Ex-darling of the uber-left Cindy Sheehan has quit the anti-war movement and the Democratic party. While much of what she says is bizarre, in her notice she brought up a few issues which should be noted.
When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. “However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the ‘left’ started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used,” she wrote.
Sheehan criticized “blind party loyalty” as a danger, no matter which side it involved, and said the current two-party system is “corrupt” and “rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland.”
“Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives,” she wrote.
Sheehan, however, said she had become increasingly disillusioned with the Democratic Party. In an open letter to the Democratic members of Congress on Saturday, however, she announced that she was leaving the Party because she believed its leaders had failed to change the country’s course in Iraq.
Two issues she states which actually are big problems (although we’d disagree with the words she chose to express the thought, and certainly most of her political ideas):
- Party loyalty — When party loyalty overtakes integrity we’ve got a problem (just looking at the current Congress).
- Political indifference — More people care about American Idol than the next president, and make their decisions based on TV ads. Government isn’t a spectator sport.
- We’d also add incivility to the list. It’s acceptable to attack the policies of a person, but let’s draw a distinction between the politics and the person. The viscious and mean-spirited attacks should stop — they don’t add anything to the discussion. Just look at some of the hate directed towards the late Jerry Falwell. (For an example of civilized debate, see the Newt Gingrich and Mario Cuomo debate at Lincoln Center, moderated by Tim Russert — if you haven’t seen it, look at the video and see what real debate looks like. Compare that to the two major parties recent “non-debate” debates).
We can’t imagine what Ms. Sheehan has been through; every person facing a loss handles it differently. In that vein, we would never condone attacking someone for the manner in which they grieve (policies are another matter). But in her letter announcing her quitting, she did raise some valid points, ones which everyone would do well to listen to, and ones which we agree with heartily.
We’d disagree with Cindy Sheehan on most issues, but she’s hit two big problems square. They’re not a left or right issue, but a people issue.