Letter at length, May 28

Sheehan promotes polarization from the 'Robber Class'

I didn't enjoy Cindy Sheehan's talk. I went to Bloomsbury Books on May 21 to show my respect and appreciation for her courage, her persistence, for the way she's put herself out there in the wake of her tragic loss. She's an inspiring example of someone who's turned grief into a constructive gift. I was disappointed by her message and concerned that she is reaching many people across the country who may accept the easy target she offers.

What I understand her to say is that a "Robber Class" is the cause of our troubles and we are the victims, the dummies who allow ourselves to be robbed. The last thing I want is a new enemy, more polarization and more guilt. Sounds to me like Ms. Sheehan is repackaging old ideas under cute new names like "Myth America."

I remember my smug and self-righteous rejection of The System, The Establishment, during the late '60s, early '70s. It was supremely groovy among my peers to "go back to the land," make your own clothes, grow your own food, build your own shelter. It was also cool to take advantage of The System by getting food stamps even if you had a trust fund, faking a condition so you could draw disability, avoiding employment, stealing from your rich parents. That's the problem with an anti "them" consciousness, we devolve.

I heard Sheehan propose, not that we lie and cheat but that we disengage from the Robber Class and the world they've created, the world of economic collapse and bailout, the world of occupation and war. I don't entirely disagree. I support everyone driving less, growing our own food, supporting local business instead of large corporate chain stores, practicing diplomacy instead of violence and other suggestions Sheehan voiced. However, I can't imagine a world of peace and collaboration with folks separated into the bad robber guys and the good everyone else guys.

So, as distressed as I am that those of us who populate Cindy Sheehan's Robber Class are messing with our world while the rest of us are too few or too comfortable/scared/confused/exhausted/ignorant/disheartened to stop them, and Obama has not yet turned out to be the president of my dreams, I want to keep the conversation going. Among all of us.

Selene Aitken


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