Cindy Sheehan keeps the Democratic Party honest

Cindy Sheehan speaks at a rally. - File photo
Cindy Sheehan speaks at a rally.
— image credit: File photo

Most of us are aware of Cindy Sheehan’s activism against the war in Iraq and the very public stand that she took in Crawford, Texas, camping out next to President George Bush’s ranch and confronting the president’s support for the war.

But fewer know about the work that she has been doing since then, confronting the Democratic Party’s position on the war after its dramatic Congressional victory in 2006. She has pointed out that the Democratic Party has hardly acted like an opposition party at all. This is very disturbing to those of us who had hoped for some kind of dramatic turnaround then and are still hoping for one now.

Our national political system seems to drift further and further away from what we, as ordinary citizens, want and need. Both Congress and the Bush Administration seem to live in a different world where different standards, values and priorities apply.

As we struggle to make house payments, pay for health care and fill up the gas tank, they spend trillions of dollars of our money on overseas wars and on earmarks and giveaways to wealthy individuals and corporations, indebting our children and grandchildren to pay for it. Somehow we need to bring our government officials back to earth and get them to focus their attention on what our citizenry can actually afford.

Many of us are hoping and working hard for a change of party in the White House in November. But what can we expect even if there is a Democratic victory? Not much, if the record of the past two years is any guide.

In spite of their majority control, Democrats have continued to fund and support not only the war but other outrageous priorities at every stage.

Today, they are supporting a huge new funding bill that will provide money for the war well after the 2008 elections, allowing it to drag on for another couple of years before any serious debate will occur.

This sort of waffling does little credit to the Democratic leadership and is a terrible disservice to those among us who are struggling to keep our heads above water as war funding continues to suck hundreds of billions of dollars out of an economy that is barely hanging on.

If we oppose this war, we should join Cindy Sheehan in challenging not only the Republican administration but the Democratic Party leadership, keeping their feet to the fire to live up to their promises.

Cindy’s campaign to shift from a war economy to a peace economy should be supported by all of us who want to stop the madness that passes for politics these days.

— Steve Graham is an Island activist.

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