The Power of Cindy Sheehan

Tonight I ventured out, like thousands of other Americans to the nearest corner (Studio City, CA) holding a vigil for Cindy Sheehan. The nationwide vigil event was organized by MoveOn. I haven’t had a chance to glance to much around the internet tonight but from what I have seen there were successful events all across our nation. These events speak volumes, yes VOLUMES, of the Power of Cindy Sheehan.

Cindy Sheehan has a mission. She wants to speak with our president. She lost her son to a war based on lies. That George W. Bush can’t find it in his heart to take a few moments and sit and listen to what Cindy Sheehan has to say also speaks volumes, yes VOLUMES.

Cindy Sheehan Sign - Studio City, CA - 08/17/05

As the days grow in numbers since Cindy Sheehan first camped outside of Bush’s Texas ranch, George W. Bush’s refusal to meet with Cindy Sheehan looks more foolish. Columnist Patty Davis pegged it in her Newsweek column with this question “What is this president so afraid of?”

At the rate things are going we may never learn the answer to that question, but one thing is certain, with each day that goes by that Bush refuses to meet with Cindy Sheehan, her power grows.

Vigil Crowd 1 - Studio City, CA - 08/17/05

I was told by the a member of the Studio City, CA Neighbors for Peace & Justice, who organized the vigil I attended that they had over 600 rsvp’s to tonight’s vigil. By the time I arrived at about 8:00 pm, every one of the four corners at the busy intersection was over-flowing with people. I estimate there were over 500 people there, on a rough guess.

Vigil Crowd 2 - Studio City, CA - 08/17/05

All of the local networks and CNN had cameras there. Studio City Neighbors for Peace & Justice has been known for attracting local celebrity activists to their weekly anti-war protests (the longest running weekly anti-war protest in Los Angeles–over 2 years). Tonight’s vigil was graced by Ed Asner, Ed Begley, Jr, Richard Dreyfuss and Mark Moses. Asner and Begley, both longtime activists, were interviewed by the local media. (I had the opportunity to interview Ed Asner by phone yesterday and we talked about Cindy Sheehan and host of other issues, look for that interview here soon.)

Vigil - Studio City, CA - 08/17/05

“Listening is powerful stuff,” Patti Davis reminds us in her column: The Power of Listening. Each day that passes by that Bush refuses to listen to Cindy Sheehan he is throwing away his power that has already been squandered on the faith of this nation.

And each day that passes by, Cindy Sheehan’s power grows. She’s become the icon of the Iraq anti-war movement, with out even trying. The simple yet poignant way that she has planted herself outside of Bush’s ranch has been the catalyst for the sleepy anti-war movement to wake up.

George W. Bush may refuse to listen to Cindy Sheehan, but tonight proved that people across this nation are listening and Bush’s failure to do so has not gone un-noticed. Bush’s silence is golden. Cindy Sheehan’s strength is unflappable. The difference between the character of the two is undeniable. Cindy Sheehan has the power of her faith and love, George W. Bush has been rendered powerless by this Gold Star mom on a mission.

UPDATE: The LA Times reports a quip on the Studio City vigil –

In Studio City, about 500 people turned out at the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Ventura boulevards for a candlelight vigil and rally. The noisy crowd, some carrying signs saying “Meet With Cindy” or “Impeach Bush,” was greeted with honking horns and peace signs from passing motorists.

Rebecca Canady of North Hollywood, who attended the rally with her husband and two young sons, said she was inspired by Sheehan’s protest in Texas and her attempts to meet with Bush.

“She’s just this average mom,” Canady said. “Cindy Sheehan is a symbol of the truth.

UPDATE – Related Post: Studio City, CA Cindy Sheehan Vigil Gets National Coverage

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65 Responses to The Power of Cindy Sheehan

  1. Wendy says:

    I’ve read the Kennedy article. It’s powerful, and I believe every word. I remember some of the issues from before the election — I wrote emails to corporate sponsors about the bias in the Sinclair Broadcasting company.
    I belong to another minority group, and I am amazed any time I see favorable articles or essays about my point of view. I’ve wondered if sometimes our press releases are overlooked accidentally on purpose when they attract little or no press coverage.
    The image of a group of powerful people meeting weekly to make decisions about the direction of our entire society sounds like science fiction, like the X Files.
    I have to think about this awhile.

  2. Wendy

    I do believe that the media purposely overlooks press releases related to Democrats, minority groups, etc.

  3. Wendy says:

    I meant to mention, I was listening to NPR last night, a rebroadcast of Talk of the Nation. Cindy Sheehan was being interviewed. Some of the questions were meant, I think, to establish a foundation for the rest of the interview; altho it’s hard to believe, maybe they thought some listeners may not know enough about Cindy to understand the differences between her and the other guest.
    I wouldn’t trade places with that woman for anything. Her courage, her grace over her loss — I don’t know if I have those.
    But she was abrupt; said she only had two minutes, seconds ticked away that sounded like a cellular phone black hole, and after two minutes, she was gone. I didn’t listen to the whole show — I have wondered tho, what happened.
    Altho NPR has had its share of problems, being forced to adopt more conservative slants on a lot of issues — it’s not Fox. No explanation — she was just gone. Without knowing what else was going on where she was, I think I would have handled that differently.

  4. Wendy

    I read this morning that NPR thought they had more time with her, there was some sort of miscommunication I guess.

    I agree, her grace and courage… grief is a powerful emotion. I worry about it all effecting her sometime from now.

  5. Wendy says:

    Even the alternative press outlets have conflicts. I am not involved in the following dispute on a level that could help me know the “truth,” but this editorial from LA Alternative Press about the larger, more connected LA Weekly was disheartening. It seems LA Weekly, in offering to sponsor community street fairs, asks for an exclusivity contract. I haven’t tried to find out LA Weekly’s POV about this, but here is a link to the story in LA Alternative Press.

  6. Wendy says:

    About the phone scripts — then I have to get on with what’s left of my day:
    to identify myself to the voter, usually I was supposed to say “My name is Wendy (altho I was told I could say any name), and I am a volunteer for Election Victory 2004.”
    Does that sound familiar? The anonymity was so the voter could assume anything they wanted to, that we were of either party. The questions were about different issues each weekend, but several times about whether they planned to vote; whether they felt strongly about either candidate, on a scale of one to ten, and other things that are pretty vague in my memory.
    I’d heard that there are more registered democrats than republicans, so I just wondered if the people were reluctant to say they were democrats. I tried it out with one voter, and voila!
    The lists were stale, and sometimes the voter’s party was unknown, so of course once or twice I got stuck with a republican that wanted to argue and waste my volunteer time. I look back on it now and wonder where i got the energy.

  7. Wendy

    Who were you making calls for? The Kerry campaign did not use scripts like that as far as I know. I made calls during both the primaries and the general election and all the scripts I saw directed us to identify ourselves as volunteers for the John Kerry campaign.

    Maybe this was from one of the PAC groups, but not the Kerry campaign. I did a quick Google search and could not find “Election Victory 2004”. I did find Democratic Victory 2004, that was the PAC America Coming Together.

    If you were calling for any PAC you could not say you were a Kerry volunteer per FEC laws. It sounds as though you were not actually making calls for the Kerry campaign.

  8. Wendy says:

    Does this mean that somehow the Republicans were also spinning the campaign volunteers and their work? Is it possible that you don’t know every little thing that happened during the campaign?
    I volunteered at the phone bank in the cafeteria of the govt bldg on Van Nuys Blvd, also an office that was in Woodland Hills, one in a small theater on Lankershim, and one near Cal State Northridge. The official name of the volunteer group, I think, was Valley for Kerry. Valley for Kerry was the table at the studio city farmers market, and actually, the phone bank may have been Valley for Democracy; I didn’t commit all those details to memory, just showed up and worked.
    Maybe it said Victory 2004 — altho I can remember some details, if that is not the exact title of the script, it is close enough for volunteer work that I did over a year ago, every weekend for months. Do you doubt that I was a volunteer? Do you doubt that I have the concerns I say I have?

  9. Wendy says:

    So — I remembered. The scripts were directed toward different states. If we were calling Florida, it said Florida Victory 2004. If we were phoning Ohio, we’d say Ohio Victory 2004. I googled those phrases, and got the following links:
    Open Secrets looks like a site that tracks donations to political parties; I tried to find some connection to phone banks, but all I got was a list of donations from different sources.

  10. Wendy says:

    You know what? The more I think about this, the more angry I become. I KILLED myself for that campaign — when I say I don’t know where I got the energy, I mean that there were days I was depressed, sick, distracted, had other stuff to do, and still showed up for my volunteer assignments. I dragged my daughter, her two kids, and her roommate to a picnic with boxes full of candy and stuff to send to soldiers in Iraq. I still have the letter I received from the woman who received mine.
    I broke engagements with other friends so I could do more to get John Kerry elected — I sweet-talked my mother into sending even more nondeductible donations to the Democratic Party; I talked other people into volunteering; I gave away buttons to strangers; I volunteered for the volunteers, hustling t-shirts at a volunteer rally. I volunteered to monitor a voting precinct on election day to protect the voters from intimidation at the polls — and the disappointment felt as if someone had died, I felt as if I had caught my lover cheating on me.
    Being told I am an uninformed rube is very insulting. Having someone doubt my creds as a campaign worker is even worse.

  11. Wendy

    I was the person whe initially helped organize the Valley for Kerry table at the Studio City Farmer’s Market. There were four of who initially did the work to start that table, myself, Sam Park, Dan Tamm and Murad Hussien. At the same time I was recruited by the Kerry campaign headquarters in DC to write on the campaign blog and moderate it. Not having enough time to do both ground volunteering and online, the DC staff asked me to devote my volunteers hours to the internet.

    I am not doubting you were a volunteer. I am not doubting that you worked from the scripts you worked from, I AM saying that I saw scripts from the Kerry campaign that were both National scripts and Local scripts and THEY ALL SAID to INDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A KERRY VOLUNTEER and GIVE YOUR NAME.

    There were multiple Democratic PAC’s involved with the election. Only volunteers working directly with the Kerry campaign used their scripts. If you volunteered for a different Democratic org, you used thier scripts.

    “Is it possible that you don’t know every little thing that happened during the campaign?” — Not really.

    I honestly get the impression that you’re looking for someone to affirm your feelings that it’s all Kerry’s fault. You won’t get that from me. Frankly, I think rehashing this is redundant at this point.

  12. Wendy says:

    I originally walked up to the S.C. Frm. Mkt. to visit with the former market manager, and she and I took a walk thru the market; I was interested in the Kucinich table. I offered to help with the Kerry shelter one day when the Kerry volunteers were short handed. My sister had been volunteering, but she would come in about eleven or noon. It turned out that one of the other volunteers and I had been classmates in college years ago, and there is another small world aspect subsequently with Daniel Tamm.
    I think it’s worthwhile to review what went wrong in the past, so that future efforts are not wasted. My original resentment had to do with Kerry not counting the provisional votes. What difference would it have made to take whatever time it took to count them? From the point of view of a volunteer who worked as hard as I did (I left out of the above list a phone bank in Glendale on weekdays), for whatever subgroup of democrats or kerry supporters which seems to be a very crucial distinction, there was a sense of shock because I had been telling people their provisional votes would be counted; and even if the ballots were counted later, Kerry conceded the election before they were counted.
    I believe that you were involved on some level that made you privy to information or strategies that the rest of us did not have a “need to know.” I suppose that happens.
    I tried to believe that Kerry would have made a good president; I worked hard to try to make it happen. I think Kerry made a mistake — at least as far as my future efforts for the democratic party are concerned, and we’ll only know for sure during the next campaigns. My belief is that some people barely care about politics — don’t think it affects their lives — can’t be bothered to vote. Not making a big deal about counting the provisional votes makes it look as if the party doesn’t care whether they vote or not. If John Kerry himself didn’t make that decision, who did?
    Cindy Sheehan, and a whole lot of other issues are making even dyed in the wool conservatives angry with GWB. Have you read the article from the Guardian about the scientists who’ve been harrassed by the administration? Have you read about the use of nuclear weapons? Did you see the article in the Sunday Times about the docents at the Reagan Library? It’s little mistakes like that that piss people off; not just the docents, but republicans of age who read the article. All these can spell victory for the Democrats in 2008, if an effective candidate is found — one who can connect with the voters and make them want to vote. I don’t think that’s redundant. I think it’s relevant.
    The media issues in the Kennedy magazine article make my stomach hurt. I can’t address that adequately, except to say that I volunteer now for another organization related to my other minority status previously mentioned, and do what I can to get our message out to others who are of the same stripe, but may not know they are not alone. I like knowing my unpaid hard work has merit and is appreciated.

  13. Wendy says:

    One thing further: I was trying to explain this debate with you to someone else, and I actually remembered something that was left out of my argument. I registered many people who were voting for the first time. Many of them were having to vote provisionally. THAT’s why the big tsimmes about the provisional votes not being counted.
    You may think I am attacking John Kerry. If John Kerry is the one who made the decision to concede without counting the provisional votes, then ok.
    What I am meaning to do, though, is suggest that in the future to count all the votes, and plan an explanation for voter registration that will account for that question, which will be asked: Why didn’t they count all the votes in 2004?

  14. Wendy

    Perhaps you should contact Daniel Tamm because I did not work locally on the ground for the campaign, as I have already told you many, many times here.

    The Kerry campaign made CERTAIN that ALL THE VOTES WERE COUNTED. The Kerry people are still investigating fraud cases. They are involed in fraud lawsuits.

    Furthermore, yes, Wendy some people get information that other’s don’t. That is standard in a campaign. I know things that I can not share. Sorry. I would violating trust.

    I believe I made the point with you more than once, that this blog is to discuss current issues, the future and help the Democratic party. We are for the most part solid Kerry supporters here. There are plenty of people on the internet that will go round and round with you about this stuff, I’m not one of them.

    Maybe, you should take some time and read the other stuff posted on this blog , rather than ask me what I have and have not read and continue to discuss this subject, which I have already told you everything I know that I can tell you, yet you still disagree with me.

    I honestly don’t know what else to say to you.

  15. Ron Chusid says:


    “What difference would it have made to take whatever time it took to count them?”

    It would have made a tremendous difference in destroying the credibility of both Kerry and the Democrats for doing something so absurd.

    In any national election it takes weeks before all the votes are counted, however typically the defeated candidate concedes on election night to spare the country the uncertainty. Even though not all the votes are counted, the result is known because it is possible to determine whether the uncounted votes would have mattered.

    Kerry took an unprecidented step in not conceding election night in order to make sure that the provisional ballots could not change the result, despite considerable criticism. Both independent observers and the Kerry campaign calculated that it was impossible for the results to be changed by the provisional ballots and the conceded.

    A concession is not the end of counting the votes. The votes are still counted. In the unlikely event that the count changes things, a concession has no legal meaning. Kerry was proven right as the provisional ballots did not have a meaningful impact on the Ohio results.

    All the votes were counted. Kerry kept his promise. He also did the honorable thing in conceding before all the votes were counted once it was clear the completing the count would not change the results.