This had started as quick response to a commenter in yesterday’s post, but I accidentally lost it all and decided to rewrite it as its own post. I plan on this being the last post on this subject.
First of all, I don’t think this is as big of a deal as some are trying to make it. I don’t think that really means a whole lot in the larger picture, regardless of how much news coverage is devoted to it. Like the Aruba case and many other “topic of the week”s, this is newsworthy, deserves some coverage, and is worth keeping in mind. That being said, there are far bigger things going on in the country and in the world, and I just plain don’t see how this story trumps them all.
Secondly, I’m very hesitant to criticize Mrs. Sheehan on her grief, which I believe is truthful, heartfelt, and agonizing. I have not lost a child, and I truly hope with all of my being that I never learn what such loss must feel like. I cannot begin to imagine, and unless you have suffered it yourself, I don’t imagine you can, either. To be honest, pretty much anything she says gets a pass from me. I may not agree with what she says, but who am I to tell her she’s wrong? This, you may have noticed, is exactly what I said about the families of 3-25 Marines after the unit suffered big losses near the Syrian border.
Finally, I do personally believe that Mrs. Sheehan is due a fair criticism for her very loud and very public demonstrations given the fact that she was saying something far, far different previously about her meeting with the President. That simple fact, as I understand it, leaves her wide open to a boatload of criticism. And if you’re going to talk to the media and make a spectacle out of yourself, you had better be ready to get blasted by the opposition. That’s simply common sense. She may not be trying to make a larger political point (though I wonder), but to take something to this scale is inviting conflict. If nothing else, the media has transformed the bitter bereavement of a soldier’s mother into a major political statement.
I don’t know how fair that is, or how much of it she wanted. But that’s where we are. I think it’s a major story created out of thin air on top of a smaller story, and the rhetoric (on both sides) keeps inflating it.
UPDATE: No sooner do I finish writing this post (off the top of my head without links or references) than I see that Mrs. Sheehan has published a column in the Huffington Post calling this “George Bush’s accountability moment”. (I would have thought that was last November, to be honest, but what do I know?)
Everything that has happened and everything that will happen on Bush’s watch apparently comes down to this standoff, according to Mrs. Sheehan. Sorry, but I’m not buying it one bit.
I seem to have overestimated her, perhaps. I felt like commenting line by line on her column, but there just doesn’t seem to be any point. Not that I blame her, but she seems to be a very confused person. I will continue to support her right to say anything she damn well wants in her grief, but I gotta’ say this is looking more and more stunt-like. And less and less important.