June 03, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Forsakes Allegiance?

Why is allegiance necessary? Who does one owe allegiance to? What does it mean to pledge allegiance? Is allegiance given with no strings attached or is there an underlying promise of benefits? In the light of Cindy Sheehan's recent resignation from being the 'Face' of the American anti-war movement, the word 'allegiance' gains a place under the spotlight. Many of us are familiar with Sheehan and her rise to fame after her much publicized protest against the Iraq War outside of Bush's ranch in Texas. We know about her irreparable loss, the death of her 20 year old son Casey, and about her courage and passion as a mother and as a vocal proponent for bringing our troops back from Iraq. After reading the contents of her resignation, I felt a sense of loss that I could not configure. It was definitely not a personal loss by any stretch of imagination; I had never heard of her until I saw her on TV, nor was her resignation a public loss, like at the death of Dr. King and John F. Kennedy. It was, perhaps, a loss of faith marked by a stellar incident; Sheehan's open letter of resignation. The loss of staunch faith the American people have in their identity as Americans who inhabit a 'land of the free', and take immense pride in it because it is 'the home of the brave'. Cindy Sheehan's words hit a bitter chord when she says, "The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. 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."

Do we owe allegiance, and to whom? Do we pledge this allegiance in exchange for something, like Cindy Sheehan did; in the hope of "liberty and justice for all"!


Dr. Deb said...

Isn't is sad that she is "withdrawing" from her mission? It truly makes me feel that we are failing in so many ways to get our voices heard by those in power. PLedging allegiance seems like an empty phrase.

Lisa Francisco aka AVIANA said...


Thanks for stopping by. I won't be posting for a bit as I deal with some things.

Should we pledge allegiance, why should we pledge allegiance? I don't know. I think we pledge because of what we believe this country was founded on (whether that is true or not). Truth, liberty, equality. We do this although we know for the most part that it is not the case. But I think it is good to keep pledging because despite knowing the hypocrisy of it all, pledging is almost like you hoping for the postive. You are hoping for what you are saying is the truth. Hope is always a good thing....

eshuneutics said...

Not being American, this dilemma (on a daily basis) does not concern me. But having made that point--that I approach the subject dispassionately--I have never understood why an "allegiance" should be made to a country. Making an allegiance is a "patriotic" gesture. Declaring war is a patricarchal gesture. Both words have their roots in an ancient father-land concept: I swear to my country is on the same level as I die for my country. In a sense--and this reflects the feeling of many in the UK over Iraq: leaders who have caused pointless deaths by making bad judgements should not expect any promises from those whose principles they have betrayed. The failure of one concept is a failure in the other. "Pledging", as dr deb says, is an "empty phrase" when a person is in a double-fail position.

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BD said...

I tend to agree with Lisa.

It's because of the same pledge that we still have a fairly large American constituency that opposes the current state of foreign policy.

Unfortunately because of diversity of human thought that same pledge is interpreted differently by different people.

BD said...

Quoting a few parts of the letter:
I have spent every available cent I got from the money a “grateful” country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died)

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

Has Cindy Sheehan stopped believing in what she believed in? I guess not.

It must have taken a lot of strength on her part to come up with this decision.