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Why I Was Smiling and Hurricane Rita
By Cindy Sheehan
I had a huge grin on my face when I was getting arrested yesterday. I have received a lot of flak for smiling. Apparently I am not supposed to smile, but I had some really good reasons for doing so.
First of all, I was having fun. I was with a group of good-humored, cheerful, happy people. We were singing old protest songs and old Sunday school songs and clapping. I felt I had to be cheerful to set the tone. We didn't want any trouble or to do anything non-peaceful. Secondly, when I got arrested and the officers lifted me out I was afraid that America would see my underwear and that tickled me.
There is another and more important reason that I was smiling. I had not genuinely smiled since Casey was killed in Iraq. I thought my hope was buried along with my son and I was in a pit of hopeless despair. Camp Casey gave me back my hope because America came out in huge numbers to support us and they raised their voices with ours in unison to take our country back and to hold this administration accountable for the lies and mistakes that are killing tens of thousands of innocent people. There were hundreds of thousands of regular Americans who came out to protest the war and Bush's policies this past Saturday. Hundreds of faithful Americans turned out for our interfaith religious service Sunday night next to the Washington Monument. The so-called religious right doesn't have a monopoly on God. I am so pleased that the people of America are becoming active participants in Democracy and America is ready to put their money where their collective mouths are: to bring our troops home and hold BushCo accountable. It is a wonderful thing to be doing something that makes a difference and it is a wonderful and miraculous thing to have my hope back. That is why I am smiling.
Now about Hurricane Rita: I woke up on Saturday morning filled with excitement. I knew that the rally and march were going to be amazing events and I was thrilled to be a part of them. I switched on the TV and turned on CNN and for 2 hours, I watched one of their reporters in front of the same downed tree and it wasn't even raining. I knew that there was a hurricane and it was damaging. At the point of the news cycle though, I thought CNN could be covering other news. 40 soldiers have been killed this month so far in Iraq and countless Iraqis have been killed. The war is still going on and the news has been dominated by hurricanes and the terrible aftermaths. I actually think the mainstream media has been doing a good job of pointing out the dropped balls in the Gulf States. However, CNN and other mainstream news outlets ALWAYS report other news besides the illegal occupation of Iraq.
When we had hundreds of thousands of people turn out for protests all over the nation on March 19th, the 2 nd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Terry Schiavo fiasco was occurring. The Schiavo tragedy was bad for one family and I was in agony for them, but I found it hypocritical that Congress would rush into a special session to save one person's lives when so many were being needlessly killed in Iraq partly because Congress abrogated their Constitutional responsibilities to declare war. I was also disappointed that that tragedy superseded the protest coverage. Wolf Blitzer called our protests: Insignificant.
Saturday was the most important event in peace history in decades. The numbers were underreported and the wonderful energy was unreported by the mainstream media. With the MSM there will always be something more important than covering the atrocity of Iraq: Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, Terry Schiavo, The Runaway Bride, etc. It is time we hold our media accountable, too. Balanced coverage of all issues and some investigative reporting would be extremely refreshing.
I am sorry for what seemed to be an insensitive remark about the people who were affected by Rita, but that was not my intention. I am very aware that the failed policies of the Bush administration have all put us in the same boat, so to speak, and we need to take responsibility for righting the wrongs here in our country and in Iraq.
I don't think I can be challenged for my analysis of the war and for what I say because it is all the truth and comes from my heart, so I have to be attacked for smiling. I won't apologize for smiling, though, we are making a difference and that is definitely something to smile about!