You are a guest
Bush is our neighbor
few weeks ago Sheehan had started a movement by sitting in a ditch and refusing
to leave until Bush could come out and explain in her words, Just what Noble
cause did Casey Sheehan die for?
the president never did come out and word spread out across the land that one
woman had refused to bow down and accept the official truth about why we are fighting
a war in Iraq.
arrive at Camp Casey II in a daze
like I said I had three hours of sleep.
So the whole scene was on the surreal side and there were about 2,000 Sheehan
supporters under a huge tent that had only weeks before been used for a Bush fundraiser.
Now there was a folk singer under the tent, James McMurtry
singing a song,
You cant make it here.
Casey II is under a huge tent that had been used weeks earlier for a Bush fundraiser.
This is no ditch. A local loaned the land, where Camp Casey is located, to the
movement. In an example of how divided this nation is the mans cousin had
been the one who fired a gun near the Vigil in opposition a few days earlier.
Im sure Larry and Fred Mattlage will be anything but kissing cousins when
this is over.
mood had changed
Cindy is in her special trailer. And there are so many
people. There were fewer people when Cindy was gone and somehow things seemed
more personal. Last week was like summer camp, everyone got to know everyone,
but this feels more like some sort of rock concert on the edge of a city between
downtown and exurbia
its hot out here, impersonal and people are
in a bad mood. Besides, its completely obvious
Bush is not going to meet
still need that interview with Cindy Sheehan, its why Im here
but this is a major production now. I dont think she spends much time at
Camp I anymore. This is the second location of a franchise about to go national
hitting towns across the country with a new flagship office somewhere near
the White House.
has PR people now just like the big politicians and I am looking for her press
handler. But the press handler is nowhere to be found and all interviews
must be approved by the handler.
guess it makes sense
the right wing media has skewered Cindy during the
last couple weeks
shes been called a traitor, unpatriotic,
a media whore, someone who is trying to gain for the left by use of her sons
death, oh yeah
shes been called a terrorist
biggest terrorist and who knows what else
they say her cause has
been hijacked by other leftist causes too
like PETA for instance. Hmmm
to listen to the right one would believe Cindy is everything that is wrong
with the world. I dont know how this logic works but the machine had worked
to discredit Sheehan and her cause
besides they say the president has already
met with her and anyway Casey volunteered.
just found Alaska Gyrl who came down all the way from Homer, Alaska and the sky
is turning gray out west. The internet weather pages say there will be a severe
and now there is lightning on the horizon
a cool wind
begins to blow and the sky is bleeding in the distance where the sun is setting.
A few minutes
later wind whips in and blows away tents. An anti-war protester and Vietnam Vet
prays for god to spare the camp and his prayer is answered finally answered
the wind stops here but the lighting strikes down in the vicinity of George W.
Bushs ranch and off the other direction of the horizon
goes around Camp Casey II.
that evening when the folk singers have stopped playing and most of the bad energy
is heading back to Dallas or wherever it came from Jeff Key
a Marine who
served in Iraq plays taps for all the fallen and the night creates an ocean of
darkness that is both real and metaphysical. Then later I go to the peace house
and get my rental car, drive back to Camp Casey II and park. I fall into a deep
rain falls on the window and the mornings sun makes the windshield into
an abstract painting that is alive as the water flows in undulating patterns.
Finally, I stumble down the road half between the dream world and the so-called
real world. I go under the tent.
meet a photographer from Los Angeles who was here last weekend and later I find
the hipster woman from Austin who is also working on a film. None
of us could stay away
this is clearly history
although the right
would say we are documenting infamy and shouldnt be here.
Sheehan was nowhere to be found yesterday. And now there will be an interfaith
service. Someone calls the press a bunch of vultures
I guess thats
me. Well I wish I could fly
I could get a better angle on what has become
a media circus.
between the first song and the final prayer
Al Sharpton Jr. shows up. And
he makes a speech, people clap and Cindy Sheehan cries
and she looks like
she does in all those AP photos. But she is right in front of me and I dont
think I am awake yet.
Sharpton leaves the tent with her and I am nearly trampled by all the journalists.
Fuck this. So I make my way out of the tent in my own time. I look out across
the crosses that have come to symbolize so many lives cut short and the picture
isnt Cindy at all but the 50 or so journalists, bloggers, photographers,
workers surrounding her. I make a picture from the other
side of the media circus this has become.