Sheehan Speaks in Town

Noted anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan spoke to a large audience at last night the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center as a part of a ninety minute program. The event, organized by Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, was recorded and is is available online courtesy of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

15 Responses to “Sheehan Speaks in Town”


  • I am totally against the war, however, I do believe Ms Sheehan has taken this a bit far. She now has a manager, she is auditioning for commercials, she is no longer a person a true Gold Star mother can speak to without an appointment.

    Seems to me sheis making alot of money on the death of our sons.

    This started out all about Casey, her son who died in Iraq, his web page hasn’t been up-dated since 5/05…he certainly lost his importance when the money started rolling in to her

  • This started out all about Casey, her son who died in Iraq, his web page hasn’t been up-dated since 5/05…

    Well — and there’s no way to put this particularly gently — he’s dead. I’m not sure there’s much news about him to report on these days.

  • My position on the war in Iraq is as follows:

    I was against it before it started. I think the time to stop it was then.

    I was also (and still am also) irritated that the Dems in Congress were too chickenshit to speak up against it then (that’s also one of the points when I started to feel as though the Democrat party had left me).

    Now I’m of the opinion that we broke it, we are obligated to return it to some semblance of working order. That there were no WMD’s obligates us even more so to put things back better than we found it.

    Now having gotten all that out of the way. I didn’t go to the event, but I wonder did she have copies of her *new book* for sale? Or did she plug it at all? Her speaking schedule co-ordinates with her new book release (which just happened last month).

    I agree with Waldo’s point about her son’s website. But I also think in Sheehan’s case this is no longer as much about speaking out against the war as it is taking the opportunity to turn a profit on the tragedy, and start a new career in public speaking. She didn’t come to Cville for free did she? There are the usual “honorariums” involved here aren’t there?

    She’s become a public figure along the lines of “Jessie Jackson” or “Al Sharpton” hustlers who in my opinion take every opportunity to get their faces in front of the camera for the sole purpose of making money while doing it, using other peoples tragedies in the process.

    I don’t dispute her right to do it. But I certianly don’t have to approve either.

  • So if she’s not constantly out of pocket as she goes about pursuing peace, we should ignore her? She can’t possibly still mean it, can she?

    Because she did something very persistent out of her pain and beliefs she became a central figure in the anti-war movement. The celebrity she earned by the quirks of persistence and the whimsical decision by the media to cover what she was doing has value. Another anti-war protest of Jane Does is just another anti-war protest. Cindy Sheehan showing up gets coverage and the anti-war movement as a whole benefits.

    Is there anyone out there who thinks she wouldn’t rather have her son back than have a book deal and a series of speaking engagements? This is the opportunity that has come to her because she chose a singular path in reaction to her son’s death. These opportunities help promote her chosen anti-war message. I see nothing craven in her saying ‘yes’ to the opportunities.

  • 14:57…14:58…14:59…

  • Elizabeth wrote what I was going to write but got interrupted by my kids (and wrote it better than I would have). As far as I can tell, Sheehan travels the country–but damnit, she should pay for that entirely herself if she’s to be taken seriously! No honoraria to cover those costs, nosirree! And, also as far as I can tell, she doesn’t have a day job–this has become her day job. But damnit, she should go into debt before accepting a dime for her speaking engagements if she expects to be taken seriously!

    Honestly, why does one have to abjure all financial remuneration in order to be credible? If the message makes sense, it makes sense. If she makes people show up and listen, isn’t that good (for the anti-war movement)? In just about every other realm, we as a nation appear comfortable with the idea that people can and should be paid for their work (i.e., writing a book, giving speeches). But every now and then this weird “aack, she’s making money at this” pops up.

    And Elizabeth’s second point is excellent; I don’t see how any parent can seriously believe that she’s a “hustler” who lives to get her face in front of a camera “for the sole purpose of making money…using other people’s tragedies” to do so. If you have a child, and then you contemplate what it would be like to lose your child, I don’t see how you arrive at the conclusion that she’s not doing this primarily for the memory of her child.

  • She is a crusader/ And sometimes crusaders have to do things that may seem expedient.
    Does anyone think Joan Baez should not have accepted money from record sales or concerts when she was speaking out against the Vietnam War?
    By the way, I saw Joan’s concert on the grounds of the Washington Monument in 1967. The DAR had cancelled her Constitution Hall booking because of her political views. So she gave a free concert on the Monument grounds. As you might expect, it was great!

  • I don’t dispute her right to do it. But I certianly don’t have to approve either.

    That’s my position. There is only so far that sympathy for her tragedy can go when one doesn’t agree with her message.

    Elizabeth and Cecil suggest that she shouldn’t go “out of pocket” for her expenses. And I agree. Nor did I suggest she should. But I also think there is a difference between going not going out of pocket, and turning a profit. If all the profit goes back into the movement then I’m fine with that. Non-profit means just that. Break even, not get rich. I’ve been around long enough to see how a non-profit status gets abused.

    Cindy Sheehan showing up gets coverage and the anti-war movement as a whole benefits.

    And that’s good only if one agrees with her message. I don’t.

    I see nothing craven in her saying ‘yes’ to the opportunities.

    Craven is your word. Not one I used. Don’t put words in my mouth. Turning a personal tragedy into a 2nd career is distasteful but not craven. And I’m pretty sure the quote at the top of this post covers the “in her saying yes to the opportunities” part of that.

    I don’t see how you arrive at the conclusion that she’s not doing this primarily for the memory of her child.

    I’m not you. That’s how.

    Her son did something he believed in by his military service to our country. Protesting against the war he died in is hardly doing any ‘honor’ to his memory or sacrifice. Her husband didn’t even support her protests. And last year he filed for divorce. So obviously there is room for disagreement about whether or not her protests honor the memory of her child.

    Does anyone think Joan Baez should not have accepted money from record sales or concerts when she was speaking out against the Vietnam War?

    The Vietnam war is a different war. People were drafted to serve in that conflict. What we have now is an all Volunteer military.

    Joan Baez was a musician. That was her profession from the get go. I see no correlation between Joan Baez and Cindy Sheehan.

    And as I’ve said before:

    I don’t dispute her right to do it. But I certianly don’t have to approve either.

  • People who work for non-profits do get to take home a salary.

    People do get to change careers many times over their lives. Sometimes simply because an opportunity suddenly presents itself.

    Volunteering for the armed forces does not mean that the individual believes in each and every troop deployment — just that they’ll go anyway.

    Mothers and their children do sometimes have differing points of view — as do husbands and wives.

  • In response to my post, TrvlnMn wrote, “So obviously there is room for disagreement about whether or not her protests honor the memory of her child.”

    But I wasn’t talking about the effect of her protest–whether or not it has the effect of honoring the memory of her child. I was talking about the motivation for her protest–what drives her to do it. That would be why I wrote “I don’t see how you arrive at the conclusion that she’s not doing this primarily for the memory of her child” (emphasis added). “Primarily for” = motivation, as in, “I’m doing it for the money” v. “I’m doing it to honor my child’s memory.” Maybe you think her protest doesn’t in fact in the end honor her child’s memory, but that’s a dispute over the effect of the protest, not her motivation for it.

    TrvlnMn suggests (via the comparison of Sheehan to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) that Sheehan’s motivation is greed, or desire for profit; he writes that she has become, like them, someone who “take[s] every opportunity to get their faces in front of the camera for the sole purpose of making money while doing it, using other peoples tragedies in the process.”

    “Purpose” there, in TrvlnMn’s words, refers to motivation. He believes she is motivated no longer by thoughts of her son but by greed. I differ; her continued grief seems to me to be genuine, and her rage at those whom she believes are responsible for the senselessness of his death seems powerful enough (and understandable enough) to provide more than sufficient motivation to continue the campaign.

    So the whole thing about whether or not anti-war activitists honor the memories of those killed in the war, while interesting, is not an issue I raised.

    And I still wonder why “making a profit”–in other words, getting paid–is such a dirty thing. Isn’t a salary a profit? Don’t we all aim to do more than just break even and cover our expenses? I went to a school run by a Catholic order in which all the brothers/fathers who worked/taught at the school turned their salaries over to the order; they took nothing home. It was a great system in many ways, but it is pretty anomalous in modern American culture. I always perk up my ears whenever I hear calls for someone (usually not the caller himself) to abjure personal profit in order to maintain credibility or moral standing. I just think it’s interesting.

  • This discussion just shows how unfocused people always are. The question to ask is:

    “Does Cindy Sheehan still carry the anti-war message productively?”

    If she does, good for her if she’s making a profit. Shame on her if that’s all it’s about now.

    We need to focus on dumping Bush and his type from American politics. Look at how pathetic the Dems are at resisting our home-grown American Hister!

  • Her husband didn’t even support her protests. And last year he filed for divorce. So obviously there is room for disagreement about whether or not her protests honor the memory of her child.

    To be fair, marriages often don’t survive the loss of a child, protests or no.

  • Waldo wrote:

    To be fair, marriages often don’t survive the loss of a child, protests or no.

    I think that depends on what statistics you’re looking at.

    “Overall, 72% of parents who were married at the time of their child’s death are still married to the same person. The remaining 28% of marriages include 16% in which one spouse had died, and only 12% of marriages that ended in divorce… Furthermore, even among the 12% of parents whose marriages ended in divorce, only one out of four of them felt that the impact of the death of their child contributed to their divorce.” Source: “When a Child Dies”

    I really don’t have anything else to add to this discussion except what I’ve already said:

    I don’t dispute her right to do it. But I certianly don’t have to approve either.

  • Sheehan is an odious self-promoter who’s son must be rolling over in his grave at his mom’s shenanigans. He obviously differed with her politically or he would not have re-enlisted when he could have gotten out of the tour in Iraq that led to his death. Nevertheless, she chose to use his coffin as a stepping stone to national media attention. Disgusting.

  • I am so sorry that I am getting into this conversation late. On the other, maybe that means mine will be the last word…
    I serve on the CCPJ Speakers Committee that brought Cindy to town. I had the honor of introducing her onstage. I was nervous about meeting her. Frankly, I was nervous that I wouldn’t like her, primarily because of all the nasty things that have been written about her.
    Cindy is a warm, charismatic, deeply committed human being, and a grieving mother. She has taken her loss and built it into something real. You may disagree with her, but I assure you that she is driven by her passions and nothing else. I felt like I made a new friend.
    Cindy did not ask for a dime to come to Charlottesville. After we had already made the arrangements, her publisher contacted the CCPJ to ask if we were interested in providing some books at the event. The wonderful people at the New Dominion Bookshop volunteered their time to provide the books and handle the sales. Nobody was "in this for the money".
    The CCPJ is committed to discussions like this one about our presence in Iraq and other peace and justice issues and I thank the community of Charlottesville for your continued support.

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