Cindy Sheehan

It was the end of another shift pushing pasta at the restaurant I work, in the stroller strewn San Francisco neighborhood that is Noe Valley. We were closing and I was leaving but as I was waiting for my co-worker, Eman, I looked over to one of the few remaining tables in the place and I saw a woman’s face that seemed so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I stared for a moment, unnoticed, and then it dawned on me, “Holy shit, that’s Cindy Sheehan.”

But I needed confirmation. So I scurried over to my manager and asked her if that was Sheehan. My manager had no idea who Cindy Sheehan was. Ok. So I asked my fellow server, Julie, and she, too, didn’t have a clue who I was talking about.

What the hell? I know Julie doesn’t watch a lot of TV and my manager has two kids and probably doesn’t have a lot of time to keep up with current events, but surly, sometime in the past three years since Sheehan’s son died in the line of duty in Iraq and she began her crusade to get Bush to acknowledge her, these two people would have heard of Cindy Fucking Sheehan.

But they hadn’t. And there was no one else to ask, but by then, I was convinced. So the question was, what should I do? My first instinct, which is always my instinct when I see someone “famous” and I feel we have a solid steel relationship even though they’ll probably think I’m crazy, is to march straight up to her and just start talking, not fully knowing what might come out of my mouth.

In this case, though, I did know. I wanted to walk up to Cindy Sheehan and say “Ms. Sheehan I think you are the shit and I respect and admire you a great, great deal.”

I wanted to tell her that I respect her for standing up so fiercely against the injustice done to the more than 3000 men and women who have died in Iraq in an illegal, unethical and unnecessary “war.” That I respect her for representing the families of these victims, even though some mothers and fathers of the dead have spat in her face, screaming that by protesting she is disrespecting their children, who died fighting for her freedom to hold such protests. I wanted to thank her for challenging our criminal president by asking for a simple conversation. And showing the world how heartless he really is by denying a grieving mother such a simple request.

I wanted to let her know that I, along with thousands of others in my own age group, think that she is awesome for camping out in from of GWB’s ranch in Texas in protest, no doubt making him extremely uncomfortable and maybe even making him quiver in his snakeskin cowboy boots. I wanted to tell Cindy that after Dubya reduced Scooter Libby’s sentence, the fact that she announced that she would challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi, should she not try to impeach President Bush was, simply, kick-ass.

All this went through my mind as I stood there staring at table twenty-one. But I didn’t go over, I couldn’t. Cindy was with three other people in the booth. A younnger, passionate looking woman sitting next to her, talking about political policy and war tactics. Across from her was a couple, probably the same age as Cindy, they looked weary, maybe surprised to be reliving the political and social upheaval they experienced in the ’60s.

Then there was Cindy. There was a sadness and exhaustion in her face that permeated my soul. A sadness of a deeply hurt and complex person that I felt I shouldn’t disturb. Not that she would be angry, but maybe, maybe she was just tired.

I realize some might say that my kind words would cheer her up and lift her spirits for the brief moments that we would speak. I thought this too. But I thought, also, that the exhaustion in her face came from carrying the weight of so many peoples beliefs and intense fury on her shoulders and that she needed, just tonight, for this one meal, some peace. So that’s what I gave her.

Later, after I had left the restaurant and was walking down the street with Eman, I told him whom I saw. I had to physically restrain him from running back down the street, through the door and to her table to get…an autograph. I absolutely could not let him reduce her to an autograph signer, like some Hollywood pop tart pop star. No way. I told him all my reasons and I still don’t fully believe he understands why I had stop him.

I just wanted her to have some peace.

So thank you Cindy. You are an inspiration and the very definition of a patriot and an American. My hat is off to you.



January 6, 2008. Politics, Thoughts, Words & Writing.

One Comment

  1. coollikeme replied:

    I would rather thank Cindy’s son for fighting for this country. I think you are thanking the wrong person.

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