First a foremost, she and others who are critical of the war and America’s foreign policy have a right to be heard. We often argue here and in person, but I like to think that as long as we’re talking and not reducing the conversation to personal insults well, we’re doing better than most others, including our elected leadership. While I’m not a big fan public protest personally (I think it has little effect in changing anybody’s mind, and often does more harm then good to the cause), I certainly defend anybody’s right to plan or take part in it, as long as it’s not violent or impedes others civil rights.
Secondly, from the beginning I had a hunch that this woman was being taken advantage of by the movement she became a spokesperson for. It seemed to me that those running the group kept her fired up and singly focused on whatever protest or speaking engagement they lined up for her.
Lastly, everyone kind of knew that much of her antics were driven by avoiding the reality of the devastating loss of her son. I, along and many others, feel nothing but sympathy for her loss. I can also understand why she may think he died for “nothing”. What is doubly sad about this situation is that Cynthia Sheehan never got to know her son well enough to know him as the soldier he was, because if she had, she’d had known that he died for his fellow brothers in arms first and foremost and that is far from nothing. She’d have known how important this was to him. I’m certain that it would not have changed hers and anybody else’s mind about the war in Iraq, but she’d at least known this fact about her son. Ms. Sheehan may not want to hear it from me or anybody, but I would like her to know that on behalf of myself and a grateful nation we are deeply sorry for loss.
It would appear that the organization that trotted her out to all these functions cared little of her loss. They willingly watched and took all her money and stood by while her family life dissolved into shambles including divorce from her husband. It seems nobody pulled her aside and said, “Cynthia, why don’t you take some time with your family and grieve, then come back to the organization…”. At least that’s what appears to have happened from where I stand.
We’ll see if the Gold Star Families for Peace will take care of their leader and pay some of those medical bills of hers and hope that she has some real friends to get her though the next phase of her life.