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George Wallace



Under the tent, the entertainment has taken a serious turn. Cindy is not back yet, but major figures - congressmen, commentators, celebrities - are showing up to add their voice of support to the effort, to show that like America, they stand with Cindy.

Singer, Songwriter - Steve Earle

Including Steve Earle, a gravel voiced Texas rocker who exudes folk history with each strum of the guitar, sings 'The Revolution Starts Now,' electrifying the audience.

I get interviewed by Lois Lane, aka Margo Kidder reporting for a small newspaper in Montana. I talk with independent photographers from LA to Spain. I meet a grandchild of American poet Louis MacNeice. I help Jeff Keys - who has given a cathartic 90 minute monologue series of vignettes of Marine life in Iraq late one night - adjust the oversized coffin which provides sober reminder of those who have died there.

It is all very communal and supportive and despite the harshness of the conditions - each day heat prostration hits a couple of people, bug bites and sheer exhaustion of exposure to the heat debilitates many) - congenial enough. But there is an undercurrent of uneasiness running through the camp. Is that a secret service guy? Did you hear that the cops were pulling out shotguns down at Tonkawa Park? Would it be a bad thing to offer the counter-demonstrators some water?

I'm writing notes, a young stud asks me who I'm writing for and if I have an id. The next day, a man in khakis and a Brooks Brothers shirt interviews me, saying he's from the Washington Post. Someone confronts him, asking for press ID, he flashes something plastic and indistinct, and leaves off quickly.

And there is the hardship. Heat prostration. People stop making sense or become somewhat inarticulate. We sweat mightily. We get bitten up and unwashed.

I tell someone I went swimming in the quarry. Oh there's water
moccasins in there, he says blandly. Don't swim in there alone.


Click The Pix To View "Last Night I Dreamt The Strangest Dream"
Click The Pix To View "Last Night I Dreamt The Strangest Dream" VidClip.

On Sunday Joan Baez arrives on the scene with the resilience and beautiful serenity of a lifelong Quaker. No resignation even at this stage of her life (her mother's parasailing at 92, so who will stop Joan?). Joan Baez, a sunflower in a Texas field. She's been protesting since she was a kid in the high school lunchroom. She was with Martin Luther King, sang lullabies to him to lull him to troubled sleep. She was everywhere during the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam movement. "I didn't think this would happen again in my lifetime," she tells me.

Joan Baez. She has got to be the only person on earth who can make Kumbaya sound good in the 21st century - even without doing the uptempo version she learned from some rural blacks when she first started singing it.

Click The Pix To View "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" VidClip.
Click The Pix To View "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" VidClip.

A legend, but a real person, she headlines one evening's entertainment, but doesn't do the celebrity thing - soak up the limelight and then split - she stays day after day, talking to people, sharing her experiences, supporting the moment. Like me, holding down the fort until Cindy returns.

To Ann Wright and the thousands who have come together under the tent at Camp Casey, she says, "You give me hope." Back in her trailer afterwards she gives me a hug. "Bring that back to the people in Woodstock and in New York," she says.


In all, I will stay here at camp four days, and fly back just in time to learn that Cindy is on her way back to Crawford. Though I haven't had a chance to shake her hand, something even more important has been accomplished - I've helped keep her camp going and demonstrate that her question to the president is decent and simple and is America's question. America deserves more than spin and smear, it needs an adequate answer - what noble cause are the soldiers dying for in Iraq?

I don't know if Cindy Sheehan's stand in Crawford is a watershed moment for America over the war, but the nation has finally been brought into sharp focus about the issue, and its division over the issue as well. The dissent has begun in earnest, and it sure feels like a historic moment for the nation. In fact someone has already put up a temporary historical marker on the site of Camp Casey.

There are not too many monuments to dissent in America. Where are the monuments to those whose patriotism and sense of humanity and moral integrity led them to question their government - in the labor movement, peace activist across several wars, Spanish Civil War brigade volunteers.

After Vietnam, Abbie Hoffman said 'this is the first time in history a people rose up against its own army, said we don't want it, and made them stop.'

One day there may be something here to permanently mark the spot where Cindy Sheehan accomplished that for America. Until then, the best monument to dissent is the justice and the liberty it brings to the people.




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