Cindy Versus Cindy On War

8 10 2008

Guess you heard about Cindy McCain today, taking the national media stage to attack presidential candidate Barack Obama over the Iraq war and her own son’s equipment funding. He must not be one of us, that one . . .

Except — last election cycle, it was Cindy Sheehan as the mom, and her equally heartfelt public policy message was the opposite.

“I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful,” she wrote.

“Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.”It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years, and Casey paid the price for that allegiance.

“I failed my boy and that hurts the most.”

Whatever her failures and disillusionment, is there anything better one individual struggling within massively failing systems could expect?

Maybe the Dueling Cindies give us some insight into why President Eisenhower’s son is now urging the Pentagon to keep prez children off the front lines, never mind their own career or honor? When it’s your child (especially if your mantra is Country First!) good judgment for the greater good might be just too much to ask of any dad or mom commander in chief.

Both Democrats and Republicans — who together “are” by definition the entrenched political system — are naturally resisting and ridiculing . . . these efforts, as they have successfully done to Sheehan, manipulating all the media they can dominate to keep systemic change from being taken seriously by real, regular, reasonable people going about their private business and wondering who can save them from what they have wrought.

I think — although Sheehan herself [much less the Other Cindy] doesn’t seem capable of such analysis — that the opening trick we can’t manage, is thinking well enough to understand what “saving” the system even means, in such complicated plot lines populated with infinitely interdependent characters, aka the Real World.

Making it do — what? Making it work — how? Making it serve — whom? Because we fail at that, we fail at everything we attempt after that.

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14 responses

9 10 2008
Crimson Wife

Ms. Sheehan is a woman who clearly needed serious psychological help to deal with the death of her son, but instead got used as a propaganda tool by the Left. As the wife of a military veteran, I find that extremely sad…

10 10 2008
JJ

What does he think about the new field manual on nation-building, if you don’t mind sharing? And of the proposal that the highest-ranking civilian parents shouldn’t be put in the position of having their military children on the front lines?

10 10 2008
Crimson Wife

I haven’t asked him about the no kids of politicians in combat idea, but in the past he’s said that he believes that the only people who are truly qualified to serve in political office are those who’ve demonstrated a willingness to risk their own lives to save others. That would include not just military servicemembers but also law enforcement, firefighters and other rescue personnel, and humanitarian aid workers in dangerous places. So in this current race, that would rule out Sen. Obama, Sen. Biden, AND Gov. Palin.

10 10 2008
Crimson Wife

And while my DH did not agree with their policy positions, he respects both Sen. Kerry and former VP Al Gore for actually serving in VietNam rather than dodging it with deferments (like VP Cheney) or being part of the so-called “Champagne Squadron” of the Air Natl. Guard (like Pres. Bush).

10 10 2008
Nance Confer

Which would be a nifty rule as so many military folks traditionally vote Republican. Although, maybe not so much this time around.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2007-09-13-military-donors_N.htm

Nance

11 10 2008
JJ

Sounds like CW’s husband has read some Heinlein! 🙂
Although come to think of it — it’s been decades but they were memorable books! — I believe Heinlein took it further, to the point that one had to serve first to be a “citizen” at all, even to vote much less run.

11 10 2008
Betty Malone

hmmm….It would also have ruled out Jefferson..and Franklin…wouldn’t it..I don’t think either of them..ever “fought” for their country..unlike Washington.

Although Franklin did serve as one of the first volunteer fire fighters by starting the volunteer firefighters org. in Philadephia, I believe..

I guess we all choose our way to fight..and to serve.. I would hate to think that only military men could become President..Aren’t we militaristic enough already..and how succesful has that been for all those Latin American countries..you know..the military juntas and leaders who “fought” their way to leadeship

11 10 2008
JJ

Biden’s a volunteer fireman too, I believe? At least his wikipedia bio says he was inducted into the Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association Hall of Fame.

Regardless, Betty’s point is apt — literal life-risking and sacrifice on the front lines of danger isn’t the only thing we value as a people, or as individuals. But if it were, political office isn’t the only reward we’d need to withhold from the unwilling or unable.

Some personal power of story — my dad was an USAF colonel who fought in Korea but education, education, education was the defining value of his own identity, the human family in which he brought up his children and his fulltime lifelong service to his country (for 34 years as a university professor) and so intellect-education rather than military sacrifice, is the value he would have been more likely to support as the qualification threshhold for voting and office-holding.

11 10 2008
JJ

Oh – and we started out talking about the Cindies, the moms. Such a policy would inevitably “devalue” the giving of life to new citizens, I suppose, and the personal sacrifice and risks we females undertake for that? Although I must admit, I’ve often thought all men (from the Supreme Court and every president we’ve ever had, to Ralph Reed and the Pope on down to local priests and preachers and my own bossy, sanctimonious brother) should rightfully be disqualified from any public policy say-so about my reproductive issues. . .

11 10 2008
JJ

Here’s the threshhold argument for education-intellect in all politicians, using Palin as Exhibit One:

Even many of her most ardent admirers no longer dispute that Sarah Six Pack is, shall we say, incurious. What’s striking is how little that seems to matter. A McCain spokeswoman suggested before the vice presidential debate that it would be unfair to question Palin, “a woman who could be president,” too closely on foreign policy.

And when thinking conservatives (remember when the adjective was not necessary?) like Kathleen Parker and David Brooks declared Palin unfit for office, they were shouted down by their ideological brethren. Parker got e-mail she called “vicious and threatening.” Brooks was dismissed by another pundit as a “conservative intellectual.”

You’re left to wonder when intellectuals — thinking people, for goodness sake! — became the enemy. Are we to regard unthinking conservatives (will that adjective soon be superfluous?) as the only true conservatives? Indeed, the only true Americans?

One gets that sense from Palin’s recent campaign appearances. Her attacks have grown increasingly strident and divorced from reality as John McCain’s poll numbers have gone south. She blames Katie Couric, and not herself, for her inability to answer fair questions. She frames Obama as some exotic unknown with terrorist associations.

And the rabble duly rouses. They boo Couric, which is not unlike booing Mickey Mouse. They scream death threats. Someone addresses an African-American sound man for one of the networks with a racial epithet and screams, “Sit down, boy!”

There is an ugliness here. It is disguised as decency, disguised as politics, but it is only ugliness, mean and raw and given license by the desperation of a man who used to be honorable and a woman who said she was just like us. And for the record: It’s not a movie.

I only wish it were.

12 10 2008
COD

If I remember my Heinlein correctly,there were essentially two classes of citizen. Those that volunteered for military service, and everybody else. Only group one got to vote.

12 10 2008
JJ

That’s right, and there were public FLOGGINGS . . .

14 10 2008
Crimson Wife

My DH is a fan of sci fi novels, so he may very well have gotten the idea after reading Heinlein. Though I’ve never heard him advocate actual restrictions on who can run for office. I think he’s far too much of a libertarian for that. It’s more like what it would take for him to be convinced a politician is fully qualified. It’s like the old Groton motto, Cui Servire Est Regnare “To serve is to reign”.

18 10 2008
JJ

Big front-page feature on Cindy (McCain) in the New York Times this morning. It’s part of the “Ambition and Ambivalence” series.

Poor little rich girl, pretty sad story all around. Very Princess Di, in whose footsteps it turns out she actually does fancy herself to be following — I had commented to that effect a few weeks ago without this knowledge, just as my own observation:

Then there is a white man of enormous privilege and family connections, an American favorite son who like English princes was groomed within his own class to lead and sent off to war as an officer, returning to hero status and a series of castle-intrigue dalliances resulting in marriage to a beautiful but child-like blonde heiress with dependency problems who wants to love all the little children, casting herself as a saintly and self-sacrificing Mother Teresa except with jewelry and designer clothes and bodyguards and private jets and too many homes to keep track of, a bottomless fortune and various public titles (bestowed by family status, not her own hard work and merit) supporting her ethereal Diana-ness.

We may be white like they are, but few of us can relate to their wealth, gambling, junketing, womanizing, broken families, $300,000 convention outfits, drinking and drugs.

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