Thursday, August 25, 2005

Noemie Emery on Cindy Sheehan and the Weapon of Martyrdom

This week's Weekly Standard, as well as its on-line version, has a wonderful piece by Noemie Emery on the whole Cindy Sheehan contretemps.

It's a great take-down of the moral exhibitionism on display in Crawford, Texas, perpetrated by this mother of a soldier who died bravely in Iraq, along with a virtual "usual suspects" list of far Leftie organizations.

Particularly noteworthy is Noemie's discussion of the usual hypocrisy by left-wing media types like the New York Times Maureen Dowd, who waxes demagogic about the "moral authority" of the likes of Sheehan, but ignores the moral authority of those many Gold Star parents and survivors of 9/11 who support the Administration and its policies. As Emery writes:
What she means is the moral authority of those she finds useful. Does she accept the moral authority of Linda Ryan, who finds Sheehan disgraceful? Does she bow to the moral authority of the thousands of parents of the dead and the wounded who support the war and the president, and find her snideness disgusting? Can she begin to guess at what the phrase even means?

There are so many people who have buried children, and so many more who have had children wounded, and so many more who have children in danger, that their political views cannot be uniform. What happens when the opinions behind which they put all of their moral authority collide? When parents and other family members of the dead and wounded disagree about politics, who gets custody of the moral authority? Is the moral authority of Cindy Sheehan compromised by the dissent of her husband, who is also a parent in agony?

It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that for Dowd and her ilk, moral authority stems less from service or suffering than from the potential to cause serious trouble for Bush. Thus combat service gave great moral authority to John Kerry, running against Bush for president, but did nothing at all for the 100-plus Swift Boat Veterans who opposed Kerry, most of whom had more medals than Kerry, had more wounds than Kerry, and also served much longer terms. (Dowd and other liberals denounced these combat veterans as assassins and liars, denying the curative powers of service and sacrifice. But then, c'est la guerre.) To them, the grief of Cindy Sheehan is more valid than the grief of her husband and other numerous relatives, and much more valid than the grief of Linda Ryan, which they fail to acknowledge as meaningful. The grief of a Kristen Breitweiser is more meaningful than that of a Debra Burlingame, and much more meaningful than that of Ted Olson, whose wife died on the plane that went into the Pentagon, but who is also a conservative stalwart, whose wife was also a conservative stalwart, and who argued and won the case of Bush v. Gore. What's his moral authority? Do we need to ask?

I won't repeat the usual platitudes about sharing her grief, for there is little doubt that Sheehan's grief as given way as a primary motivating force to her pathological hatred -- shared by her fellows among the far Left -- for George W. Bush. As a parent of two sons, I can imagine that one of their deaths would cast me into a deep, dank hole from which I would never emerge. My grandparents lost a son in service to the nation, in peacetime. And it wasn't until near the end of their lives, in their eighties, forty years after the fact, that they could even speak of him to me. I certainly wouldn't be spending my time trying to get another meeting with the President, demanding that he explain that which has been explained many times before. Of course, Sheehan uses the usual vacuous far Left tactic of denying that an explanation with which she disagrees even exists (much like the far Left tactic of asserting that a conservative agenda does not exist, an old tactic among Democrats).

And it's difficult to imagine sharing anything with someone who has demonstrated that she is little more than a far-Leftie effectively dancing on the grave of her son, Casey, in order to advance her personal, far-Left, political agenda. It's despicable.

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