Democrats & Liberals Archives

Sheehan: Latest Target of Republican Noise Machine

Cindy Sheehan, grieving the loss of her son in Iraq, sets out on an anti-war crusade by camping out near President Bush’s ranch until she’s able to talk to Bush. I said before that I think Bush should listen to her. But regardless of how you feel about her having an audience with the president, she does not deserve the slimey calumny that the Republican noise machine is heaping on her. This is the same hateful, libelous and disgusting way Bush Republicans always handle those who disagree with them. Don’t discuss the issue. Attack, smear and destroy.

A small sample of bile from the Republican noise machine:

  • RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Her story is nothing more than forged documents."

  • DAVID HOROWITZ: "She has joined forces with an Unholy Alliance on the other side in the epic battle for freedom in the Middle East and has shown that she will do and say anything to discredit the United States and its commander-chief -- acts which serve the enemy and endanger American lives. She is a disgrace to her brave son who gave his life for the freedom of ordinary Iraqis and the security of his countrymen. She has betrayed his sacrifice and embraced his enemies."

  • CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Sheehan's statements "have to be attacked because they are libeling America, endangering America, and they are untrue from beginning to end."

  • BILL O'REILLY: "Other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq ... feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous."
There is lots more like this. All these people attack, call Cindy names, throw dirt. Where is the honest Republican who answers her simple question:

"I said I want the president to explain what was the noble cause that my son died in, because that's what he said the other day when those 14 marines were killed. He said their families can rest assured that their sons and daughters died for a noble cause. And I said, 'What is that noble cause?'"

Bush has offered so many reasons for attacking Iraq. What is the latest one? What is the "noble cause"?

Now, let me be clear. Regardles of how you feel about the Iraq war - against it or for it, withdraw now or stay the course, present a timetable for withdrawal or not, etc. - Cindy, like every single one of us, has a right to speak up. Furthermore, she has a right to civil replies from those who disagree with her. Under no circumstance does she deserve to be trashed, as the Republican noise machine is doing now.

The Republican noise machine, under the tutelage of Karl Rove, has introduced into our public life these harsh, belligerent and confrontational screamings. The Republicans do it because it works. The Republican noise machine got Bush elected governor of Texas by maligning Ann Richards. In the 2000 election it maligned Al Gore. In 2004 it did better: it maligned John McCain, Max Clelland, and of course, John Kerry. Remember the Swiftboat Liars? The machine even maligned Dick Clarke and Paul O'Neil who had worked in the Bush administration because they dissented from Bush's views.

By the way, the Republican noise machine has already started attacking and smearing Hillary Clinton because they think that maybe she will run for president.

People say the country is polarized between left and right. Others talk of blue states and red states. Still others speak of patriotic conservatives and treasonous liberals. Who is doing this polarization? The Republican noise machine.

Yes, it has been successful. But this is the end. When the Republican noise machine attacks a mother who has lost her son in combat, you know, I know, we all know, that this mode of politics is hurtful to all of us. It degrades civility. We are on the verge of becoming a barbarous country. We shout at each other. We insult each other. We can't discuss political issues in a rational manner. It's difficult to maintain a democracy this way.

It's time for a change. Time to snuff out the Republican noise machine. Time to get rid of confrontation, polarization, screaming, shouting, hate. Time to think of the common good by allowing each citizen a respected voice in our affairs. Time to let Cindy, and all Americans, to speak their minds without fear. Time to get a political conversation going by electing more Democrats to Congress.

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 18, 2005 7:10 PM