What entitles someone to speak?
What license is anyone given to have a point of view?
You know what folks say about opinions and what they are likened to...
I think about this when I watch how Cindy Sheehan camps out in Texas not too far from where the President is enjoying his five week, brush-clearing, bike riding vacation (I believe this is where Mel Brooks would look into the camera and with that smirk of exaltation announce, "it's good to be the king!").
Vultures from all sides of the political spectrum are working to make her a pawn or patsy in their game that dehumanizes anyone who would stand in the way of their ideology.
If you're on Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh's list (I don't count Bill O'Reilly, here, not because he's relevant, but because he's an absolute joke..I mean, really, anybody who would tell John McCain that torture is effective treatment of P.O.W.'s cannot be taken seriously), then you get my attention. What color does the "threat level" have to be toward W or to the body politic of the Republicans that constitutes a "contract" being placed upon this woman?
It's not that I think the President has sent folks to engage in the assassination of this woman's character. It's just the posture some folks take when a counterpoint arises. And even if the White House did not knowingly unleash the goons (like W's buddy Raphael Palmeiro didn't knowingly take steroids), they're sure not trying to stop it. Oh, yea, there's always that "plausible deniability" thing to consider, too.
I'm not clear what's happened to dissent in America. There was something noble about it once upon a time. We no longer honor dissent, we crush it. We discredit it.
But with Cindy Sheehan, who is, without any question, anti-war, politically liberal - there is this one point that gives her the right to have any opinion she chooses - she's a Gold Star Mother.
She's earned it.
She's paid a price that blowhards who hide behind their mics haven't the courage to consider.
And truth be told, if I suffered the same loss, I'd surely want to be clear in my own heart that there was a good answer to the question, "for what noble cause did my son die?"
The men and women who serve in the armed forces are to be respected and their service honored. All of which means, there needs to be some level of clarity that what they are being called to do carries with it the requisite justifications required to pull the proverbial trigger.
Mr. President, these are men and women who have, are, and will kill and die in the belief that what they are doing has honor for no other reason than that you say it does. So it's fair to ask, does it?
That's a question for politicos to answer, I guess, ... or, maybe those folks who would fail to honor this essential plank of the American voice, dissent, are afraid of what a growing number of Americans are starting to believe about why we're even there in the first place. This isn't about whether the President should give one lowly citizen an audience to field her question. On it's face, it's a silly proposition. One lowly citizen seeking a redress of her grievances from the powers that be....yep, pretty damn stupid.
But her question isn't hers alone, although she feels it with a passion that most of us do not. No, this is about something else. And it's about that which is not even hidden anymore - a carefully constructed and orchestrated machine that shields the Power from voices who counter the party line.
If the Commander in Chief who ordered Cindy Sheehan's son in harm's way can't, or won't, answer her inquiry because he fears dissent, such ignobility might also reflect upon whether there is any nobility in the elected leaders who lusted for this military action in the first place.