Cindy Sheehan: No Dancing? No Thanks! – OpEd


I sent out a fundraising appeal to my contacts on Aug 12 which HORRIFICALLY said that I was going to have FUN being Roseanne Barr’s running mate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket this election cycle.

How dare I think that politics could be “FUN?” Only one person was upset with me, but I don’t care, I have to respond.

Of course, the issues facing us are deadly serious and some people have paid MAJOR consequences for the crimes of the US Empire, my son and our family being a good example of this. However, one thing I had to learn very quickly to be able survive the anguish I face on a daily basis, is that no matter how dire circumstances are, “the sun will come up tomorrow.” No matter how tragic life is, it goes on, and on, and on.

Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan

Emma Goldman, anarcho-revolutionary, famously said once: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution!”

Notice, she didn’t say, “Reform,” she said, “revolution” and I think Emma would think our politics and our movements can be trudgingly and mind-numbingly dull!

If I can laugh and have fun, why can’t you?

I have been at rallies and protests in Latin America and am always so envious of the spirit and laughter at them. Oftentimes our marches here in the US are funereal as we slog along frowning and singing a very dispirited version of “We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome,” (we shall sing this song, we shall sing this song, we shall sing this song till we die-i-i.”). In Latin America there is dancing, tambourines, SPIRITED singing and a very liberal amount of “Vivas!” No one in Latin America thinks you are not serious if you are out confronting the establishment: they call you, “Compañera,” not “Clown.”

I have been known, myself, to treat very serious topics with humor and some say, “warmth.” However, here in the US I have to give most of my audiences permission to laugh, then a lot of audience members come up to me after my speech and say, “I didn’t know you were so funny!” That’s me, that’s the way I have always been. Should I allow my tragedy and the obscenity of the US Empire to change me any more than it already has?

Shall we discard being human from our work and become Automatons for Change? Serious, we must be serious; don’t smile, don’t have fun or the suits in DC won’t take you seriously. Oh by the way, speaking of “suits”—don’t forget to wear your lavender polyester pant-suit decorated with a tasteful string of baubles around your neck–how will 1950’s America know you are serious if you don’t do that, for crying in the sandbox?

My being human and acting human allows me to connect in a very real way with other humans on this planet. “Peace” is not an intellectual exercise for me and “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” and freedom to not have to struggle so hard just to survive. Thriving is better than surviving and laughing is usually better than crying.

I just thought of something else funny! Maybe if Roseanne and I acted all serious and junk and played the repressive Reindeer Games of the 1%, we might actually have a chance and get on corporate media more like the other very serious 3rd party candidates. Oh, but wait, they ignore them, too, don’t they?

Maybe, just maybe, 3rd party politics can’t take better root in America because we (not me, we; they, we) think we have to imitate the very cyst-ems (misspelling on purpose) we are trying to overthrow? Our campaign in SF against Pelosi was probably one of the most successful 3rd party/independent runs in a long time and it was against one of the most powerful people in government. Guess what, we worked hard, but we had lots of the F-Word, “FUN!”

How can we reach the masses here in the country with only the dry intellectualism of our ideas? The issues are serious and the solution is simple and elegant: socialist revolution. How can we reach people with the blah, blah, blah of eternal boredom when Mr. and Mrs. Average American mistakingly believes that our current Capitalist in Chief is a frightening shhhhh…socialist?

The bottomline is this: we all work hard, but only some of us have FUN doing it.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having some fun.

I give you permission to laugh and dance.

Try it, you’ll like it…or at the very least, it won’t kill you!

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in the Iraq War by the Mehdi Army on April 4, 2004. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch — a stand which drew both passionate support and angry criticism. More of her writings can be found at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox: Writing from the Emprire.

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