Tuesday, August 23, 2005

On speaking for yourself

Okay, so as the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" caravan winds its way toward Crawford, I'd like to remind the world that, um, she never said she did.

Granted, others have called her the voice of a bunch of different things, mostly of mothers who have lost sons in Iraq. Some mothers (and fathers, too, and loved ones of all kinds) have been inspired by her either to join her in Crawford or to protest the war in their own way. Others disagree with her, some vehemently. But through it all, the person who hasn't claimed to speak for anyone but herself is Cindy Sheehan. She doesn't shrink from expressing her opinions, no matter how controversial, but she also doesn't assign those opinions to anyone but herself.

A similar subject was raised in Sunday's AJC, where Ronald Griffith, who lost his son in Iraq, writes that "Sheehan doesn't speak for all of us." He shares with us the opinions of several other mothers and fathers in his situation, parents who disagree with Sheehan and feel that the war is noble and has a purpose. I might disagree with them on that last point, but their feelings are certainly valid. It would be interesting to see them sit down with Cindy and her Gold Star Mothers and compare notes, not about the war, but about the children they've lost; they probably have more in common than they realize.

Regardless, Ronald Griffith doesn't speak for the people currently sitting in Crawford, waiting for Bush to come out of his compound and address reality. But then, Griffith doesn't claim to speak for anyone but himself, and he's good enough to allow others to speak for themselves in his column. That's all that Cindy Sheehan is doing, and the people waiting with her in Crawford are doing it, too. That's why it's not just one voice down there, speaking for the rest. It's a bunch of voices. And the YDSFM,C crowd is just going to add another bunch of voices, until no one can understand what anyone else is saying.

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