The Cindy Sheehan mess, a modern day tragedy of a woman losing her son, family, and self respect if not her very sanity before the public eye, is an ugly show. While everyone is ultimately responsible for their own behavior, the grief pimps of the far left and their able partners, the exploitative media, have banded together to use Ms. Sheehan's all too public breakdown for their own despicable ends.
Make no mistake, there are those on the right who have behaved just as questionably, but I'm hard pressed to criticize any group that attempts to fill the vacuum of balance in the reporting of this story. While Ms. Sheehan's pathetic mug has been broadcast to all corners of the globe, little has been made of the fact, that her story over time has changed, her charges against the President are in the main ridiculous, and her denouncing of her country and fellow citizens is obscene. In lieu of reporting on this, how can we blame the right for pointing out these short comings? In most cases they have been respectful and have acknowledged Ms. Sheehan's right to say whatever she pleases. Going further, most of Ms. Sheehan's critics have accorded to her an enhanced level of moral authority due to her loss of a son in Iraq.
Yet those on the left seem to have little respect for Ms. Sheehan. In fact, their contempt for her is all to obvious. Consider what you would do presented with the awful situation of a friend or acquaintance who had suffered a terrible loss, and was suffering from grief that few of us could imagine. Would you run out and hijack her image, capitalize on her loss for your own political gain? Of course not. Decent people try to lend a hand. Respectful people step in, take a degree of responsibility for their friend's life to help reduce the burden of their loss. Good friends listen, cry and hold their loved one's hand to try to provide an all to inadequate assurance that this too will pass, and with God's help, their friend will begin to smile again.
Grief Pimps are just the opposite. They care not a bit for the suffering mom. Cindy Sheehan in their minds is just another disposable soldier in their war against the President, and for some the United States. They are all to aware, that August 2005 has a certain end date and with it will come the end of the public side Ms. Sheehan's meltdown. Until that time, she can serve as an all too willing dupe to step into the national spotlight in their ongoing attempt blow-up Mr. Bush's presidency.
We've seen this before with Islamic suicide bombers. Its never the Ayatollahs, Arafats or Assads that strap on the backpack, it is always the brainwashed dupes that are convinced that self annihilation is the path to salvation. So it is with Ms. Sheehan. Pumped full of the same tired themes of the left, "Bush lied", "Israel out of Palestine", "It was a war for oil", Ms. Sheehan has been encouraged to step onto the national stage, create as much damage as possible, and then be cast aside to deal with her ruined life when she is of no further use.
The media is no better. Certainly they know the cynicism of this woman's users, and without question they're aware of the shallowness of her charges. Instead of reporting her story in the appropriate context with a minimum of exploitation, they gleefully convey her every utterance. My conservative brethren believe that this is further proof of the media's left leaning bias, and perhaps they're correct. Yet, I believe this gives the media too much credence. Hitchens put it best in his Slate article yesterday, "it is a story that almost writes itself". You see, it is Ms. Sheehan's gift, as it were, to those scribblers that prefer not too work too hard in the dog days. I suppose that makes the media the "Grief Johns".
So we'll be plagued by Cindy's tragic visage for a couple of more weeks. The President isn't going to meet with her, although I imagine that if he felt it would solve her problems and let her return home comforted he wouldn't have hesitated. The grief pimps will continue to wring every last drop of publicity out of her, until a better opportunity comes along, and with every new development on her journey to oblivion, we'll have a front row seat.
Me? I'm going to continue to say a prayer every day for Cindy. You should too.