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A Tale of Two Demonstrations By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, September 27, 2005

FOR THE FEW AMERICANS ENTERTAINING DOUBTS THAT CINDY SHEEHAN is just another grieving mom, the goofy grin she flashed Capitol police as they forcibly removed her from an illegal sit-in in front of the White House yesterday said it all: normal, grief-stricken parents don’t rejoice as they’re headed to the paddy wagon. They also don’t clog up traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of “the people’s house” in a “direct action” protest to shut down the nation’s capital; they aren’t jealous of the media coverage given to their fellow Americans in the midst of a hurricane; and they don’t consort with the motley crew of Hate America leftists who clotted the District of Columbia for the past several days.

Antiwar, Anti-American Hatefest

This weekend, more than 100,000 people attended the Washington, D.C., “peace protests” organized by International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ). The main rally, on Saturday, featured several anti-American, anti-Bush hate screeds from such practiced rabble-rousers as:


  • Cindy Sheehan, whose speech angered even fellow leftists. After camping out on the frontpage of every newspaper in the country for a month, she resented having to share the headlines with acts of God, whining, “I am watching CNN and it is 100 percent [Hurricane] Rita [coverage]…even though it is a little wind and a little rain.”
  • Jesse Jackson, who compared Sheehan to Rosa Parks.
  • George Galloway, clad in keffiyah, who is widely suspected of receiving largesse from Saddam Hussein’s Oil-for-Food money laundering.
  • Lynne Stewart, the convicted terrorist lawyer who passed messages on from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman to his terrorists followers in Egypt. This is the woman Sheehan called “my human Atticus Finch.”
  • Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; former SDS member; and founding board member of Sami al-Arian’s National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom. Bray testified on behalf of al-Arian, saying the two were “kindred spirits.” This includes a propensity for violence; Bray once told a similar “peaceful” crowd, “Let's all go into jihad, and throw stones at the face of the Jews.
  • “Poet” Amiri Baraka, who lived down to his image as a radical hatemonger. His very first sentence was: “First, I must confess that I am a Communist.” Two sentences later, he quoted Mao Tse-tung. He then stated, “I am not against a people’s war against” imperialism, racism, and other such ideals, “because that is the only way” to overthrow these evils. He tritely labeled White House Republicans “the Assholes of Evil.”
  • Ibrahim Remy of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who spoke adoringly of the “political prisoner” H. Rap Brown.
  • Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-GA, who distinguished herself in the past by alleging the Bush administration knew about 9/11 in advance. In the words of the Washington Times, McKinney “accused the Bush administration of election fraud and of starting the war on false evidence.”
  • Ramsey Clark, the founder of the WWP front group International Action Center (IAC), and recently self-appointed counsel for Saddam Hussein.
  • Gloria La Riva of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. She averred, “For 46 years, the United States has terrorized the people of Cuba for daring to take an independent route from Washington.”
  • “Poet” Suheir Hamad, who participated in a New York City salute to convicted traitors Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on June 19, 2003.
  • Musa al-Hindi of Al-Awda International, who yelled, “Long live Palestine…from the river to the sea!” (This sounds like context for Cindy Sheehan’s advice, “You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll end terrorism.”)
  • Brian Becker, another WWP leader who has said 9/11 “is fundamentally a consequence of U.S. policies around the world.
  • Larry Holmes, a longtime Marxist agitator, two-time WWP presidential candidate, co-founder of International ANSWER, and fan of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, most recently of the Troops Out Now Coalition (not to be confused with the heavyweight boxing legend and capitalist of the same name).
  • Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the founder of The Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense & Education Fund (a part of the IAC) and also a member of the National Lawyers Guild.
  • George Martin of UFPJ, who boasted, “We’re the coalition that continues to drive this whole weekend.” He also discussed his trip to the World Social Forum.
  • Ralph Nader, perennial presidential candidate (and closet slave-driver).
  • Hadi Jawad, founder of the Crawford Peace House.
  • Damu Smith, founder of Black Voices for Peace and the progenitor of the “environmental racism” con.
  • Ricardo Santos-Ortiz, of the Socialist Front of Puerto Rico.
  • The General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, whose name is John Thomas. (Well, that’s truth in advertising.)

Democratic presidential hopeful Al Sharpton and far-Left Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, D-CA, addressed the protestors over the weekend, as well.


During the various festivities, the heroin-addled Steve Earle sang protest songs and Sheehan’s backers chanted, “Hey, Bush, we know you/Your daddy was a killer, too.” Unsurprisingly:


supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site distributed thousands of copies of a statement of the SEP entitled “Katrina, the Iraq war and the struggle for socialism” and sold a large number of copies of a new WSWS pamphlet, “Hurricane Katrina: social consequences & political lessons.” They found a positive response to this intervention, which posed the necessity of building a new mass socialist movement.


The Nazi “Peace” Axis showed up again, as Byron York reports seeing individuals from David Duke’s website, NoWarForIsrael.com in the crowd.


The Washington Post’s orgasmic coverage tried desperately to spin this collection of seethers as mainstream, claiming, “The masses on the street served up a broad cross section of the United States.” As proof, WaPo propagandist Petula Dvorak cited the participation of such all-American folks as the Raging Grannies, Portuguese Against Bush, and the Buddhist Peace Delegation. She also quoted an alleged vet, who said he was at the rally because “this is the only way I can shove it to Bush.”


The leftist Village Voice, for once, told it straight: “Monday's civil disobedience ran the gamut of Code Pinkers and Naderites, anarch-kids and feminist boob-flashers, along with some guys roaming around in prison garb, with Abu Ghraib hoods over their heads.” 


Many people were so entranced by the speakers’ hypnotic call of hatred they lost track of their own family. One speaker asked a lost individual to meet relatives “at the Socialist Liberation Tent.” The crowd vigorously applauded when 8-year-old Adam Hathaway had been recovered. His mother had lost him as he slipped through the crowd holding a jar of pennies, telling hippies, “President Bush is taking lots of this and using it in the war.” Julia Hathaway allowed her second grader to wander through a crowd of 150,000 strangers for the sake of lame leftist political propaganda.


The only feature as striking as the crowd’s boiling hatred – of President Bush, of their country, of Western civilization – was the protest’s unrelenting tedium. One speaker, whose first language was not English, simply repeated, “Dawn weet George Bush, dawn. Dawn weet war, dawn. AMANDA!” (It didn’t make anymore sense in context. Perhaps she was a Waylon Jennings fan?) In a protest ostensibly against Operation Iraqi Freedom, the professional protestor coalition featured no fewer than four speakers on Filipino socialism. One launched into a defense of a Filipino terrorist – whose name I did not catch and could not have been familiar to the average American – giving Lenny Bruce-style details about why this man should not be listed with the State Department as a terrorist. At another recent ANSWER rally, a D.C.-based hospital worker described at length the intricacies of the District’s public hospital financing. One wonders what the vaguely antiwar attendees from the Midwest, who thought they were calling for an end to war in Iraq, thought about the endless denunciations of “Gloria MAC-a-PAGAL Arroyo!” and discourses on the Cuban Five. The rally seemed an apt metaphor for the modern Left: intense episodes of hatred punctuating prolonged bouts of narcolepsy. (So that's where Air America got its format.)


The Pro-Troop Rally


Thankfully, this was not the only picture out of Washington this weekend. Several hundred people showed up in D.C. at a national rally to “support our troops and their mission,” hosted by the up-and-coming patriotic organization Move America Forward. This number was far lower than the professional protestors herded into D.C. by the Left’s disparate coalition members – a discrepancy, one pro-American speaker noted, that can be explained by the fact that “our people have jobs.”


The Washington Post reports the patriotic demonstration had as its backdrop, not terrorist keffiyahs, but “a gigantic flag created by children at Fort Benning, GA, who decorated 900 red and white squares to reflect what ‘freedom means to me.’” Gold Star family members – those who lost a loved one in war, most in Operation Iraqi Freedom – comprised the vast majority of speakers. All at this rally spoke in more measured tones, expressing respect for the rights of those who oppose the war, and noting how their relatives’ sacrifices gave these leftists that right.


It is difficult to put into words the authenticity of soft-spoken Sgt. Kevin Pannell, who lost both legs in a grenade attack. During his brief, heartfelt speech, he said he feels no remorse, because he can “walk around proud” of what he did to bring Iraq its first free election in decades. Others shared the pride they felt for their departed loved ones. Their transparent grief struck a tone of legitimacy lacking in Cindy Sheehan’s smirking, ranting exploitation. These are expressions the Silent Majority understands, sentiments it shars, values it holds dear.


…Which is not to say the patriotic protestors had nothing to say about the other side – but even their well-founded criticism registered a gentler expression than any of the Left’s 50-decible calumnies. One Gold Star wife said she took down her husband’s “cross” and picture at Sheehan’s antiwar “memorial,” because the left-wingers weren’t “worthy” to display his picture. British Councillor Paul Osborn of Harrow lamented that if leftist protestors bedeviled Winston Churchill during WWII the way they pester Bush today, Winnie would have had to tell the British, “We shall fight them in the focus groups. We shall fight them in the opinion polls. We shall never surrender, unless our support falls below 30 percent.”


If television footage can be believed – and that’s an open question – this approach worked. While the anti-American rally had more participants than the pro-troop event by perhaps a factor of 20, the left-wingers always seemed to be screaming to an empty audience. The hippies seemed eager to cause havoc in the streets, not be lectured on the history of Operation Mongoose. Or maybe they were all in the Socialist Liberation Tent. By contrast, the small but sturdy band of patriots enthusiastically applauded at all the speeches broadcast on C-SPAN.


Most pro-American presenters simply expressed their loss, their pride, and their support – for their country, their troops, and for whomever the commander-in-chief may happen to be at any given time. The crowd applauded where appropriate…and wept openly in many instances, occasionally alongside the speakers.


In return, a group of peace-loving antiwar demonstrators heckled and shouted down M.J. Kesterson, a Gold Star mother, as she reminisced about how she lost her own son. Ronald Conley, the past National Commander of the American Legion, later referred to these “people with ice flowing through their veins,” who had the callous disregard to cause “more pain” to the grieving relatives discussing the most devastating loss in their life. “I’m totally appalled that people in this nation could be so inconsiderate to the families standing up here.” It is, however, nothing new: Sheehan herself taunted a pregnant Gold Star wife on a CNBC program last Monday.

Thank goodness someone stepped forward this weekend to show the world the true face of America. The media and the Left have attempted to portray Cindy Sheehan as the voice of mainstream America; this weekend’s spectacle forever rendered that plan futile. By presenting the genuine article, the nation could see by contrast how a grieving parent doesn’t act. Cindy Sheehan doesn’t speak for slain vets; she doesn’t even speak for her own son. The heart and soul of the American people beats in the rally to support our troops. At the core of this nation is a love for the flag, our uniformed soldiers, and human freedom in every corner of the earth – regardless of the race or religion of its recipients. The footage from D.C. this weekend made indelibly clear which message resonates in this country: America supports our troops and their noble cause.

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Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

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