Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan VS Terry Schiavo, Jerry Springer, Public VS Private, Iraq War

(update, thanks to Toxic-JamRock8 for correcting the spelling. I am greatful) While listening to Springer on the Radio today (not my favorite of the “Left” talk shows), a caller said that the Cindy Sheehan cause is for the Democratic Party as the Terry Schiavo cause was for the Republican Party. The caller wasn’t speaking about some type of search for truth, but how both causes brings out the worse in both Republicans and Democratic. I was trying to think if there were any real bases for comparison here. Springer suggested that whereas the Schiavo case was a “Private” one, the Sheehan case was a “public” one. In my studies this past year, I looked closely at the difference between “public” and “private.” What constitutes the two realms and what happens when you take something deemed to be “private” and make it “public.” Making a “private” issue “public” forces that issue out into the open for public debate and, possibly, change in public views about that issue. In a way, then, the Sheehan and the Schiavo cases are both the same and different. In both cases we have issues deemed “private” (death and how we die) and there is an effort to make these issues “Public.” The issue is, however, that the Cindy Sheehan case should have been public in the first place! War is a public issue, not something private as it affects all citizens. There has been an attempt to make this war and the deaths of civilians and service men and women private. Unlike other wars, we do not see the body bags coming home. We see the numbers, the death tolls, but death tolls are faceless and therefore, like my wise Mother always said: “Out of sight, out of mind.” By keeping the deaths “faceless” our government and news agencies are working to make the war causalities “private” and therefore not open to public debate. Now, being only 39, I do not have a memory of body bags coming home from WWII or Korea or Vietnam. I do, however vaguely and from reruns and history shows, remember images of the Vietnam War being broadcast on our televisions. Certainly, as many have pointed out before me, the visual images forced citizens to debate the Vietnam War--its merits or lack of—in public forums. This debate helped create a base of public protest against the war. The Bush administration does not like public protest or public debate (do you remember all the reports of individuals and groups protesting Bush during his second campaign being escorted out and away from rallies supporting Bush?). Dissidents are not encouraged and therefore, in many ways, true democracy is also discouraged. By keeping “public” issues “private,” the Bush administration is working to limit public debate and protest. Cindy Sheehan is not trying to take an issue once deemed “private” and make it “public.” She is quite simply trying to keep what should be a “public” issue from becoming a “private” issue. Certainly death is “private,” but war is “pubic.” Death as a result of war is a “public” concern as the “public” supported this war (and no, don’t get yourself all upset –saying “I didn’t support this war,” I am saying “Public” here in general, not specific). Let us try not to confuse the two cases of Schiavo and Sheehan. I know as humans we all like to compare one wound to another (my knee has a bigger scar than your elbow) but comparisons can be deceiving. War is a “Public” issue, so, let’s take a cue from Sheehan and stop the effort being put forth to make it a “private” issue. With that said, it’s time for my morning fiber. Rebecca

1 comment:

  1. Interesting essay - and I agree. BTW, it's Schiavo. Keep blogging. Peace.


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