By Cindy Sheehan
I believe it is human nature to want to be right (as in "correct" not "conservative). I like to be right. I also like to research my facts because being wrong to me is embarrassing. The one time I would have loved to be in error, though, was in a conviction that began over two years ago.
I was convinced that Barack Obama was not the progressive-peace-savior that many of my friends and colleagues were making him out to be.
But, I was right about that, and I think the facts have borne me out: the Overseas Contingency Operation (formerly known as George's War OF Terror) has become even more of a quagmire under the new regime; healthcare was not so much reformed or overhauled as it was a handout to the health insurance companies; the oppressive police state is increasing; no accountability for war criminals (few people will prosecute themselves); torture continues; financial industry reform looks like it is guaranteed for further rich v. poor conquest; and this administration has proven to be as good a friend to Big Oil as the last one.
To some of us, the problem is not so much that Obama has proven to be a dismal failure--because we know that he has been a huge success to the ruling class and corporationsbut that partisan politics always overshadows common sense and true peace. We lost a lot of time giving Obama a "chance," and thousands have lost their lives and their ways of life.
I was outraged when, after three days in office, Obama authorized a drone strike into Northern Pakistan that killed dozens of civilians, but I was excoriated for being outraged. I was devastated when he announced an increase in troops (3 times so far) to Afghanistan, and attacked for not caring about Afghan women (the ones our Empire are "protecting" by killing them and their children). I was laughed out of town when I was infuriated that Obama had declared himself "Judge, jury and executioner" of American citizens. People who formerly supported me told me to "shut up and go away, you have had your 15 minutes of fame."
I was deeply hurt and lonely when everyone from celebrities to my friends in the peace-trenches abandoned me for someone who did not even have a principled campaign platform. However, I could not abandon my principles to support someone who did not conform to them.
Today, my friend, Rob Kall of OpEd News wrote a scathing article about the financial aid "reform" bill after he spent significant time researching it. Rob is someone that I debated with during the campaign and to see him write that he will do everything in his power to make sure that Obama is a "one-term president" was a very, dare I say, "hopeful" sign to me. I knew Rob would come around because he is insightful and compassionate.
It is very, very difficult to admit to making a mistake. I had to admit to making one of the most personally tragic errors possible--I failed my son and he is dead--killed by this Empire.
If you were an Obama supporter, I get that, but it's time to pull your head out of the clouds and realize that you got fooled again. It's hard to resist multi-million dollar marketing campaigns that give one the urge to rush out to buy the "new and improved, lemony-minty fresh" product, but it also usually doesn't take one long to figure out it was only the same old garbage in a new package.
The clock is ticking and until we all figure out that it's "The Empire, Stupid" (to borrow a ruling class phrase), nothing will change for the better.
We are trying to build a movement that is resistant to changing winds and that will stand strong on its principles to fight the tyrannical violence of this Empire with all of our strength, energy, and resources no matter who is in office.
I can also understand the urge to "have it both ways." However, you can't be intellectually honest with yourself, or your own heart and support the Democratic Party. It is simply too incongruous. The only way to show that you are for peace and against racism, tyranny, and the destruction of the environment, is to not bend to, or bend over for, the War Party
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.