From Tom Baldwin of Times Online in his August 12, 2005, story on Cindy Sheehan:
“In the local [Texas] paper, the McGregor Mirror, there is an open letter to ‘the woman complaining about her son’s death in Iraq’ from Ann Lehman, a Crawford resident.
“‘You dishonour the President, yourself and God when you deny your son the freedom in death that he had in life to choose. He knew the risk when he joined the military, just as President Bush knows the risk for his life every day!’ she said.”
Lehman sounds an awful lot like one of those folks who I fancy like to consider themselves “real Americans”; you know, those plain-talkin’ sumguns and gun-ettes who take pride in telling it like it is, consistently expressing sentiments amazingly similar to those aired by other salt-of-the-earth patriots like, for example, would-be war heroes Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly (who absolutely would have been war heroes had they only served in the military, gone to war, and then done something heroic). Lemming-like, check it, Lehman-like views are currently being voiced by other real Americans, too, who, though the cost of their “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers may fall just a crosshair shy of the price Sheehan has paid, still sure as shootin’ know a war when they hear about one on Fox, by jingo.
Imagine, Lehman says: Sheehan still grouses about her son’s death. You think she’d be over it by now, wouldn’t ya? I mean, come on, what’s it been, like, over a year already since her boy Casey was killed? So what if he was Sheehan’s oldest child who didn’t believe in the war he was sent to fight but went to Iraq anyway because he felt it was his duty? Big friggin’ deal! When our brave president, another battle-tested military man (or who would’ve been, had he gone into battle -- if he could have been located first -- and then been tested), says go, you go.
Otherwise, we’ve got this “dishonoring” thing goin’ on that Lehman mentions. Never mind that every shred of evidence has always shown that the Iraq war was purely a Project for the New American Century (PNAC) plan from the very get-go to oust Saddam Hussein regardless, get U.S. military bases out of Saudi Arabia and into Iraq, thus helping further PNAC’s scheme to dominate the globe militarily, and, oh, yeah, there’s that oil angle thingie, too, all of which means, of course, that Bush lied the country into war, the most unconscionable act imaginable for any president, elected or otherwise (otherwise), with a conscience or not (not); but never mind all that. Real Americans sure don’t.
None of that evidence matters, ‘cause it’s all, you know, like, factual and stuff. What does count is that Sheehan’s deplorable dissent dishonors Dubya. Or would, if he had any honor to diss -- which he dissn’t, er, doesn’t. But how dare Sheehan do what she’s doing, because doesn’t she know we’re at war, for God’s sake? (Well, I suppose maybe she does, with her kid being killed in it and all, but you know what I mean.)
Speaking of God, speaking of God is what an awful lot of real Americans do these days. And why shouldn’t they, goddam -- uh, darn it? After all, America is the land of religious freedom and tolerance; that is, of course, as long as you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and declare every fifteen minutes (at the outside) how righteous and, thus, right, you are; otherwise, you might just wanna march your unrepentant ass straight on out of here to another country like Paris or Guam and go “f” yourself, you two-faced, gay-loving, heathen. Praise the Lord and pass the admonitions!
Real Americans like Lehman worry about God a lot, ‘cause although He’s an omnipotent deity and all, He’s also got feelings that apparently lean a tad to the sensitive side. But, hey, nobody’s perfect -- ‘ceptin’ God, but since He made Himself, then it must be His will He’s a mite touchy. Accordingly, Lehman implies, it would be wise for Mrs. Sheehan not to upset the Big Guy by whining about her dead son, lest He fork her tongue or melt her brain or zap her soul or, God forbid, do all three; in other words, turn her into a Republican. (And we know where THEY end up, now, don’t we? That’s right: in full, illicit control of everything.)
More Lehman shamin’ comes when she chastises Sheehan for denying Casey “the freedom in death that he had in life to choose.” Even as leading cryptologists work feverishly to discern what the hell that actually means, there’s certainly no denying Sheehan’s son is still just as dead now as he’s been since the day he was killed. Yet, for some reason, Sheehan insists on refusing him the blessed freedom Lehman asserts he’s due. Call it “death’s bonus,” if you will, a premium that would appear to be nearly as desirable as, say, the prize in a Cracker Jack box.
Just what kind of a mother is this Sheehan, anyway?
We’re informed that Casey knew the risk, even though he really didn’t, but, well, so the hell what? That kind of thinking is so last century. (Just ask the fellas at PNAC.) Real Americans know it’s a new day in America, baby. Remember: our lives changed forever after the Alamo, um, September 11. So, yeah, all right, maybe when Casey signed up for the military, he assumed he’d not be sent to war unless it was absolutely necessary, but you know what they say about assuming, don’t you? That’s right: it sounds a lot like “exhuming,” which involves graves, something Bush is aces at filling. So why is Dubya to blame if Casey couldn’t figure out something so simple initiated by, uh, something so simple?
Lehman finishes with a flourish by informing us Bush continually risks his life, though she does neglect to say how, which can only lead us to speculate: Are there still pretzels in the Oval Office? Does Dubya ride his bike every day? Is there really something behind all those Internet rumors of an assassination plot by the country’s foremost grammarians? Or perhaps it’s an oblique reference to Bush having to constantly worry about President Cheney finally tiring of his presence (that is, if Dubya were even aware of the true pecker, make that, pecking order, in the White House) and arranging for an unexpected “vacation” fo’ the faux cowboy much longer than five weeks and in a place even more hell-like than Crawford -- if that’s possible.
Actually, though, the flamin’ by Lehman is no surprise. None. As soon as Cindy Sheehan (rightfully, finally) became news, hits on her character from the extreme right were as predictable as Dubya’s next malapropism or vacant-eyed stare. Lehman’s snit is but one example ripely representative of the right’s reprehensible rhetoric.
We’ve seen the pattern before. Someone like a Joe Wilson or a John Kerry or a Max Cleland poses some kind of measurable threat to the fascists in charge, and, before you know it, they’re given the “Traitor Treatment” as directed by Karl Rove, the man who knows a thing or hundred about treason first-hand.
But, really, now: Cindy Sheehan? A grieving mom?
Targeting Sheehan makes one wonder just how low the Lehmans and their blamin’ shamans can go. To what depths will these unreal “real Americans” plunge to continue defending the indefensible by sliming those who speak the excruciatingly painful truth?
Hold on a second, readers. An awful noise just sounded. I’ll be right back.
Well, I’ve returned, and it looks like we’ve got our answer. That sickening racket I just heard was the very bottom of the barrel being scraped.
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at email@example.com and his website address is www.markdrolette.com/. Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
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