Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Resigns from Anti-War Movement

This blogger took great interest in Cindy Sheehan's self-described resignation from the American anti-war movement as he read her announcement on her Daily Kos blog. The media continues to spin her announcement as an exclamation point to a long and obviously painful journey of a mother whose son died in Iraq. War hawks obviously praised her departure as a long overdue move. One-time supporters who had previously backed her activism also applauded Sheehan's announcement. She said she had become disillusioned with the two-party system in light of the war funding bill Congress passed late last week but showed equal contempt for the progressive movement and its leaders which once embraced her as their own.

"I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life," Sheehan wrote. "This group won't work with that group; he won't attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions."

Sheehan's statement stands as a long overdue indictment against the way in which the personal egos of its so-called leaders continue to stand in the way of collective progress. The LGBT movement is certainly not immune to this reality. It regularly highlights activists, lobbyists and spokespeople to talk about marriage for same-sex couples, the need for anti-hate crime legislation and other issues with messages and sound bites they prepare for them. Their stories remain crucially important as the general public continues to discuss these hot topics. The question remains, however, whether these brave men and women become unknowing pawns in a movement whose leaders seem more focused on the advancement of their own agendas than to the cause of collective solidarity and progress. They devote their blood, sweat and often tears to a cause in which they truly believe. Movement leaders certainly recognize this drive not only in their public statements but in their private discussions within their various factions. The second these rank and file challenge the status quo, however, they find themselves in the same position about which Sheehan wrote.

The California native certainly sparked controversy during her work within a movement which later ostracized her. Sheehan's own words expose the very problems which continue to threaten the very progress to which progressive movements are so proud to point. This threat becomes a travesty if personal egos and ambition continue to dominate the agenda.

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