Texas Liberal

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When I Saw Cindy Sheehan In Crawford, Texas

Last year I went to the Cindy Sheehan protest at President Bush’s ranch in Crawford. This is what I saw. I wrote this a couple of months after I made the visit.  

I drove to Crawford, Texas, to see Cindy Sheehan protesting outside of President Bush’s ranch. Crawford is about 41/2 hours from where I live in Houston.  Ms. Sheehan’s son was killed in the Iraq war. She spent much of the summer camped near the entrance to President Bush’s ranch. She wanted, but did not get, a meeting with the President. Before she was eclipsed by Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Sheehan received a lot of attention and was effective in helping diminish public support of President Bush’s war.  Crawford, near Waco, is small. It has a main street, railroad tracks, a few big silos and not much else.  According to the Waco Herald-Tribune, if I had made it to Crawford a day earlier I could have seen Al Sharpton and Martin Sheen. The Monday I went was calm. Ms. Sheehan’s protest was well-organized. Someone had the foresight to buy a house in Crawford a few years ago thinking it would be useful for some type of action against President Bush’s policies. It’s called the Crawford Peace House. The Peace House is next to a vacant lot that was used for parking the many cars that were there. I saw license plates from all over the country.  At the Peace House you signed your name in a register, looked at some photos of the protest, grabbed a bottle of water and, if inclined, made a donation.  A fleet of vans shuttled visitors from the Peace House to Ms. Sheehan’s protest.  Volunteers drove the vans. The woman who drove my van was a teacher who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. A pastor of some kind was among the passengers. I’m not sure what denomination he was. But I can tell you whatever faith he holds is a more peaceful faith than that held by Mr. Bush.  The preacher flew in from Baltimore just to see Cindy Sheehan. He said he had given an anti-war sermon that was written up in the Baltimore Sun. 

An older lady sitting next to me told me about a protest she attended at the Texas state capitol building in 1944.  It was great to be with people who shared my opinions and who had gone out their way to express these views. I encounter decent people everyday. But to actually be surrounded by allies was a welcome change.  I had read Mr. Bush’s ranch is in a dismal place. I would not agree. While I’d prefer a summer beach home in Newport, the land was not entirely flat and I’m sure you can see a lot of stars at night. There are even some trees. It’s quiet and if Mr. Bush is ever so moved, I’m sure he can get a lot of thinking done.  Ms. Sheehan’s protest took place under a big white tent. The tent was needed because it was very hot. Under the tent was a kitchen, a stage and sound system, tables and chairs, supplies of bottled water and recent newspapers and magazines to pass the hours.  The Cindy Sheehan protest in Crawford had the energy and sincerity of grassroots activity and also possessed the sound logistical and organizational qualities of a political rally for Howard Dean or John Kerry.     

By the time I made it to Crawford, Ms. Sheehan had become a celebrity and it was not so easy to see her. She was living in a mobile trailer and was not always out and about.  When Ms. Sheehan began her protest she camped by the side of the road and lived in a tent. Anybody who showed up could probably speak to her.  As the protest grew, a local landowner allowed his land to be used for a larger campsite. Access to Ms. Sheehan was limited. A crew of gatekeepers kept most people from Ms. Sheehan. The only reason I saw Ms. Sheehan at all was because she came out of the trailer to greet a group of high school students. I saw her from maybe ten feet away. I was blocked from coming closer by yellow crime scene tape. I found nothing wrong with this.Once you got to the tent there was not much to do. I signed my name in a register, put a few dollars in a jar and walked around. After about 40 minutes I got in one of the vans and headed back to “downtown” Crawford. On weekends there were rallies. On weekdays you simply came and offered your support with your presence. Back in downtown Crawford I walked into a store billing itself as the largest source of George W. Bush memorabilia in the world. In front of the store was a flat bed trailer carrying a large replica of the Liberty Bell flanked on both sides by two big tablets etched with the Ten Commandments. I bought a Western White House coffee mug and other trinkets. I did not buy the bust of Robert E. Lee.  My day in Crawford to see Ms. Sheehan was time well-spent. I was with people who shared my beliefs and stuck $30 in the various collection jars. Most days should be so good.   

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August 30, 2006 Posted by | Good People, Politics, Texas, Things I've Done | Leave a comment