"My Entire Life is Deductible" By Cindy Sheehan

One of the accusations I have faced the most since my activism began, besides those of "anti-American," "Communist," "traitor," and "bad mother," is that I am "profiting off of my son's death."

Of course, most of these (but by no means all) attacks come from the rightwing reactionaries who oftentimes don't allow pesky facts to get in the way of their unfounded accusations. When I am attacked by email, the subject line looks similar to this: YOUR A TRADER. The only thing I can do is chuckle and correct the spelling and grammar errors before I reply. Most of the time, however, I just dump the message in the garbage where it belongs.

First of all, it is true that since my son was killed and my passion for peace and justice became well-known, I have earned some money. However, I don't know if most people know that whenever they saw me on TV,  I wasn't being paid like the plastic anchors and/or other talking heads. Just because a person is on TV doesn't mean he/she is wealthy.

Secondly, when I go out to protest, or on trips to speak to various groups, or when I am in jail, or camped out near George Bush's faux-ranch in Texas, or Barack Obama's White House, I am not collecting a salary. The money that I do earn from the work of my own hands (my books, speaking fees and my radio show) goes right back into the movement or to pay my scant (by USAian standards) living expenses.

Thirdly, when one becomes an activist who is outside established acceptable parameters and challenges the entire system, not just one tiny portion of it, the base of support narrows as the real problem of Empire (not just Republicans) is expanded. Trust me, it was far easier to be an activist when Bush was prez and most of the movements were just focused on getting warmongers with D's after their names in office. Back then, I had a staff of two (tiny by Movement Industrial Complex standards) and no shortage of invitations to receive awards so that the awarding organization could raise money off of the ceremony with me as the honored "guest."

Finally, I guess it's okay for war profiteers like General Electric to make billions of dollars off of, not just my son's death, but the deaths of, in point of fact, millions. The profits are gathered in blood and gore but, also in the quest for profit workers are exploited all over the world and the environment is being destroyed.

General Electric is just one example of something that has profited off of my "son's death," yet, while I am being persecuted by the U.S. government for being a conscientious war tax resister, General Electric got a whopping three-billion dollar tax refund for 2010! I don't hear any rightwing extremist screaming at GE that it is profiting off of my "son's death." Dick Cheney, who received a new heart that should have gone to someone else on the waiting list, profited off of my "son's death," but as long as he files his income tax return, he is allowed to roam free after he virtually wrote the book on the inhumanity of torture with other lowlifes like John Yoo.

Charitable donations are able to be deducted from what we supposedly owe in income taxes and it is much ballyhooed by the same rightwing reactionaries that Mitt Romney donates 10% of his tens of millions of dollars to charity (because he church forces him to), but I have donated nearly 100% of my time, energy and resources to the movements that I have become part of.

Besides, my oldest, dear child (who was buried on this day, eight years ago) had his life stolen from him in the Imperial quest for profit, control of natural resources, and power. GE gets three-billion extra US taxpayer dollars and I get the memory of having the undertaker tell us, Casey's family, that we could "touch him," in his coffin. but don't "move his head" because the "back of his head is missing." Dick Cheney gets a new heart and I get the memory of driving to the airport in San Francisco to pick up Casey's body (encased in a cardboard box) from the United Airlines loading dock.

I can never erase those memories and I can never give any of my money to the US government to kill anybody's else's child. I don't want any refunds, I just want to be left alone to try and do what I can to make this world a better place before I have to leave.

I owe it to Casey and I owe it to humanity.


APRIL 13, 2004


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