Hello "Weekend Live" viewers:
Another great response to our admittedly provocative question: I wanted to know where you stood on Cindy Sheehan and the protests in Crawford. Is this fair protest — people exercising their First Amendment rights to openly criticize the policies of their government? Or, do the protests work against the national security interests of this country by emboldening terrorists?
I found many of your answers to be thoughtful; here is a sample of what you had to say. Michael writes:
“Whether you agree with the protest or not, the act of protesting government action is the highest expression of freedom and the most protected form of political speech. While I do not think we should get out of Iraq immediately, my “hat is off” to the protestors for “shining a light” upon our current leaders and exposing their mistakes in the reasons for going to war, the execution of the war, and now for the lack of an exit strategy. The protestors’ conduct is the essence of a democracy. Their patriotism is no less than those Americans who blindly, but in “good faith,” believed in a flawed leader.”
This writer had a strong, succinct opinion, but did not provide a name:
“I totally support Cindy and her protest. This country is not what it was. We need a better president like John Kerry now. Impeach Bush and Cheney NOW."
Then there is this from Scott in Richmond, Virginia, who writes expecting that I will not post his views — he is wrong:
“I know I'm wasting my precious time writing you, but here goes:
Funny how the question of Cindy Sheehan can generate such a large e-mail response (8/21), yet you can only find one in support of her activities. Funny how you can criticize her for being a tool of the Left when you have no problem being the flagship tool of the Right. Funny how you can be such positive cheerleaders for this Administration while it is obvious that the ship of state is sinking and it’s every man for himself.
Funny that I should watch you then? Heck no! You crack me up!”
But the VAST MAJORITY of those who wrote in strongly disagree with Cindy Sheehan and her band of protesters. Gail is a retired Army sergeant from Tennessee:
“I served on active duty in the Army for 20 years and am now retired. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat! Yes, this country, my country IS worth dying for. [Cindy Sheehan has] disgraced and minimized the sacrifice of her son's life as well as all those who came before him. Our service guarantees you the freedom to stand up and say what you want, but I draw the line at you disrespecting my country and all the soldiers who fought and died for it. If you don't like it here, if you are against the President, you have the freedom to leave. Why don't you? I know a country you'd love, as a woman. Try any number of them in the Middle East.
I know you find this hard to swallow, but it is not, I repeat, it is not at all about you.”
Here's Jack from Alabama:
“I think that Cindy Sheehan is a disgrace to our country and more importantly a disgrace to her son. Anyone would think that she is the only parent who lost a son (or daughter) in combat. I think that she should go home and stay there, and as Bill O'Reilly would say, " lay off that Kool-Aid.”
Rob has great concerns about the message this sends to terrorists and our troops:
“First and foremost I am very sorry for this mom’s loss. No parent should ever have to feel the pain of a lost child. But I have to say this person is nothing but a pawn to the Michael Moore’s of the world. What she is doing is so much harm to our troop’s morale overseas.
I was at a meeting on Friday and this situation came up and she said her neighbor’s son is overseas in Iraq and he e-mailed her just this past week telling her this is not right and they are very upset about this. They are very upset with the way the media keeps covering it and it very much brings the morale down. They feel like they are doing a great job and then this comes up and they feel like they are being stabbed in the back by Americans back home. They worry when they come home they will end being treated like the troops in the 60s were.
That really hit home to me Friday and when I saw your request for your viewers’ opinions I felt I needed to respond. Not that it does any good or even if anyone reads it, but I thought maybe this one time I would do it.”
Leroy from Spokane writes:
“Although I don't always like to hear what you're reporting, I appreciate the fact that you're reporting it, rather than coloring, flavoring, or creating it. Thank you for what you do.
As a moderate conservative, I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents, without concern for party affiliation. Unfortunately, I have been deprived of that option in recent elections as the leadership of the Democratic Party has sold the party to left-wing radical extremists.
You asked about the recent anti-war activities at Crawford, Texas. I believe this Sheehan woman has a serious problem and her family should get her the professional help that she so desperately needs. These low-life opportunists that are taking advantage of her diminished capacity, just to advance their anti-war view, is shameful. The media should not provide a public forum for someone in her condition just to create a curiosity for their viewers... I think that's shameful as well.
On another note, although I am not a fan of President Bush, I believe he is doing the best he can under the current circumstances. The leaders of the Democratic Party were elected to serve all AMERICANS, not to sell the party to left-wing extremists. Anyone that thinks a President can be an effective leader and represent the will of the American people when nearly 50 percent of Americans have no representation in Washington DC, are too stupid to have the right to vote. Where the hell are the Democrats that were elected to serve "all" the people? The Republicans are doing the best they can under the circumstances and should be commended for holding it together at a time when 50 percent of Americans are being denied a voice in the political process by the current Democratic Party leadership.
There are no solutions, recommendations, or suggestions offered, only a shrill screeching sound from the likes of Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, [the real] Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, and a few others. Where are the real Democrats and where is the real Democratic Party? This affects every American, regardless of party affiliation, as we cannot survive with a one party system... even though some Republicans might argue that point.”
Here's a note from a viewer who did not sign a name:
“First you drove us crazy with Scott Peterson, then Natalee Holloway and now Cindy Sheehan. Please quit replaying non-news.
Cindy Sheehan's argument was with her son. Obviously she did not want him to VOLUNTEER for the military. He volunteered twice. It is most unfortunate he died. Of course she has the right to protest the war but apparently she has failed to realize that the anti-Vietnam arguments don't work today since there is no draft. It is an all VOLUNTEER military.
The news media should be ashamed of their coverage of this non-news story. All the anti-American Sheehan clips you are airing today are also old news. Her letter to "Nightline" back in April is anti-Semitic and it too is old news. This woman does not warrant any coverage.”
G. Mann from Sarasota, has a question of his (or maybe her) own:
“What is Cindy doing in Crawford, Texas?
a. Hurting our troops
b. Aiding our enemies
c. Dishonoring everything about her own son
d. Dishonoring the others who gave their life
e. Acting as a pawn to the left media
f. All of the above
Answer is "f" and much more”
Thanks to everyone who took the time to write on this topic. I can't post them all, but we read them all — and they help me to stay in touch with what real, outside-the-Beltway Americans think about the news of the day. The fact that you wrote is appreciated.
Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."