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And so soon! After announcing her intention to leave the activism scene in May, Cindy Sheehan has now announced that she intends to run against Nancy Pelosi for her House seat in the San Francisco district if Pelosi does not introduce articles of impeachment for Bush by July 23.

Does Sheehan actually stand a chance against Pelosi? Probably not. But what I really like about this whole thing is Sheehan’s point about the “peoples’ accountability movement.” How many of us complain about those who are serving us in Congress? Rather than just complaining, Sheehan is taking that a step further and trying to do something about it. These people serve us. We elect them. We should expect them to represent us fairly.

“I’m doing it to encourage other people to run against Congress members who aren’t doing their jobs, who are beholden to special interests,” Sheehan said. “She (Pelosi) let the people down who worked hard to put Democrats back in power, who we thought were our hope for change.”

I commend Sheehan for being active rather than passive, for thinking of a creative way to state her dissatisfaction in Congress, and most certainly for finding the strength to throw herself back into the spotlight.


As many of you have probably heard, Cindy Sheehan, a well-known anti-war activist, has decided to step out of the game. This is truly a sad day in peace activism.

For those of you who don’t know her or her story, her son was a soldier in Bagdhad and died in a rocket grenade attack. Devastated, Cindy decided to go to Crawford, Texas and have a little chat with Bush about the war and why her son, and so many other sons and daughters had to die. Bush refused to speak with her, so she decided to camp outside of Bush’s ranch in Crawford until he would speak with her. She caused quite an uproar but also started an entirely new chapter of the anti-war movement. Soon enough, Camp Casey was a well-established institution, with a large support network. When threatened with trespassing charges, Bush’s neighbor donated 5 acres of his land to Camp Casey so that they could have a permanent place without any threat of being forced to leave. Last I heard, they were developing plans to build a rehabilitation center for those who served in Iraq.

Lots of people painted her as a crazy women, driven mad by grief. The conservative right loved to paint her in the worst of pictures, calling her terrible names and belittling her cause. Other organizations heralded her as a true peace activist. I was actually able to see her speak about 2 months ago in a small church in downtown Chicago. I was shocked by the lack of attendance. In activist circles, she’s a well-known name, yet there were maybe 30 people in attendance. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her, as I’d only heard stories and read articles. When she entered the room to our singing an anti-war song, I expected big smiles, energetic movement, and an infectious energy that you oftentimes see and feel in well-known activists.

But what I saw was a grieving mother who wasn’t made to be an activist but felt compelled to do it anyway. Forced into the activist’s life because of the injustice she felt, yet lacking the natural endless energy that you see in other activists. In some ways, though, that made her even more admirable. She was just like everyone else’s mother, sister, neighbor, friend. She had just experienced probably the most horrible experience a parent could ever have and felt compelled to do something about it.

She never played the politics. She held both parties equally responsible for the decisions that were made. She found peaceful ways to make her point, such as camping out in front of Bush’s ranch (and being arrested for blocking the road once), wearing an anti-war shirt in the House gallery (and again being arrested for unlawful conduct because of it), and many others. She really was an inspiration.

She sacrificed everything to try and convince Americans to help her end this war, including her health, finances and her marriage. All she wanted to do was help save other sons and daughters from suffering the same fate as her own son while also trying to make his sacrifice meaningful. I gotta believe that the past week’s happenings in Congress probably had a little to do with her stepping down. She gave everything she had and then some to try and make a difference. I think it’s only fair to allow her the ability to say “enough is enough” and claim defeat. Because, really, how different is the Iraq war now than it was 2 years ago? Last time I checked, thousands were still dying and every month is becoming the bloodiest month of the war. We’re still funneling billions into it, and there’s still no end in sight.

I can’t blame Cindy Sheehan at all for making the decision that she did. I only hope that it serves as some sort of catalyst to move others forward, carrying the torch even further and ensuring that all of her sacrificing was not made in vain.

As she said in her final goodbye, “It’s up to you now.”

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