, has volunteered to run for President, endorsed by the Feminist Peace Network as “a candidate for the rest of us.” That was the title of the announcement on the FPN blog last July . Her platform, a work in progress, is organized as a blog here

Regardless of all that, I wanted you to know Free Soil appreciates your efforts, valiantly fighting to stop the Bush agenda and this war that killed your son for no good reason. The opposition party refuses to take that role to heart. Big surprise, hardly. Democrats make an art of playing it safe, making big deals of minor points of difference, while leaving major points unchallenged, so the war goes on while Democrats think they score points by blaming it all on Bush and filibusters. One might think all this going on would make people mad enough to revolt, throw all the bums out, but there appears to be insufficient common ground to rally behind, so it appears people are complacent or resigned, at least to the eyes of pollsters and pundits. Some groups try to bring people together on this issue or that, putting pressure on legislators to pay attention, but on the surface there are so many problems, it seems impossible to make headway enough to pierce the armor of the system. The media creates the aura of invincibility and inevitability around the corporate empire, but the web is part of the media that is out of control, so women can try to show how we do not have to settle for the usual stuck in a rut male ways. The change Obama represents does not impress me. I suspect it means along the lines of working with Republicans to get things done, like the rotten compromises of constitutional principles in this FISA bill. Perhaps the grassroots will get to Democrats to make the bill unacceptable to Bush, removing the immunity provision at least, but I will not hold my breath. I hear rumors the immunity is only civil and would not hold up in criminal court, but that does not make sense to me.

Just a sample of my issues with that misnomer of an opposition party. As you may know, the old Randi Rhodes message board had a special Cindy Sheehan sub-forum, but her entire site, message board and all, was disappeared without explanation when she left Air America. I heard you on her show, kicking off your campaign against Impeachment Is Off The Table Speaker Pelosi. Friday June 20 she was incensed enough with the leadership over the immunity for illegal wiretaps the House approved to give you another plug. The next week someone on her board announced your Mike Malloy interview. I have been an infrequent, though perhaps notorious, poster there. My first post was to protest an infuriating oddity I found, a picture of you meeting with Larry Flynt, the caption announcing an exclusive interview and political alliance. I challenged this bogus image, a discussion about Mr. Flynt and his business ensued, and eventually the link to the image was broken, presumably by whoever contrived it.

In May Flynt phoned Ms. Rhodes privately, and she agreed to doing a story, with some reservations. She mentioned this on the air. This prompted a Randi Loves Porn thread in the Heard on the Show forum. I had to protest again, perhaps got some people to realize Mr. Flynt and the hardcore gang are peddling something other than erotic art. I had somehow missed that side of Randi Rhodes, hearing a different segment of the show after the local station moved her time slot to live. Some poster volunteered information about previous statements about her preferences, not hardcore. I have since learned she interviewed Flynt on air early this year. She has been alluding to starting a third party, when feeling especially sickened by the party bosses, which caught my attention, but I wish to keep at a distance uncritical fans of Obama or Flynt. I suspect both are up to no good, for different reasons.

Ms. Rhodes, though not entirely uncritical of Obama, has not paid any mind to my protests, unless I missed hearing it. This may be due to the infrequency of my posting, or the issues I raise may not interest her. The LA station was running a clip of her saying we can do nothing without one Democratic Party. She is sold on Obama, at least since March when she concluded his lead was insurmountable. Obama touts his plan to remove all combat troops from Iraq in a year or so. That is his best case scenario, though subject to refinement and excepting personnel to train Iraqis and guard that notoriously huge embassy, fronting for a military base? Then there is the private mercenary contingent. No way can I trust Democrats to end the occupation of Iraq, let alone find a way to avoid escalating the war on terror. Obama talks about finishing the war in Afghanistan. If that is not escalation, what is, especially considering his belligerent posturing at Pakistan. I could ask plenty of questions about his good judgment and connections, and do, in my critique. I am working on a detailed dissection for my blog.

I wondered if you had heard of Omar Osama bin Laden, peacenik son of Mr. Blowback From Hell? He and his British wife are trying to start a campaign for a truce. So I wrote him an Open Letter, submitted it to commondreams, CounterPunch, truthout. No response. Nothing new, being ignored, though in my ventures on various internet forums I have gained some notoriety. If you wish to read it, it is at the top of my blog at the moment, or here . It continues the article it links to, Feminist Diplomacy, posted almost a year ago, before I heard of this man or his quest for peace. I have posted commentary on various articles about the wars in the War category of the news section, accessible through the blog sidebar. War is a particular interest of mine. Obama will do his best to recruit and defang the peace movement, as if his plan will get all the troops out as fast as possible. The foreign policy promised by these warmongers makes me shudder. What would Obama do to counteract the idea he is soft on terror? I am not one to suggest these two parties are the same, but on most issues I care about, they differ too little. Conventional wisdom says people must settle for one of them. You, Heart, who knows how many rebels say otherwise, or would if they believed an alternative possible.

Media determines political viability to maintain its stranglehold on political reality. Free Soil is all about real solutions, going to the root of issues and applying a life-affirming value system. Perhaps you will find Free Soil too radical, far out, rebellious, utopian, etc., though I do not consider my positions impractical or extreme, to the contrary, but I have heard it all. People understand only what they are willing to take in. We are women bold enough to put our ideas out there to try to change the ways men run things, killing and mayhem in endless cycles of revenge, fouling our nest to make money, basing interaction on hierarchical models and cutthroat competition. Women all have different ideas and ways, but I see vast untapped commonality beneath the surface, looking for a way to break that stranglehold. Humanity has the brains and technology to solve most of the problems blindly following conventional ways has created, but as conventional wisdom would have it, business and politics must go on as usual. Hell no. That way lies madness and planetary catastrophe.

Any opinions would be welcomed. If you think there is a possibility we could work together on something, do not hesitate to let me know. You are also welcome to comment on our blogs or forums. I wish you good fortune, as one rebellious woman to another.

Aletha

(Note: I sent this via email on July 4. I know Ms. Sheehan must be rather busy, but at this point, it appears she prefers to keep her opinions of this communication to herself.)

One Response to “Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan”

  1. Aletha Says:

    Colonel Ann Wright wrote a piece for truthout on why she is supporting Cindy Sheehan for Congress.

    “Stink Eye Politics” – Running Against the Republicans AND the Democrats: Why I’m Campaigning for Cindy Sheehan
    Thursday 30 October 2008
    by: Ann Wright, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    As speaker of the House, Pelosi represents and leads the Democratic Party that failed to end the war in Iraq, failed to hold the president and vice president of the United States accountable for the lies in the war in Iraq, taking impeachment out of the constitution and “off the table,” knowing about the torture program and refusing to make it public and stop it, voting for FISA eavesdropping on American citizens, OK-ing the $700 billion bailout and a lot more. She knew these things and didn’t stop them.

    In the summer of 2007 while we were in hot, dusty Crawford, Texas, for the third summer in a row protesting Bush’s continuation of the war in Iraq, Cindy decided to challenge Pelosi for taking impeachment off the table. In one of her first statements upon becoming speaker of the House of Representatives in January 2007, Pelosi had said impeachment hearings would be too divisive for America. As recently as yesterday, October 29, she has said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the administration. (Congressman Dennis Kucinich spoke for hours on the floor of the House of Representatives about the administration’s criminal acts and many books have been written on the subject.)

    In July 2008, Cindy announced that she was giving Pelosi ten days to put impeachment back into the Constitution. In those ten days, Cindy and a team numbering from 20-60 persons from Camp Casey traveled from Crawford to Washington, DC, stopping at towns and cities along the way to talk about the lack of accountability for criminal acts by government officials while in office (war in Iraq, kidnapping, torture, illegal eavesdropping.) When we arrived in Washington, DC, 400 persons joined us to march from Arlington National Cemetery to the House of Representatives, where we sat all day in the hallways around Pelosi’s and House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers’ offices.

    Cindy, the mother of Casey Sheehan (who was killed in Iraq in April 2004); former CIA presidential briefer and US Army Captain Ray McGovern, and minister and ex-US Air Force Captain and Chaplain Rev. Lennox Yearwood, met with Conyers for over two hours, urging him to begin Congressional hearings that could lead to the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    They emerged from Conyers’ office visibly shaken after Conyers told them that the Democrats were more concerned about winning the 2008 presidential election than about ending the war in Iraq or about holding Bush and Cheney accountable for their criminal actions.

    Running as an independent, she had to collect 10,000 signatures to be on the ballot, and despite all odds, she became only the sixth independent candidate for Congress from California to raise the required number.

    Then the Democratic Party and corporate media machine kicked into gear. No mainstream media in San Francisco covered her official announcement for Congress and none have covered her race against Pelosi. Suddenly, the “peace mom” whose talks and appearances had been covered extensively in San Francisco around the country by the media – was iced out. Print, TV and radio interviews dried up. Only internet news media would publish her writings and cover her active campaign in San Francisco.

    It has been very interesting to see the expressions of longtime Democrats who work in City Hall as we ask them to consider voting for Cindy. They have the same expression, the “stink eye” on their faces, as the Republicans with whom we have argued in Congress over the past five years about the war in Iraq and torture.

    In those moments, the “stink eye” reflex to accountability and to standing up to the existing political system reveals the real challenge – forcing the two major political parties that have been tacitly working together to promote and continue war and to hold no one accountable – to move over for real change in our political system.

    VOTE CINDY FOR CHANGE!

    Democrats consider Cindy Sheehan a renegade. They want the loyalty of the antiwar movement all to themselves. They deserve none of it. The voters of San Francisco have a chance to throw out the Speaker of the House, who has betrayed whatever principles the Democrats claim to have for political expediency. They do not care to uphold the Constitution, stop the war on Iraq, or force the President to obey the laws and treaties binding on him. A victory for Cindy Sheehan would tell the Democratic Party they cannot take a landslide victory for Obama as an unqualified mandate. It would be a referendum on George Bush and the Republicans more than a vote of confidence for the Democrats. It would mean they would have to elect a new Speaker of the House, and that at least in the eyes of the voters of San Francisco, the referendum also applies to their policies. Cindy Sheehan at least would be there in Congress to remind them why they are in power, and how easily that power could evaporate if they snub her and what she represents.

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