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Since I haven't really followed her work over the past few years, I was a bit annoyed when I heard she had "quit". Who is she to "quit", and to do so so publicly, I wondered? War, empire, are filthy, despicable, genocidal affairs. Opposing them is not like a job that one can "quit", is it? Opposing them, in my view, doesn't even mean one is deserving of special praise. But then I read her exit note, and found it some of the best and most refreshing reading I have seen in some time.
People, especially activists, just don't say these things, even though they are completely true. That Cindy was pushed far enough to say them so openly gives activists a chance to listen. Highlights for me:
"People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don't find alternatives to this corrupt "two" party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland."
"The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."
"I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. "
"I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others. "
"Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it."
"It's up to you now."
This is not at all the pompous diatribe I'd feared it would be. It is a searingly honest, painful note from someone who was forced to come to conclusions she did not want to come to at all. I think what I like about it most is that she realizes that no one gets to pat themselves on the back, not while this is going on. And Cindy lets no one off the hook, including herself. I have seen a few thank you notes in response to Cindy's note - thanking her for what she's done in the past. As for myself, I would add a thank you for her note itself. If people actually pay attention to it, some of the things nobody wants to believe, that she so clearly identifies, might change.