Whatever happened to Cindy Sheehan?

Originally posted by me elsewhere on Oct. 12, 2010

Cindy Sheehan
The above image is from Wikipedia.

Cindy Sheehan’s son, Casey Sheehan, was killed in the Iraq War. Following his death, Cindy Sheehan became a prominent anti-war protestor who was frequently featured in the news. Everytime Bush went home to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the national media played footage of Cindy Sheehan and her fellow protestors demonstrating near the ranch’s periphery. The narrative appeared to be that Cindy Sheehan’s loss gave her a moral authority on the issue of the war that made her protests worthy of national attention. Of course, there were other mother’s who lost their children in the war, but who continued to support it nonetheless. These women who supported our military action apparently were not viewed as having a similar moral authority, and they received very little news coverage. Chris Wallace actually hosted a discussion between these opposing groups of mothers, the transcript of which can be found here.

Since Obama’s inaugeration, I haven’t heard much about Cindy Sheehan. Although she continues her anti-war advocacy, the mainstream media is largely ignoring her. So I was curious about her recent activities. Here’s a brief summary of them per Wikipedia:

  • Moved into Nancy Pelosi’s district and attempted to unseat her. In 2008 she lost to Pelosi in a seven-way race.
  • Arrested twice protesting outside the White House (2009 and 2010).
  • She has protested outside the residence of former president Bush (2008)
  • She has protested at Martha’s Vineyard while President Obama was there (2009)
  • She protested Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway (2009)

It turns out that Cindy Sheehan continues to post articles to her own blog, called Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox. She has been less than happy with the Obama administration. Here’s a few relevant items from her blog:

  • She describes the FBI under the current administration as being “jackbooted enforcers of a neo-fascist police state” because she claims that under the Obama administration the FBI has been conducting raids on the homes of anti-war activistis, raids which are getting no news coverage.
  • She describes President Obama and Vice President Biden as “commandantes of this police state”.
  • She states that “Obama behaves like Bush, only on steroids” in part because of his authorization to execute American citizens such as Anwar al-Awlaki without due process.
  • She was furious that in Woodward’s new book, Obama said that the 9/11 attacks had made us stronger.
  • She denounces the Democratic Party as the “Party of No” publishing a long list of reasons for calling it so, among them being “NO peace, No justice, NO relevant healthcare reform…”
  • And she’s currently making a documentary film about Hugo Chavez. She believes that the US is apprehensive about him because Venzeluela is “The threat of a good example…” (a phrase quoted from Noam Chomsky).

I would imagine that it was hard on Cindy Sheehan to be sidelined in the national dialog, and even she seems to realize now that the media attention previously showered on her was because she was seen as being “anti-Bush” more so than being “anti-war”. Although I am ideologically opposed to her, I believe that Cindy Sheehan vividly illustrates the fact that the mainstream media has a narrative, and that it is reluctant to promote news that doesn’t fit that narrative.

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