Sheehan explains leaving the anti-war movement.

6/19: Comments are still coming in on this topic and I don't want them to get lost as obviously this is an important conversation, so I updated the post and put the latest comment here:

Yes, Cindy Sheehan "did not go far enough"... she did not go to the very beginnings of the USA. But, for an apolitical white middle class woman to have come as far as she did in just 3 years is NO SMALL THING. I can't help but feel the comments made about how Sheehan has 'goots [sp] come out of some sort of envy or something. And as for her going back to being "privileged"... she's FLAT BROKE. Her family deserted her for her involvement in the anti-war movement. When she got involved in the anti-war movement, she gave it her ALL--unlike the many mushy white liberals who stand on the Lake Street bridge here every damn Wednesday.

I almost always AGREE with Liberator peoples' comments about how damn LAME white folks are... have been struggling with my fellow white "progressives" for 30 YEARS now... so, I think I get it about how frustrating it is.

But, increasingly, I wonder if communities of color can SEE when a white person actually IS "doing the right thing"--and HOW WOULD THAT BE DEFINED? Frankly, it increasingly seems that NOTHING a white person could do would be the "right thing"... maybe write a no-strings attached check, maybe not even that... and yet, I don't see a whole lot of political activity by the African-American community here in the [Twin Cities]. Take Mumia; I was very moved by The Liberator's published "letter of support"... but, I also wondered why in the, at least 10 YEARS of
support work done here in Minneapolis for Mumia's case, the Black community NEVER stepped up to the plate to be involved. Over and over again when I'd walk the streets putting up flyers and leafleting about a Mumia event, the response from Black people was "They ain't killed that n---r yet?" Young people, especially, it would seem would be inspired by Mumia's life and writing TO TAKE ACTION... but, haven't.

Or police brutality... it was 2 white women (myself and Michelle Gross) who started Communities United Against Police Brutality---the NAACP refers cases to us--since they don't take on individual cases--or even the policy work that CUAPB does. We've worked to get survivors of the cops off the phony charges put on them when they stand up for themselves... have even won some cases--and tried to stay on the case whether to try to get a new police chief that's not one more white guy as usual or to get changes in cop training or stop the big purchases of Tasers... Only a few people of color have gotten involved. The community here doesn't even show up for the annual national Oct. 22 protest (events in cities across the country opposing police brutality and the criminalization of a generation--again, quite relevant to youth of color)

The only "action" I see is in organizing Hip Hop concerts... in spite of very real crisis in the African-American community so, personally, I don't see the basis to criticize Cindy Sheehan. She was propelled into action by the death of her son--something that's moved many a Black mother to political action. One would think there'd at least be a little compassion for that. And it's not like Liberator folks are even involved in the anti-war movement either! And yes I get it, not every person of color wants to be involved in a movement that's been led so far here by white liberals. But, communities of color haven't organized themselves either--even though youth of color are targeted by military recruiters and much of the economic investments communities of color need so desperately are bing pumped into the "war machine". But, all I'm saying is; given that communities of color here are absent from the anti-war movement, what purpose does it serve to go after Cindy Sheehan? Just seems like a cheap and easy shot.

Amy Goodman interviewed Sheehan on Democracy Now! this morning.

As I read the transcript of the interview, I'm reminded that what she experienced is nothing new. An exhaustion, maybe skepticism, of trying to work within a system that refuses to change in any satisfactory fundamental way.

I've been there for a while. She talks about not wanting to work with politicians anymore but instead wanting to work with humanity. I dig that. I think when a person struggles against a system you realize that ultimately the power is in the people. If you can place yourself in the company of humanity and be apart of a collective thought you can start a movement towards real change. It might take much longer than a political move, but it will be much more authentic and revolutionary.

But the decision to build a new house when you have one that you once believed could be repaired is a hard one to make. And as a white person in America to come to that conclusion, you'd really have to be at your wit's end. Even if you build a new house while you're living in the beaten down one, you've essentially made a decision that there's no saving this house. There's no appealing to its foundation to heal its own cracks. There's no appealing to the roof to fix itself. The best hope is to start the long arduous process of building a new foundation and a new house.

I feel her frustration at, as she says, to paraphrase, an America more concerned with Anna Nicole Smith and American Idol than the havoc and destruction that is being waged around the world IN OUR NAMES, with OUR MONEY.

In the end I think she's realized that "raising awareness" can only be the small battle -- maybe "the first battle" is that better said -- and that this is pretty much all she has done, take a first step. John The Baptist's prophecy to everyone that they need to repent and that "the kingdom is near" was only the beginning. Ironically, she gets put on a pedestal for taking the tiniest of steps in the right direction. But that's another discussion altogether.

Despite the moves she's making I still think the main difference between her and me is that even with all that emotion she emits I still think she believes that this house can still be fixed, if only because she doesn't really have anywhere else to build a new one -- like when she talks about retooling and coming back with a new and improved factory (strategy). Whereas myself, over the last few years, I've started to think more along the lines that I need to try and "raise awareness" to as many people as possible while trying to get the hell out my damn self. Buy that land, build that house, start that farm. Migrate my family and my community, even if it has to be one by one, one generation at a time. Even if it means some generations will have one foot in and one foot out, it's worth it because eventually there'll be a generation with both feet in. I feel like home is outside of this place. And that the homes that have been built here were only meant as temporary ones in the long view anyway. So parting with them, to me, is no great sorrow when compared with the promise of the future.

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