The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Sheehan goes overboard

Since camping out by the president’s ranch last summer, to last week’s protest at the State of the Union Address, Cindy Sheehan has transformed from outspoken grieving mother, to what some describe as a left-wing extremist.

Sheehan’s activism began in late 2004, shortly after her son Casey Sheehan, who served in the military as a mechanic, was killed by enemy fire when his Humvee was attacked. Upset with the circumstances of her son’s death and angered by the lack of legitimate reasons for the war, Sheehan began voicing her opinions through interviews, making strong remarks against President George W. Bush.

“I don’t want him to use my son’s name or my name to justify any more killing” Sheehan stated in a CNN.com article back in 2004. She has made similar comments since then, questioning why her son had to die in a war that had, and in many ways still has, indistinct and ever-changing justifications.

Perhaps one of her more brash and surprising actions was her meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. During the World Social Forum, she called Bush a “terrorist.” Chavez, stated later, “Down with the U.S. empire! It must be said, in the entire world: Down with the empire!”

When even comedian Jon Stewart, who mocks the Bush administration on a daily basis, squirms at the video of Sheehan and Chavez, it’s clear that she has gone off the deep end.

It is easy for most Americans who are against the war but support the president’s ideals to become disenfranchised with Sheehan. She is often perceived as a person who is too aloof to the mainstream anti-war effort. Ana Veciana-Suarez, a columnist at the Miami Herald, compared Sheehan’s actions in Venezuela to that of Jane Fonda’s visit to Hanoi during Vietnam.

By the time Sheehan was “detained” by officials in Washington D.C. for sporting an anti-war t-shirt slogan at the State of the Union Address, it became a question of, “What has she done this time?”

Sheehan should begin speaking from the heart again and change her image from a political radical to a concerned mother for the many sons serving overseas. As a former youth minister in the Catholic Church, she should also be able to relate to others through a shared faith, which would be most effective during the current political climate.

Sheehan has a right to voice her opinion in any way that she chooses. And yes, she did revive a jaded anti-war movement in 2005, but she is squandering any sympathy she has earned for her cause since then. Her latest actions are a discredit to the strides she has made thus far and any hope for the future of her cause.

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