A lot is being made on the blogs and on the talk shows about the co-opting of Cindy Sheehan by "the left." These are the fringe groups,they're snarling, the far left!—and yeah, PETA was there. But a lot of the guys there were Vietnam vets, while the rest were pretty middle-aged and wholesome, middle-class and earnest. People ate meat, and smoked cigarettes, and drove cars with internal combustion engines. Aside from the fact that there were recycling bins, even in the middle of a field, it really was awfully mainstream—and with more than half of Americans now saying Iraq wasn't worth it, now "the mainstream" is us. Of course, at Sunday's lunch at the Peace House—a gorgeous Middle Eastern buffet, hosted by a group of Iraqi-Americans who fed the multitudes like Jesus with loaves and fishes—I did have a particularly crunchy exchange.
"So the Iraqi women made this beautiful lunch for us!" the woman sitting next to me lilted over her lavash. "Have you met any of them yet?"
"They're in the kitchen," I answered, clearly joking, and because the sentence demanded it, added, "where they belong!"
"Oh, nooo!" she reproved me, shocked and distraught.
Okay, whatever, San Francisco.
Luckily, there were some smart-ass dudes from Austin, listening to Willie Nelsonand drinking Lone Stars by their truck, to steal beers and make fun of her, while back in town, some bikers across the tracks from the Peace House were made to take down their signs calling the protesters pussies. Sorry, dudes. I guess freedom of speech isn't free.
* * *
I'd been worried about Sheehan sleeping by the side of the road. With all these yahoos yahooin' all over the place, I figured it wouldn't be long before someone took a shot at her instead of into the hot, still air, and the Crawford sheriff agreed. He asked her to stay down at the Peace House by nights.
And the night I left, a 46-year-old real-estate agent in a pickup truck drove a beeline to her tent. She wasn't there, but the "Arlington of Crawford" was, and he smashed more than 500 of the 800 little white crosses, with flowers and flags, that bore witness to our dead.
I wonder about the pundits who call Cindy Sheehan a traitor. I wonder what they think of that.