Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cindy Sheehan Speaking at Peace Event Thursday Night

Posted on Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 4:00 AM

After Cindy Sheehan's 24-year-old son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, she didn't stand idly by. Instead she started a nationwide peace movement in late 2005 with a protest encampment outside President George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch.

This past November, Sheehan lost a Congressional race against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Sheehan isn't giving up hope for an end to the war. She will be speaking on the need for U.S. fundamental change at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's 27th Anniversary Party at Bridges tonight. Sheehan took a moment to speak to the Flyer by phone

Flyer: What inspired you to start Camp Casey outside Bush's Ranch back in 2005?

Sheehan: I was very frustrated because there wasn't a [large] anti-war movement in the U.S. in August 2005. Public opinion was starting to turn against the war, but corporate media was very hesitant in covering the anti-war movement.

I knew that the war was based on lies. Bush said that my son died for a noble cause but none of the media asked him what the noble cause was. So I decided that I would go to Crawford from Dallas and try to ask myself.

During the Camp Casey days, did you expect this war would still be going on in 2009?

At the time we were in Crawford, I was very optimistic that the peace movement would have been able to make a difference. But when 2007 rolled around and the Democrats were in the majority, [they didn't] stop funding the war so our troops could come home.

I also thought that George Bush would be impeached, but that didn't happen either. He'll be leaving office in a few days without being held accountable for his or Dick [Cheney] crimes.

What inspired you to run against Nancy Pelosi? After [Congress] approved so many war funding bills and refused to hold Bush accountable, that's when I decided to run against Pelosi. I got 50,000 votes, about 17 percent of vote.

It was the first time since Nancy Pelosi ran in the Democratic primary in 1987 that she got less than 85 percent of the vote. This time, she only got 71 percent of the vote. That seems like I really got creamed by her, but when you look at a first-time Congressional campaign, we raised over $600,000.

It was a historic occasion when we got on the ballot. We needed over 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot. We were only the sixth campaign in California history to do that.

I'm going to run again in 2010. If I can get 50,000 votes a year like I did in 2008, then I'm going to beat her and really bring the fundamental change to this country that's so desperately needed.

What was your platform?

Since my son was killed and I started to be an activist against the war in Iraq, I've wanted true and profound change. You have to look at economic inequality. You have to look at poverty, the economy, the environment, and how all these things are so intimately connected. We really have to solve all these huge problems if we're ever going to have peace.

Don't you have your own radio show now?

It's Cindy Sheehan’s Soap Box, and our website is cindysheehanssoapbox.com. We're on the air on Green 960 in San Francisco, but it's also available streaming on the web. Our first show was January 4th, and we're on every Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m.

What will you be speaking about at the anniversary party?

I'm going to talk about the need for us to still be committed to this work, even though many people are pinning all their hopes on Barack Obama and that's the wrong thing to do. I'll probably be talking about how it's up to us if we really want to get the fundamental change that we need.

-- Bianca Phillips

Mid-South Peace and Justice Center 27th Anniversary Party, Thursday, January 15th, 6:30-9 p.m., $35, Bridges, 477 N. Fifth St. (725-4990, MidSouthPeace.org).

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