Headed for the Ditch

by on August 8th, 2005

Cindy Sheehan has made the most difficult sacrifice any mother can for her country. Her son, 24-year-old Army Specialist Casey Sheehan died in Sadr City in April 2004, prosecuting a war that Ms. Sheehan no longer believes in.

She has now traveled to Crawford, Texas to ask the president why her son died. She and about 50 other protesters arrived in Crawford on Saturday, with plans to stay for the month of August if necessary.

She and her fellow protesters have been kept well away from Bush; they were stopped four miles from the entrance to the Bush Ranch, because they walked on the roadway rather than in the tall grass in the bar ditch beside it. The McLennan County Sheriff ordered the demonstrators to stop because they broke “their part of the bargain.”

The protesters had reasons for not walking in the ditch, although non-Texans could hardly know what they are. Rattlesnakes come to mind first, but the Great State of Texas’ Department of Transportation rarely mows country roads, and never ever picks up road-kill. It’s probably a safe bet that a middle-aged woman from Vacaville, California wore tennis shoes (bad) and shorts (really bad) for her stroll through aforementioned bar ditch.

Texas has some really interesting flora with very descriptive names: spear grass, devil’s claw, bull nettle. Some of the fauna can be rather unpleasant as well, including red wasps, scorpions, chiggers, and horse flies. Of course, if Ms. Sheehan must make a scene, the least she can do is walk in the ditch in 100-degree heat and not complain.

The Sheriff claims to be concerned that the protest was disrupting traffic; however representatives of the news media were only ordered off the road when the demonstrators were stopped.

There are two forces operating here. First, the sheriff sets up a requirement for protesters to walk where a sensible person would not walk, where common sense dictates that one is safer on the right-of-way than in the grass. Second, after the protesters failed the requirement, as law enforcement officers knew they would, the protest was stopped, and the media was out-waited for the story.

There are no main-stream media stories about Cindy Sheehan in today’s news. The media went away, rather than cover the story that the president of the United States left this mother of a dead soldier waiting for answers on the side of the road in the Texas sun in August.

© 2005 Ann Weaver Hart

Ann Weaver Hart