“The mountains and the canyons start to tremble and shake — as the children of the sun begin — to awake.”
(Led Zeppelin –”Going to California” — 1971)
With “Occupy Wall Street!” dominating headlines as thousands rally nationwide and millions wonder why, I’ve been thinking about Cindy Sheehan all week long.
She’s one tough cookie.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard Cindy was coming to Oakhurst.
Of course, Oakhurst — being a CDP (“Census Designated Place”) with 2,829 souls — is a major metropolitan area compared to Crawford, Texas. Crawford had a rounded-up total of no more than 800 Texans, a trillion cattle and a monkey named George when Ms. Sheehan set up her antiwar camp outside his ranch and became a global phenomenon in August of 1995.
And so it was that The Positive Life Center on Golden Oak Drive was filled with folks –wall to wall — standing room only — for four solid hours on Sunday, August 28th. It was exciting, amazing and inspiring.
Four days later – on Thursday, Sept. 1st — a handful of demonstrators were met with police intimidation while performing a peaceful and legal occupation of a public sidewalk on Wall Street in New York. On September 17th, approximately 2,000 marched on the Financial District. Becoming a daily event, within a week the big city crowd count doubled -then doubled again.
Here in tiny Oakhurst, perhaps the most striking aspect of Cindy Sheehan’s visit was her ability to draw such an amazing assembly of truly cool people from our immediate mountain area on very short notice. The crowd almost seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, just as that handful of the dispossessed and foreclosed did a few days later on Wall Street. Ms. Sheehan was here concluding a ten day bus tour promoting “Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities” (REVCOM). This brief quote from Cindy at her website sums it up nicely:
“Recent events in the U.S., which amount to financial terrorism by the elite, have demonstrated that Democracy with a Capital D is officially DOA, and We the People can face a scary future assured that we will survive, because we can build communities that foster peace, health, the environment, and prosperity.”
Crazy hippie talk? Some sort of a wild anarchistic ‘60’s acid flashback? Doesn’t Cindy Sheehan realize it’s 2011 and the banks own us all?
From North Fork was the Friendship Circle of Grace Community Church, the Kern family with their Farm and School Garden, the North Fork Art Gallery, the Up Country Co-op, the Sustainable Forest and Committees Collaboration, Three Springs, The Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council, Cash Mob, the North Fork Studio and the intriguing North Fork Shares project.
Mariposa sent representatives from Mariposa Spirit, the Mariposa Peace Vigil and those from Mariposa involved in pursuing the continued development of electric cars, even as Cindy’s old bus parked across the street is bio fuel powered as an example to everyone but Rick Perry.
Oakhurst attendees included Full Circle Family Outreach, Judy DeRosa’s Creativity Circle, Marianna Burrett of Tend the Earth, Barney Berrier speaking on Alternative Energy, Peace Fresno, and legendary blues artist Jimmy Collier.
Cindy Sheehan sat and listened from start to finish, frequently nodding her head with enthusiastic endorsement and powerful affirmation. At the end of it all, she spoke.
Cindy told us of losing a son and her belief that the American Dream is long gone — if it ever was. She discussed the importance of true community, pleased that her presence had drawn so many kindred spirits. Espousing social justice and sustainable development, she challenged us to focus on the potentials of collective activity for common local good.
The Irish have a name for such a notion: “Sinn Fein” — “We Ourselves.”
I liked Cindy a lot. She’s very much for real. In this age of unbridled hyperbolic hysteria on the right and tragically compromised conviction on the left, Cindy Sheehan just keeps on truckin’.
As should all Patriotic Americans — “Together — more or less in line.” *
* “Truckin’” — The Grateful Dead — (1970)