August 18, 2005

the sheehan factor

Last Friday an apolitical non-religious coworker of mine asked me, "How would I found out how many members of Bush's cabinet and Congress have kids in Iraq." She knows I'm a Catholic peace activist, so she'd figure I know. In fact, I don't other than what I remember from Michael Moore's movie Farenheit 911 (which was one member of congress, but I don't quote that as fact).

I was intrigued as to what sparked her interest. Can you guess? … Yep, Cindy Sheehan. Which is why I was not surprised by Dan Froomkin's column in the Washington Post today. Froomkin quotes another columnist, Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle: ""Whether one supports Sheehan's position or not, she put the war back on the front pages in the middle of August and brought the war home to suburbia in a way other antiwar organizers hadn't been able to do."

My interaction with my coworker would seem to confirm this, anecdotally at least. She falls into the soccer mom, not really engaged with civic events category. I'm not even sure if she voted in the last election. But she is paying attention now.

In his June 22, 2004 Statement on Iraq, then US Bishops Conference President Wilton Gregory said: "We reiterate the grave moral concerns previously expressed by our episcopal conference about the military intervention in Iraq and the unpredictable and uncontrollable negative consequences of an invasion and occupation. The events of the past year have reinforced those ethical concerns." It's over a year later, and even more events have transpired that continue to reinforce these ethical questions. We need conversation and discussion as a nation.

We also need to pray for peace. There were more than 1,500 candlelight vigils for peace inspired by Cindy Sheehan last night. Anything that gets folks praying for peace is a good thing in my book.