Cindy Sheehan: Welcome Home
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 19 April 2006
"Go home," a Crawford neighbor of Camp Casey, her face deformed with rage, yelled at me as about 50 of us walked the four miles from Camp Casey I to Camp Casey II on Good Friday. We were re-enacting the Stations of the Cross. I was hauling a 12-pound cross on my shoulders, which was Station 12: Jesus Dies. The cross kept getting heavier as we walked along in the high noon Texas sun, but it was not nearly as heavy as the cross that George Bush handed me on April 4, 2004.
"We are home, thank you," I replied happily, as I flashed a peace sign to her.
Camp Casey is our home. Whether a person returned this weekend or it was his first visit to Camp Casey, this Easter 2006, we welcomed him home. Returning Camp Caseyites had such a happy glow and new Camp Caseyites, like my daughter Carly, had such looks of amazed wonder on their faces. Carly told a reporter that she was so glad that she came to see that her brother's sacrifice has created such an atmosphere of tranquility and awe. Camp Casey brings healing of broken spirits, from vets who have been so damaged by war, families who have had our hearts trampled, to wonderful Americans who realize that if we allow BushCo to continue leading our country down the road to fascism and violence, our very souls are at stake - from people whom the Rev. Lowery said were "stealing the soul of America."
Camp Casey is the home of everyone and anyone working for peace and justice. It is where we all gather together in solidarity, confident in the fact that what we are doing is transforming the future and sowing the seeds of developing a more peaceful world, where the people who promote war are considered the deranged and dangerous traitors and are shunned from polite society. We had 14 more people working for justice who got arrested again in the ditches of Camp Casey I. The DA in the county refuses to file or drop the charges from the arrests at Thanksgiving. We want to challenge the First Amendment legality of the laws, which were obviously written to suppress dissent, but we can't do that when the complaint lies in the box of the DA for six months. We want our day in court, and the DA refuses to allow us to have it. Our next challenge will be in Federal Court.
As for my part, my life is one of frenetic activity - I rapidly move from place to place alone and lonely. I have friends and acquaintances everywhere, but can never stay in one place long enough to establish any kind of meaningful relationships with anyone. Even if I have any time to socialize, I am always too tired. Not when I am home at Camp Casey.
Camp Casey is the place for me where I assemble with my heart family (and now my "blood" family, also) and recharge my batteries for the interminable and exhausting struggles against BushCo and their lies and inhumanity.
When the convoy of the bus and cars filled with people that had picked me up at the airport pulled up in front of the Crawford Peace House, I was so relieved; it felt like a heavy burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was really home, after months of traveling all over the world and enduring the slings and arrows of the outrageous neo-con smear cult. The love and acceptance at Camp Casey is whole and wholesome and safe and secure. No matter where my stuff stays while my other stuff travels with me and long after Camp Casey is needed any longer, I will always feel like it was my home: the place where I grew up to be me in the fullest sense of the word.
A man brought me some bumper stickers along with a silver pin in the shape of handcuffs to commemorate all of my arrests for peace. The bumper stickers read: "Texas is Bush Country," with "Bush" crossed out and "Cindy" written over "Bush." Texas is definitely not Bush country, with his approval rating even dipping below 50% there, too, but in the heart of McClennan County, it is Bush country. Camp Casey and the Crawford Peace House are oases in the middle of a desert of ignorance, stubbornness and fear.
During our rally on Saturday where there were over 600 people from all over the country in attendance, about 100 "Bikers for Bush" and some people on horseback came by Camp Casey in some kind of misguided and failed attempt to intimidate us and show us how much they still support the failed and murderous policies of one of our close neighbors (who we chased off from his vacation home this Easter).
My friend and Gold Star Dad, Juan Torres, went to the side of the road to confront the counter-protestors with a picture of his dead son, John. One of the horsemen said: "F**k you and f**k your son." Juan's only son is dead and this miserably callous cowboy probably considers himself a Christian out doing the Lord's work as repulsively preached by BushCo. After this incident and when the other hate-filled man plowed over the crosses last summer, I can't believe that we at Camp Casey and in the peace movement are still accused of being the ones who dishonor our sons by what we do!
The horseback rider also had a sign on the back of his poor horse, who was probably embarrassed by his rider's behavior. The sign read: "Cindy go Home." He told our security presence that he should "Go in the tent and shoot that bitch." Don't these people know that I am not the only citizen who makes the pilgrimage to Crawford, Texas to demand answers to the question, "What Noble Cause?" and who is working for an end to this insane and immoral war? Even if I left Camp Casey, as I had to in August for a week, the movement would still continue to grow and thrive. The peace movement is unstoppable, and whether I am shot or quit voluntarily, BushCo is on its way out and peace is on the march even if I am out in front or not.
Our hero, Rev. Joseph Lowery, who stood in front of George and Laura and challenged him at Mrs. King's funeral, came out to Camp Casey for the weekend, and he added so much amazing grace to our gathering with his humor and healing presence. The Reverend encouraged us all to be agitators and he also ordained all of us as "chaplains" in the crusade for peace. Along with always remarkable entertainment, Camp Casey Easter was the best Camp Casey yet, and the experience just keeps getting richer and more layered with healing, health, peace and love.
We Camp Caseyites would be honored if you would join us at our Summer '06 edition, which will also occur with or without the presence of our annoying and rude neighbor who has never even come down the road to do the neighborly thing by welcoming us and listening to our stories and answering our questions.
We have an ambitious schedule for the summer Camp Casey romp this year. We will be holding a workshop for young activist training; an International Peace Conference (Imagine, World Peace found in the proximity of Bush's faux-ranch!); and an International War Crimes Tribunal, where we will petition George Bush to stroll down the road and answer accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
If you would like to be on our list to receive updates about Camp Casey and other important peace events like the major war protest in New York City sponsored by United for Peace and Justice; or our 24 hour vigil in front of the White House on Mother's Day, sponsored by Code Pink; please go and sign up for email alerts on the Gold Star Families for Peace website; and if you want to make donations for our thrilling summer program go to the Crawford Peace House web site. We also need donations of frequent flyer miles to assist young Iraq Vets and Gold Star Families to get to Crawford for the summer.
With our government threatening to commit nuclear genocide in Iran to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon and George's insistence that he can commit any crime and flush our constitution down the toilet because "we are a nation at war," even though he is the one who deceived us into this very same war, it is now more urgent and imperative than ever to stand up with us and be counted for peace and justice.
Come home this summer to Camp Casey. Live in peace for awhile. Recharge and restore. There is always room for more.