Mothers of Soldiers and Prisoners Get Active
Dr. B. Cayenne Bird

Dr. B. Cayenne Bird is an ordained minister and a 37-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. She volunteers her time as founder and director of United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect UNION. The UNION is active in prison reform and criminal justice issues. She is a mother and grandmother and focuses on human rights and restorative justice. She is also the host of television series "Cayenne Common Sense" and publishes a daily online newsletter to subscribers.

August 11, 2005

 You gotta love the courage of Cindy Sheehan camped outside Shrub's ranch in Texas in this horrible heat. Her own son Casey is dead after being killed in a war over oil in Iraq. So now her concern and action can only be for those soldiers who aren't dead - yet. 

Across the globe the story of her vigil, better known as a picket, has generated more than 700 separate stories. This should be empowering to the mothers of America who have shed buckets of tears over the losses of their children to war and to prisons. 

Throughout time, it has always been a struggle for power of the hawks versus the doves, the punishers vs. the healers, the Republicans vs. the more peaceful liberals. There are many terms for the people in these two groups including the sane vs. the insane because killing is wrong, no matter who does it. 

Those who believe in punishing, vengeful retributive justice and those who believe in restorative justice such as prevention, communication and more civilized ways of solving conflicts both strive to put their candidates into office. 

The doves are being too gentle and failing to fight back hard enough. At this time, our Whitehouse is occupied by Hawks who are eating the hearts out of the mothers of America by snatching up their "kids" for war or for profit in prisons worse than Abu Ghraib, all at the expense of the taxpayers. Most of the hawks in power are in the oil business or profiting from the war. 

When doves cry this is a sound heard around the world. But it takes more than tears to disable tin gods put into power by organized voting machines. 

It takes actions such as those of Cindy Sheehan leading a picket of other courageous souls who back her and calling for impeachment of the President. That costs millions of dollars to achieve but a outcry of this magnitude might just spur it into reality if others pick up the torch and write checks.

For the prisoners taken captive by the same hawks, it takes more to rally the other voters because not everyone has lost a child to the punishing machine - yet. 

And those who have are disproportionately poor and uneducated about how well picketing works. When thousands of people stand in front of the culprits maiming and murdering our people through policy, ready to go with impeachment and/or recall proceedings, that is strong language that any politician can understand.

When this happens in large enough numbers the prisons will fold but not before public dissent becomes loud enough. That's too bad when millions are connected to inmates who have all the power if it is channeled properly in doing the right things at the right time.

Whether it is the war at home or the war abroad, the formula is the same.

Cindy Sheehan knew that she was going to get sunburned if she went to Texas to demand an actual conversation with someone as verbally challenged as Bush. She also knew that she might be arrested for doing what is as American as apple pie - exercising her first amendment right to picket government officials for a redress of grievances. 

It is way past time for the mothers of America to stand up and demand that the Hawks leave our kids alone. There are almost no children of legislators in Washington D.C. who are fighting in Iraq as Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 911 documented. Many Kings in the most primitive times in history would limit the human destruction of war. The outcomes of their arguments were often settled by gladiator fights in order to save innocent women, children and the elderly. And most Kings would personally lead the soldiers into battle when the decision was made to sacrifice entire civilizations in war. 

There is nothing noble about the war in Iraq or the war at home that is breaking our budgets and breaking our hearts to a point where we will never be the same. We don't see the hawks leading our mostly young people into battle. They're too cowardly for that, and too cowardly to come out and face this grieving mother who is bound and determined to wait him out. 

Sheehan wants to talk about the wasted lives and the human toll of soldiers returning with severe mental illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which will naturally cause crime to rise. This rains even more hell on the mothers of America, all at the hands of the government that we as voters empower with our hard-earned money. 

This said, those of us who can remember that we ended the Viet Nam war by marching in the streets and getting out the vote need to wipe our tears and build our voting groups to exercise the only thing we have left. Our ability to network, raise funds, do initiative campaigns, recalls, impeachments and literally take back our country from the hawks that law enforcement labor unions, prosecutors, DA's and other primitive people put into power over us. 

The hawks have had their chance to "save us" and they've blown it. Protesting through picketing and writing to editors, registering voters, forming funded voting groups is the mechanism our forefathers gave to us under the First Amendment and get into action can be our only response to such failure to protect us. 

Cindy Sheehan is reminding us all of that responsibility that we as American citizens have to be active in our government lest it fall into the hands of murderous Fascists who would take our liberty and trample it, who would take our Constitution and use it as toilet paper. 

Some Americans simply won't take it anymore. Those are the actual patriots who understand that a Democracy is based solely on a majority of VOTERS rules mentality. 

Had everyone been voting, organizing, raising funds instead of wasting so much time in front of the TV and at sporting events, this war would not exist because Bush could not have been elected in the first place. 

It shouldn't take losing a child to war or to the Prison Industrial Complex for the Mothers of America to see what has been happening to their countrywomen and be compelled to take action, even if their own family doesn't seem to be directly affected. 

You can support Cindy Sheehan's effort to end the senseless war with your pen, your vote and your picket signs and a check. Yes, this type of effort costs money, lots of money. 

You can support prison reform by finding a group in your state that is actively teaching others how to actually get out the vote, elect people to office who DO NOT believe revenge is an intelligent way to lower crime, and with your pen in letters to editors. You need to write checks for prison reform too because you cannot elect people to office to represent you by investing no work and no money. 

I have learned that writing to hawk legislators is almost a total waste of time. There are, I believe, parts of their brains actually missing which includes all compassion and common sense. This opinion is based on decades of trying to reason with elected officials who are paid off by special interests to hold their inhumane opinions of human bondage and exploitation. As I am growing older, I believe that time is short and cutting to the chase of organizing to get out the vote is the most effective way to go. 

No more Mrs. Nice. We have a pen, a vote, a checkbook and a picket sign and we are using these tools to save our own families' lives. We're down to this and action cannot be delayed as we saw when the Patriot Act was passed that our liberties have disappeared while we were trying to make a living and rear our children with a dream that has been dashed by those we empowered to office to rule over us. 

There are more doves than hawks who could be working to be the majority voters group in America. We need to choose our priorities and not assume somebody else is going to do our share of the organizing work for us. But while the vote still counts, we should flex our collective muscle as the mothers and grandmothers of these slaughtered soldiers and tortured prisoners and take back our country. 

Otherwise we are stuck with the garbage that the retributive justice people work to get elected. And that apathy and ignorance is proving to be deadly in a number of ways.

Dry the tears, get active and support your advocates, people who are really going to represent you, otherwise you will have no advocates. Courage like Cindy Sheehan's doesn't happen that often anymore. Seize the day and stop being an armchair philosopher when activists are what are needed out there.

Support our young people by bringing them home and protecting them as they grow up by teaching them not to be hawks but solution-oriented, intelligent people. That is where our hope lies now while the vote still has a little meaning left.

The original story written about Cindy Sheehan appeared in 2004 in The Reporter in Vacaville, Ca, her home town. You can see it online at Those who question her motives might want to read the proof and see the entire story as it evolved. 

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