Sunday, August 14, 2005

Post-Traumatic Transformation: Cindy Sheehan

Most of you are probably up on Cindy Sheehan's protest outside of George Bush's Crawford ranch. Many other bloggers are tracking the progress and happenings of Sheehan's protest, including the Code Pink. I am wholly supportive and quite impressed with Sheehan's determination to give a voice to countless other mothers and fathers who have children in Iraq or lost children in Iraq. I haven't really had anything profound to say about this event.

However, an article in the York Daily News caught my eye with its headline: "A grieving mom or a political activist?" (Btw, the original article, in the WaPo has a different title!) The title suggests there is only "one" answer to the question, by presenting the issue as X or Y. Why can't Sheehan be both? In fact, I would argue that X (grieving mother) is the catalyst for Y (political activist.)

Not too long ago I was talking to a woman who works at Vicitim Witness Assistance, a social service agency that advocates for women, men or children who have been vicitms of assault (they help victims with the courts, legal representation, counseling, etc).

One of the observations that this woman made was that she saw less cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and more inspiring cases of Post-Traumatic Transformation. Many find great strength and power out of tragedy. One woman whose young daughter was murdered by her husband, after she fled, has now become a committed advocate of victims' rights and offers her time up regularly to speak to young children about violence in relationships. She has dedicated her life to prevent this sort of tragedy from befalling another mother or father.

Sheehan, thank goodness, is out there doing the same noble and brave work. The political spin-meisters out there, trying to paint what she is doing as blatant "political activism" make me sick. First of all, what is wrong with "political activism"? Surely the left aren't the only activists out there. Secondly, how dare these pundits question the grief of a woman who lost her son in War? Have any of the loudest critics lost children too?

In our darkest moments, we may find a new and more courageous self emerging. Cindy Sheehan is one of those amazing Post-Traumatic Transformers. And, she is my hero.

UPDATE: Read BlondeSense's post on this. And, check out this picture at the Daily Kos of the crosses that a pro-war protestor smashed into.