Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan appeared in Ashland Thursday, her latest stop in a string of appearances to promote her online book, "Myth America: 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution!"
She met with about 30 people at Ashland Peace House, before signing copies of her previous works at Bloomsbury Books.
At Peace House, she and audience members discussed a wide range of topics, including President Barack Obama's foreign policy and the Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as training the next generation of anti-war activists.
"We're facing an aging of the peace movement," Sheehan said. "We really need some young blood."
Sheehan earned national recognition in 2005, when she staged a highly vocal protest of President George W. Bush's policies, following the death of her son in Iraq. Now she says the anti-war effort needs a renewed effort from young citizens, if it is to remain alive.
"We rejected so much of what happened under Bush, but somehow it becomes acceptable, or palatable, or appropriate to accept it under Obama," Sheehan said. "Obama's foreign policy has followed Bush's, and that is not acceptable."
She emphasized the importance of local, grassroots political activism. She said the only way for citizens to change the political climate in Washington, D.C., is to stop contributing to the corporations that profit from the war effort.
Audience members were quick to point toward Ashland's reputation for cooperative action as proof that some progress is being made. But almost everyone conceded that conversation alone would not do much to resolve big issues, such as war.
"We've got to make peace as emotionally rewarding as war," said Stacey Bannerman, a community member who was in attendance.
The event's emotional climax came when James Anglin, a Williams resident afflicted with spinal cancer, pled with members for an end to all violence.
"We're not looking at each other's children as our own children," Anglin said. "It's time we start caring now."
Sheehan echoed Anglin's sentiments, with her own appeal to oppose any and all wars. She insisted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were launched under false pretexts, and ended the hour-long meeting with a message for the younger members of the audience.
"If a lot of people do little things, that's more change than one person doing a big thing," she said.
Sheehan ran for congress as an Independent candidate in 2008, but came up short in her bid to unseat Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Though Pelosi is one of congress' most liberal members, Sheehan says Pelosi fell out of favor with her for not taking a more active role in impeachment efforts against former president Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Sheehan's new E-book, "Myth America," is available for download at cindysheehanssoapbox.com.