Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm Cindy

I spent some time today reading the hundreds of comments on Cindy Sheehan's online diary at Daily Kos (I was out on Daily Kos nosing around yesterday when she posted.)

For some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about the "I'm Harry" t-shirts that Prince Harry's comrades in the Blues and Royals planned to wear in Iraq, as a show of solidarity if Harry was deployed. Harry was an obvious target. But Harry didn't stand alone.

We are no different. When Cindy Sheehan is attacked - we are diminished as a nation. Cindy spoke for us. She stood in front of an entire peace movement. But not alone. For some, she seemed an easy target... if you call attacking a grieving mother 'easy.'

"I'm Cindy."

Those of you who sought to take her down with hateful words and judgment - if you want to bully someone, we're right here. We stand together. There are hundreds of thousands of us now, and we're not going anywhere.

Cindy never asked to be a hero, or a martyr. She only asked for answers: for her son Casey, and for all parents, wives, husbands and children who have lost a loved one in this war. She was a voice for the largely invisible families of these soldiers overseas. She not only 'supported the troops,' she sacrificed years of her life on their behalf, in a tireless effort to bring them home.

She spoke for all of us who hate this war.

Cindy won the moral victory, hands down. She refused to be denied, but set up camp right in front of George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas. She called him out (displaying quite a bit more courage than any Congressmen or Senators we've seen lately.) In response, Bush demonstrated nothing but disdain for Cindy's pain - and Casey's sacrifice - when he refused to even meet with her.

How could meeting with a grieving mother possibly have hurt the man, or his exalted, presidential mystique? After all, wasn't Bush supposed to be that 'compassionate conservative?' I'd have thought he would have seen this as a terrific photo op at the very least. By refusing to acknowledge her, Bush showed an unconscionable lack of respect for all families who have lost loved ones in his war. He owes every one of them an explanation, at the very least.

And America watched.

Support for this war is now at an all time low, in great part because of Cindy's tireless efforts. She put a face to the real, and so often hidden cost of this war. Perhaps that is why Bush feared her, and hid from her inside his ranch. She called his bluff. She made everyone think, really think about his motives for attacking Iraq, his 'support of the troops,' and the very real consequences of his actions. Bush somehow managed to hide the returning coffins, but he was helpless to 'hide' or silence Cindy.

Before Cindy spoke out, many people were outraged. But Cindy was the flag around which we rallied. I never met Cindy Sheehan. I didn't have to - she inspired me. She demonstrated to all of us what one determined person can do, in the face of incredible opposition. When everyone else was afraid, Cindy was strong. She was there when we needed her, speaking truth to power.

A very different president

Abraham Lincoln never shied away from the families of Civil war fallen, or avoided sharing in their grief. There are many stories of Lincoln meeting with widows when they came to the White House, or visiting wounded solders and spending time with them. Lincoln even went to the front lines, and once had to be pulled out of harm's way when his very distinctive stove pipe hat proved an obvious target for Confederate sharpshooters.

Sounds a bit like Prince Harry, actually. By all accounts, Lincoln anguished daily over the human toll of war, and often took personal risks along side the men who were doing the fighting and dying for the Union cause.

I guess this is called 'empathy.' Or responsibility. Or perhaps it was basic humanity. Whatever it was, we don't elect that kind of leader anymore.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Yes. This is what a president can be.

Bush demonstrated no such character or courage. Perhaps... he just doesn't care. Perhaps he can't be bothered. After watching his lack of response after Katrina, it is hard for many of us to believe he feels anything at all.

Betrayal

I have a modest tradition of going to the nearest cemetery on Memorial Day, simply to read the names of those who have died in wars. I have always believed that this is the very least I can do: remember, acknowledge these guys and their sacrifice. I am especially sad when I walk by the graves of Vietnam vets. So many of them died after returning home... and so very young. The dates on the headstones tell a tragic story. The consequences of this war will also remain with us, for decades.

Yesterday I couldn't muster the energy to go. I was too sad. Even my own morale is at an all time low. I can't imagine how devastating this Memorial Day must have been for Cindy Sheehan.

The timing of this Democratic betrayal was so cruel. Brutal, especially for those of us who pinned our hopes on this Democratic majority and their paper promises. I am glad our representatives had their 'Memorial Day break.' I wish I could make their vacation permanent. The troops in Iraq didn't get any break from fighting on 'Memorial Day'. In fact, 10 more American soldiers died on Monday, while our representatives were giving speeches and saying 'grave words of sorrow.' Spare us. For the mothers, the sisters, brothers, and children of these soldiers, there certainly wasn't any break from the fear. Their daily hell drags on.

This Democratic Congress has managed to kill our hope in record time. I imagine the families of the fallen - and those still deployed - are now convinced that they are completely on their own. I don't blame them. I spent today wondering if democracy is finally over in this country.

Camp Casey

Someone suggested turning Camp Casey into an Iraq Veterans Memorial. I think that would be an excellent idea. A permanent memorial to Cindy, to Casey, and to all of our soldiers who trusted in their government, in democracy, and in the responsible leadership of their Commander in Chief.

Cindy - you did all that you could do. Rest now. We'll take it from here.


I put the design online at Zazzle

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