March 11th, 2008


A Rose is a Tulip is an Iris

Why do we know of Cindy Sheehan?

Vigil for Peace posterService Banner with Gold Star and 2 Blue Stars -- from the Library of CongressWe have heard of her because her soldier son was killed in the Iraq War on April 4, 2004.

That's her horrible claim to fame.  Since her son was killed, she had done a number of noisy things to capture attention. But, if her son was still alive, Cindy would be an unknown Central California woman.

Mothers of servicemen (and women?) killed in service of the country have been called Gold Star Mothers since at least 1918. The name came from the custom of soldiers' families hanging a banner in their windows. The banners showed blue stars for each active serviceman and gold stars for any soldier who was killed.

Cindy Sheehan is a Gold Star Mother. By definition. By tragedy.

But, I got my fingers slapped when I wrote a press release for this upcoming Sunday's Peace Vigil co-sponsored by my church.  I referred to her as "Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan".

Oh, no, no!  Don't call her that!

Apparently Cindy's tactics have angered the local (national?) Gold Star Mother's Club.  Supposedly the organization doesn't want Cindy to use the term "Gold Star Mother". If I were to identify Cindy as a Gold Star Mother, the San Francisco peace coalition organizers would first have to meet and come to consensus on using that title in face of the opposition of the official club.  So, the publicity poster and press releases call Cindy "Peace Mom".

Instead of employing the gut-wrenching powerful reminder that Cindy's son -- and other real people -- have died in this war, we use a wishy-washy flower-child-sounding term than will offend, or remind, no one.

Reason 125,047 why the war continues and Bush Republicans win too many elections.