A New Direction


root - Posted on 08 March 2009

The Cindy Sheehan Story

by Marlon Crump/PNN

"Nancy Pelosi is SO out of touch with the regular American, that it is pathetic. She said that this will be a NEW direction, but instead, they're going in the same!" said anti-war activist /Peace Mom, Cindy Sheehan, during an interview for POOR Magazine/ POOR News Network.

Following the interview, Cindy attended POOR Magazine's Community Newsroom, where she was collectively interviewed by my POOR family, on October 7th, 2008 on what her relation (s) and thoughts to the very issues that deeply impact people in poverty and even privilege, daily. October 7th also marked the three-year anniversary of my near death-experience of racial profiling, at the hands of a dozen members of the San Francisco Police Department.

Last year during an event in the backyard of the headquarters of both ISARC (Idriss Stelley Action Resource Center) and the S.F BayView National Black Newspaper, in San Francisco Bayview Hunter's Point, my comrade and godmother, mesha Monge-Irizarry, founder/director of ISARC introduced me to two women.

One of them was anti-war activist, Cindy Sheehan, Peace Mom, and founder of "Camp Casey" The other was former U.S Representative, and current Green Party candidate for the 2008 U.S Presidential election, Cynthia Mckinney.

I had the pleasure of meeting both of these women. During the festivities, I greeted Cindy Sheehan with a warm hug of solidarity, in the movement for struggle towards change from everything that affected people universally, from poverty, oppression, racism, war, etc, etc.

Sheehan, and many people, nationwide have fought a near-never ending battle to the end of a certain war, since its birth on March 20th, 2003 by the U.S President, George W. Bush:

The End of the Iraq War, and the U.S occupation in Middle Eastern countries!

For those who are unfamiliar with Cindy Sheehan, and her opposition stance against the War in Iraq, she joined the anti-war movement in 2004, following the news that her son, Casey Sheehan had been killed in the war. Casey was a specialist in the First Cavalry Unit, in Sadr City.

Since Casey's death, Cindy unleashed ultra-unrelenting attempts against the entire administration of President George W. Bush, towards ending the Iraq War, and the return of U.S Troops back home to their families.

For centuries, the children of Almighty God were often sent to wars, convinced that their self-sacrifice is to" serve their country" unaware of the frightening reality that they're really serving their country's "interests!" Glory for the greed of governments, guts spilled from children who're unsure if they'll ever return to their families, in one piece to say the least.

"In God We Trust" as it is hypocritically inked on the average U.S 1$ bill.

Despite Cindy Sheehan's efforts, from her appearances to the White House, arrests of civil disobedience, giving untold amounts of speeches, touring countries, and even purchasing property to bring "Camp Casey" near Bush's ranch, in Crawford, Texas; President Bush's heart remained hardened like Pharaoh who was constantly warned by Moses to either free the slaves of Israel from bondage, or feel God's wrath.

Instead of producing twelve plagues, however, Cindy chose different approaches by battling the Bush Administration with her very voice of resistance, struggle, and presence. In that process, she's received nationwide and international attention, with that same voice.

Most of the youth, sons and daughters that has ever served in the U.S Military, were either brought up in poverty, a working class family, or a place of privilege. "When my son was killed in an illegal war, he wanted to have college money. I suffered without health insurance." Cindy would later explain, during the interview.

Cindy Sheehan was born in Inglewood, California in 1957 to working-class parents who came of age during the depression and World II. Cindy's parents, Shirley and Dennis Miller met at the Lockheed Martin Corporation where they both worked during the 1950s. Shirley raised three children-Cindy, her younger sister Dede and her brother Scott-while Dennis worked as an electrician. Cindy attended public school in Bellflower, California.

In 1974, Cindy Miller met Patrick Sheehan. The couple married in 1977 in Norwalk, California. In the subsequent years, Cindy and Pat Sheehan had four children Casey, Carly, Andy and Jane, and settled their family in Vacaville, California.

When her youngest child was two, Cindy decided to go back to college to earn her bachelor's degree. She first attended Cerritos College where graduated with honors. Thereafter, Cindy transferred to University of California Los Angeles where she majored in U.S. history with a concentration in California history.

Following UCLA, Cindy worked as a Youth Minister at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Vacaville, California for eight years and coordinated an after-school program for at-risk middle school children for the City of Vacaville.

Late last year, Sheehan decided to continue increase her efforts, by going into politics. On December 8, 2007 Cindy Sheehan officially opened her campaign headquarters in San Francisco, CA, where she is now running as an Independent candidate for the United States Congressional Seat, for California's 8th Congressional District, against current incumbent, U.S House Majority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Following this opening, the Cindy for Congress campaign acknowledged the poor population's motivation and commitment(s) towards change, after they appeared out of oppression-able isolation (including myself) to vote, volunteer, and spread the word towards helping Cindy Sheehan be placed on the November ballot.

On August 8th, 2008, this goal was accomplished after the required signature amount, were approved by the City and County of San Francisco, Department of Elections.

Many S.F voters share the same passion, with Sheehan for the removal of Pelosi, who failed deliver her "Articles of Impeachment" (among other U.S Government accountabilities) against U.S President, George W. Bush, following her successful win in the November 2006 Election.

I arrived at her campaign office, CINDY FOR CONGRESS, located at 1260 8th/Mission St, at around 1:50 p.m. After a brief welcome from her volunteer staff, and family members, I greeted Cindy Sheehan and began with the interview. "Should you win the election, what would be one of the first things that you would do? "This was my first question.

"Well, I'm running on a very detailed, progressive, populace platform. My major issues are of course the immediate troop with drawls, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and holding George Bush and Dick Cheney accountable." Sheehan replied. "That's why I am running against Nancy Pelosi because she refuses to hold Bush and Cheney accountable, as well as the occupations in Iraq, and Afghanistan."

I then asked, "Miss Sheehan, what was the feeling you got after meeting with President George W. Bush?" (The devil of devils, monsters of monsters, I thought to myself.)

"Two months after Casey was killed on April 4th, 2004 me and my family met with him. (Bush) He met with us, and approximately 17 other families. The feeling that I got from him was that he didn't care about our loss, and he didn't even want to be there."

As I continued the interview, it quickly dawned on me that her son's death was on the same date that the most famous civil rights leaders in history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was struck down by an assassin's bullet. The news of King's death caused chain reactions of sorrow, anger, and violence to thousands nationwide.

Thirty-six years later, on April 4th, 2004, there was another news explosion that every mother and father dread. When Cindy received word of her son's demise, via Bush lie, Cindy's internal emotions snapped, like the many that felt lost without Dr. King. Angered, and saddened beyond measure, Cindy Sheehan joined the anti-war movement as a Peace Mom.

During her years of anti-war activism(s) in the road to end the Iraq War, outcries could often be heard in the distance:

"Bush lied, thousands died!"

"Bush lied, thousands died!"

"Bush lied, thousands died!"

Though there exists criticism of her alleged use of her son's death to selfishly achieve her own agendas, Cindy countered this criticism with the inner emotion and strength she carries by transforming tragedy into triumph.

Others have also turned tragedy into triumph, before and after Cindy, such as John Walsh, host of the T.V show "America's Most Wanted", Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D) and mesha Monge-Irizarry, founder, director of the Idriss Stelley Action Resource Center, a non-profit grassroots organization that counsels victims of police brutality.

Cindy, herself, started an organization that founded the Gold Star Families for Peace, (an organization of families who've lost loved ones, to the Iraq War)

I paused as she briefly tended to her grandson. After a few minutes, I then continued the interview. "How has your journey been for you against George Bush?" I asked. Cindy's face seemed to answer that question, by giving a slight shift that showed an expression of the weary road that she left behind, and the road that lies ahead of her.

"It was hard to do in mourning my son." she softly replied. "It was physically exhausting, emotionally, and financially draining. It is still very difficult to be so committed to fundamental positive change, when the system is so stacked against it. "I asked her in regards to change, "Do you think that after you're elected that you can accomplish that?"

Cindy replied, "Well first of all, I am running against the Queen (Pelosi) of the system. "When we (Cindy and her supporters) take her down (defeat her at the November ballots) that is really wounding the system."(From a changing perspective.) "We have the people's platform.

"When Pelosi's out, that puts everyone else in Congress on notice that their jobs are in jeopardy. They will have to listen to their constituents............not their lobbyists."

I then asked about her thoughts regarding the gentrification movement(s) that's occurring, locally, and universally. "How do you feel about gentrification, Miss Sheehan?" She replied, "I think that privatization and gentrification harm communities, because they destroy diversity. Not only is it destroying communities, but it is profoundly harmful to poor families."

It has been reported that Nancy Pelosi supports the housing land development company, based out of Miami, Florida called Lennar Corp. Lennar was recruited by S.F Mayor, Gavin Newsom sometime ago to join the city's "redevelopment" (gentrification movement) against the poor of the entire community of S.F Bayview Hunter's Point.

Recently, Pelosi supported George Bush, after he and Treasure Secretary, Henry Paulson proposed to Congress to sign into law a "Bailout Plan " known as The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to solve the "financial crisis" and "rescue" mortgage companies, banks, and stock markets of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street to avoid another "Great Depression."

However, it is yet to be reported of a "Bailout Plan" for those plagued in poverty, and not another Economic Stimulus Plan that would once again fail to boost the economy in crisis.

"This massive bailout is nothing short of a scheme by irresponsible corporate pirates to privatize gains and socialize debt," Sheehan stated recently in an interview on PRNewswire. "Such a move will only further add to the burden of individuals and families, who are already struggling to make ends meet. Not one of our tax dollars should go toward rescuing an industry that is failing because of unregulated lending and trading practices."

"WE ONLY NEED ONE BILLION!" These are the current cries and pleas of seniors, people with disabilities, families, and people living in poverty to gain equity access from U.S Congress towards affordable housing. (This is also in reference to the October 3rd POOR article by "Tiny" Lisa Gray-Garcia, regarding her analysis of the U.S $700 Billion "Bailout Plan" that included the wealthy, but excluded the poor.)

Sheehan pointed out a clear conflict of interest on the part of her opponent, Nancy Pelosi, and other members of the Democratic Party leadership pushing the "corporate bailout" forward. Apparently, Pelosi is one of more than 50 members of Congress, who is said to have investments in the companies involved in the current "financial crisis."

Sheehan also explained how on PRNewswire how Pelosi has half a million dollars in stock invested in AIG (American International Group) alone, which is included in this "bailout" situation. "We need elected officials who will stand up for our interests, not protect their own pockets or the pockets of the very same people who got us into this mess in the first place."

"We are tired of giving golden parachutes to greedy corporate interests. We're standing up and saying, not this time, not with my money and not with my consent!" This "Bailout Plan" is also expected to cost each taxpayer in America $2,300 in the future!

"If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.'" -----Cindy Sheehan, BuzzFlash August 20, 2005.

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