by Tony Norman
Madonna broke her hand and several ribs when she fell from her horse on her 47th birthday, but Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil outside a ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren temporarily abandoned her ratings-rich search for Natalee Holloway of Alabama in the nightclubs of Aruba to spend a few days looking for LaToyia Figueroa, a pregnant black Latina missing in Philadelphia, but Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
Copperhead snakes are converging on Chuck Miller's secluded mountaintop home in Yellville, Arkansas, spooking scientists who have never seen anything like it, but Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Mexican President Vicente Fox was correct to point out that illegal aliens take jobs in the U.S. that "even" blacks refuse to work. "Why are you so foolishly sensitive when somebody is telling you the truth?" Farrakhan asked a Baptist congregation in Milwaukee a few days ago. Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
The price of gas hit $3 a gallon on the West Coast for regular unleaded, but Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
When counter-protesters showed up to heckle Cindy Sheehan and to parrot the things they'd heard on "The O'Reilly Factor" and Rush Limbaugh, she smiled through their calumny.
"Her story is nothing more than forged documents," Limbaugh said, comparing a grieving mother's pain to the documents that forced CBS' Dan Rather to step down from the anchor desk.
"There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's the latest effort by the coordinated left," the expert on shadowy conspiracies told his audience of Ditto-heads. If Rush said it, they believed it. Still, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
When a man who owns the adjoining property next to "Camp Casey" fired his shotgun into the air a few days ago to signal his irritation with the crowds, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
Later, Larry Mattlage admitted he was sympathetic to her cause, but simply wished the traffic of protesters would move their cars farther down the road so he could work on his bird-shooting in peace.
Rap entrepreneur P. Diddy dropped the "P" in "Diddy," but Cindy Sheehan didn't react. She had other things on her mind. She was building a makeshift cemetery of white crosses to honor the more than 1,860 Americans who lost their lives fighting in Iraq. She dubbed the roadside memorial Arlington West, a move that made crazy the right-wingers who already suspected her of sedition.
Several days ago, a cowardly patriot in a pickup truck ran over the memorial of 500 crosses and 60 American flags. According to the New Patriotism, dissent is an even bigger sin than desecrating the flag. Smashing the most sacred symbols of the nation's civil religion is alright as long as it demonstrates blind fealty to the government's position on war and peace.
When he was arrested several hours later in town with crosses still imbedded in the undercarriage of his vehicle, the snarling patriot said he was making a point about how much he loved America and hated traitors like Cindy Sheehan. Still, she would not be moved from her vigil.
Within hours, the growing crowds of people migrating to "Camp Casey" to stand with Cindy Sheehan had rebuilt Arlington West. Even those in the community who disapproved of the protest pitched in to help replant the flags and crosses.
It was a testament to reconciliation that is possible when ideological facades are dropped and people relate at a level far removed from the pugilistic background static of "The Drudge Report."
After looking into the anguished eyes of a mother so enraged by the senseless death of her son that she is willing to travel hundreds of miles from home to confront the leader of the free world in the August heat of Texas, there is no room for questioning her sincerity. It would be obscene to do so, especially for political reasons.
When nameless relatives far removed from her immediate family criticized her "shaming" of Casey Sheehan's memory by opposing the cause he died fighting for, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
When increasingly desperate far-right conservative pundits attempted to smear her as a dangerous anti-Semite, an ally to David Duke and a pawn of a leftist cabal simultaneously, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved from her vigil.
Instead of leaving it to the media to dispel the deluge of lies stirred up by Bush loyalists terrified about her protest, Cindy Sheehan responds to each charge, no matter how ridiculous, daily on her protest diary at www.huffingtonpost.com , one of the few bastions of clarity and honesty in cyberspace.
When "pro-family" zealots tried to spin the sadness of her domestic life as a referendum on her sanity, Cindy Sheehan and her soon-to-be ex-husband made it clear that their divorce had been in the works long before her protest in Texas began. Somehow, the documents went "public" at a time calculated to cause maximum embarrassment. It didn't. On the contrary, it was such a transparent "dirty trick" that people laughed at its audacity.
She would not be moved from her vigil even after her critics reported that her husband was allegedly divorcing her because she had "abandoned" him for Camp Casey. It was a sleazy lie cooked up by folks who sense accurately that they've lost the hearts and minds of the American people. The overwhelming majority of citizens now agree with Cindy Sheehan that the Iraq war was a terrible mistake.
When 1,600 vigils sparked by her protest were held around the country Wednesday night, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved. Citing her example, an organic and principled anti-war movement has begun gathering steam.
Yesterday, Cindy Sheehan's 74-year-old mother had a stroke, so the protester left Texas to be by her side in Los Angeles. Sheehan knew she could leave because thousands of citizens have taken her place. Perhaps one of those protesters has motives pure enough to warrant a few minutes of the vacationing president's time. Either way, Cindy Sheehan's nationwide vigil shall not be moved.