Monday, August 15, 2005

Cindy Sheehan

PolySigh writes "Enough Already":
Enough already! The whole Cindy Sheehan episode has been a black mark on both the left and the right. My heart aches for this poor woman, but her loss does not give her any special moral or political standing. The same is true of those who have lost loved ones and support the war. For those on the left to attempt to piggyback on this woman's grief to advance their own agenda borders on reprehensible. But jumping right over that border straight into the land of the reprehensible are those on the right, including the above mentioned poet, who feel the need to publicly trash Cindy Sheehan. This woman lost her son, so if she wants to call out President Bush on that, so be it. If the right doesn't like grieving moms putting heat on the president, then don't start wars that create grieving moms.
I disagree in part, but I largely agree. Her loss does give her special moral authority and political standing, but her loss does not give any special moral status or political status to her supporters or her political beliefs.

As a figure, she's compelling and rightly so. Her son died in a war that is increasingly unpopular. We've all lost a little something to Iraq, a sense of invincibility, in our rightness, in our strength, in our friends and in our families.

She lost her son and her faith in our nation's leader. As such, she represents something important about all of us. I'm not quite sure she's a synecdoche for the nation, but she may be a metonymy, taking the part for the whole. She's one mother, and as such, carries no more moral or political weight than mine. Hi, Mom!

But she represents all of us who feel like we've lost someone or something that matters to us. She deserves to talk to the president because she has something to say to him on behalf of a lot of people.