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March 05, 2007

Stuck in Vermont 11: Cindy Sheehan

It isn't every day that you are lucky enough to spend an entire day with Cindy Sheehan.  And after driving with Cindy from Burlington to Montpelier to Middlebury and back to Burlington again on the Peace Bus, I was exhausted.  How does she do it? 

Cindy_1_1 When I asked what kept her going, she said simply, "The idea that there's people dying for no reason."

During the weekend of March 2, 3, and 4, Cindy Sheehan, John Nichols (associate editor of the Nation magazine), former Army Sgt. Drew Cameron (Iraq Veterans Against the War), former Marine Cpl. Matt Howard,  (Iraq Veterans Against the War), former Army Sgt. Adrienne Kinne (Iraq Veterans Against the War and a psychologist for the Veterans Administration Medical Center in White River Junction), and Newfane Selectboard Member Dan DeWalt (organizer of the town meeting resolutions) barnstormed through eleven towns in Vermont to speak in support of citizen actions and participation in Vermont town meeting on March 6.

I spent the entire day of March 3rd following this amazing group of passionate, eloquent, hard-working people - first to the Statehouse to speak out in support of the resolution to bring the troops home, and then to Middlebury College and UVM to rally support for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney on Vermont's town meeting day.

Cindy_4_busIt was snowing hard but our fearless bus driver, Jim Goodnow of Veterans for Peace managed to steer the bus clear of any ditches.  Jim was with Cindy when she first started Camp Casey and came to national attention in August of 2005.  I asked him if he had any idea of the amazing ride that was to follow and he said that he had an inkling when he saw Cindy up late the night before working on her laptop:

"I could tell by her concentration and the spirit, the aura about her, the presence there, that there was something that would be happening.  I didn't know the exact dimension of it." - Jim Goodnow

Cindy_7_hug There is something magical about Cindy that is hard to describe.  She is an articulate and powerful speaker and everywhere she goes, people flock to her, shake her hand, hug her and tell her their stories.  She inspires, provokes and causes a commotion wherever she goes.

At the Statehouse, Cindy was greeted by a woman clad in American flag clothing and holding a sign that said, "Go Home Sheehan."  Cindy took a moment to examine her sign and address her personally.  She smiled and said, "I wish I was home right now, in California." 

Cindy is always on the move, recently back in the States after visiting Turkey, she has traveled all over the world spreading her message.  Demanding an end to the war in Iraq, a safe return home for the soldiers and impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

Cindy_6_vets_1 She was joined on the Vermont leg of her tour of duty by former Iraq soldiers, Drew Cameron, Matt Howard, and Adrienne Kinne who are all with Iraq Veterans Against the War.   These three speak with heart-breaking honesty and use their personal experiences to display the disastrous effects of the on going war in Iraq. 

During the Senate hearing, Matt addressed supporters of the war and President Bush:

"On many levels I empathize and sympathize with them because they have a lot to lose, I had a lot to lose.  When you realize that everything that you put your life on the line for is a myth and was for nothing, that will shatter you.  It has shattered me and I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my life...for the last two years of my life upon discharge, when I realized that I was NOT there to help the Iraqi people." - Matt Howard

No matter what your feelings on the war, you cannot help but be touched when you hear these veterans speak.  They were there to live through things you have only seen on television and all of them are significantly younger than me.  They went to a foreign land on our behalf and now they have come home to speak out and uphold the constitution they swore to defend.

Cindy_3_statehouse Alongside writer John Nichols, Cindy and the vets brought their messages to eleven VT towns in three days.  The hope of organizers Dan DeWalt and Jimmy Marc Leas (owner of the bus!) was that this barnstorming tour for peace would motivate Vermonters to use their unique rights on Town Meeting Day tomorrow, March 6th, to ask that the troops be brought home and the President be impeached.  You can find out more at their website, Vermont Impeachment Movement.

Cindy_2It isn't easy traveling from town to town on a rickety old bus in a snowstorm.  We were often behind schedule, looking for bathrooms, tired and ravenous.  But despite all this, everyone's spirits and morale remained high. 

The talk never strayed far from politics, even when discussing the odd parallel world where Anna Nicole's burial and Britney's head shaving garner more press than people dying overseas.  These people have a mission and it informs every breath they take.

There was a nice little moment when Ralph Nader called John's cell and a ripple went through the bus as everyone realized, "Ralph?  Ralph's on the phone?"  John handed the phone to Cindy and she smiled, "Hi Ralph, it's Cindy!"

Earlier, they had discussed the possibility of Cindy running for President.  It is easy to imagine, she causes such a stir everywhere she goes.  Who would have thought that from one impromptu political action in Texas in August of 2005, Cindy could have paved such an impressive path. 

Cindy_8_applauseIt truly does go to show that one person, no matter who you are, can make a difference in this world.  We are lucky to live in a state that allows the freedom to discuss these matters and more at our town meetings. 

Happy town meeting day everyone!  And many thanks to Cindy, John, Adrienne, Matt, and Drew for touring our state and to Jimmy and Walt for organizing this, to Jim for driving and to Liza for bringing the baked goods!

Beautiful opening music by Swale, "Soft Fireworks," followed by rocking Cave Bees tune, "Mine All Mine."

PS Did you know Cindy is on MySpace?  She likes to use it to connect to her younger fans and joked that she has thousands more friends than Michael Moore!

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Comments

ron jacobs

Thanks! As a former Vermonter now in North Carolina, this made me miss the old place. At the same time, it inspired me to work to make the whole country as responsive as vermont...
ron

abbie

Job well done miss eva - yet again! what a task to whittle 5 hours into 10 minutes...but a tremendous KUDOS to you for actually taking the time to make that happen. Your vlog is a piece of that phenomenal effort and spirit that makes vermont the special, active and engaged on many different levels, democratic place it is...now you BeST get some sleep so that head of yours can recuperate...xoxoxo

casey

Really great one, Eva.

greg

nice one eva, i missed cindy at UVM. nice to see these highlights.
if you ever want some other music for stuck in VT, let me know, i could send over some of my stuff.
peace, greg

Eva

Thanks guys, Cindy and the vets were really inspiring. It is next to impossible to distill all they had to say into a 10 minute vlog but I guess it is just a slice.

YES Greg! Would love to use some of your music! THANK YOU!

Bob

I'm a ex-marine who marched for peace before the war. After our voices were ignored by those in power I became more cynical about democracy. I guess if you lose a child like Cindy did you can no longer afford cynicism. So keep fighting the good fight and thanks to you Eva for bringing us this great video!
Bob

Caro

Celebrat-ing LOVE PEACE CHOIVE DIVERSITY Fertile Seeds Gardens and Om

Caroline Tavelli-Abar

C choice see V

Q_Monroe

when am i going to get one of those business cards?

MAX WATTS

right on, cindy ! from a frita (friend of the resistance inside the armies) in oz

Gordon Soderberg

Great Video! I'm surprised that did not find it until now.

I've been documenting what Veterans For Peace, IVAW and Cindy Sheehan has been doing since we took her to Crawford, Texas August, 6th, 2005.

Your readers might be interested in these websites I've created to help network organizations and activists together and to give them a space where they can share their stories, images, videos, and ideas on how to end the waring nature of the Unitesd States.

IVAW Actions
New Orleans Voices For Peace
San Jose Veterans For Peace

I would encourage everyone who wants peace in our lifetime to create a website like these for their community, organization or personal views and link them with other groups to help spread the good works being done to save this country from it's failed leadership.

Go to: www.ning.com and create a social network of your own. It is free! and it works very well.

Here is another example: www.a28.org

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