In a desperate attempt to stretch out her 15 minutes of fame, Cindy Sheehan, anti-war nut and darling of the Left, has started a hunger strike. As a news story on the subject points out, “[Sheehan] will remain on a diet of water, teas and juices until Sept. 1, International Peace Day.” Sheehan and others are taking part in “Troops Home Fast”, a hunger strike designed to pressure our military into bringing the U.S. troops back from fighting overseas. Lots of big-name celebrities will be taking part in this hunger strike–people like Dick Gregory, Willie Nelson, Alice Walker, Danny Glover, Dolores Huerta, and Susan Sarandon, to name the six people listed right after Cindy “No peace, no peas!” Sheehan. Color me unimpressed by the overall star quality and lack of protest babes.
Here is an explanation about the nature of the “Troops Home Fast” hunger strike:
What types of fasts are there?
There are many different types of fasting, but the two main types that we’re suggesting people to do are juice and water fasts. A juice fast consists of only drinking liquids, and a water fast consists of only drinking water. If you are worried about a particular health issue, you can modify the fast by periodically eating slices of avocado and banana, or doing what is feasible for you.
Again, color me unimpressed if you are “fasting” by eliminating solids, but still ingesting vegetable and fruit juices or “doing what is feasible for you” (i.e. wimping out). That’s a bit like Michael Moore cutting out the ham, but sticking with the cheesy fries (warning: sound file). A few people, such as Cindy Sheehan, have committed to a long-term fast–but many, if not most, of the people who will participate with “Troops Home Fast” are going without food for 24 hours or less. I don’t see this as much of a sacrifice, since I belong to a religion that encourages all healthy adult members to participate in a 24-hour fast (taking neither food nor water) on the first Sunday of every month. Even my nine-year-old niece participates. As a result, I view a fast that lasts less than 24 hours as relatively meaningless, like Saddam Hussein’s “hunger strike” that consisted of merely skipping lunch. Boy, was he committed to his fast!
Speaking of commitment, there is a joke about a pig and a chicken discussing a bacon and egg breakfast. The pig chides the chicken’s enthusiasm to help out with the breakfast by saying, “For you it’s just a contribution, but for me it’s a total commitment!” At this point, I can see the “Troops Home Fast” people are merely contributing to the issue, not truly committed to it. If they were completely committed to bringing about peace by fasting, they should be willing to lay down their lives for the cause. When Mahatma Gandhi begged for peace between Hindus and Muslims, he declared he would fast until he died if that was necessary to get people to change. From the reactions and attitudes of the people closest to Gandhi, it’s clear they believed he was serious about fasting until death. That is an example of total commitment, rather than a mere contribution to the issue.
So if Cindy Sheehan et al are really serious, they should go without food and water for as long as it takes while sitting at the fence just outside the White House. When their lifeless corpses made the nightly news, no one would be able to deny their total commitment to the cause of peace. And since the Left told us that slow death by dehydration would be completely painless for Terri Schiavo, I have no doubt the “Troops Home Fast” participants would have a similarly painless time as they fasted before the White House.
Until they show they are completely committed to their cause, rather than mere political dilettantes, I will remain unimpressed.
UPDATE (7/11/2006 5:34:11 PM): I guess Sheehan considers merely skipping solid foods to be a fast. Here are the first two paragraphs from her recent blog entry, outlining the nature of her “fast.” The bolded parts are my own.
I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it. Traveling for 22 hours is very taxing under normal circumstances–but then again, when have we had normal circumstances since the 2000 and 2004 successful coup attempts that have brought BushCo into power?
I traveled from Venice to the frontier of Italy to the province of Udine which is right at the foot of the pre-Alps. I am here for a huge youth festival which includes many elements of social justice and peace work. It is beautiful and the air feels different from other places that I have travelled. It is strangely soft and gentle as is the natural light. However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.
I like Jamba Juice, so I know that drinking only Jamba smoothies is not the same thing as fasting. There are lots of nutrients in a typical Jamba Juice drink — more if you add an optional boost or two — so does it suddenly stop being food if you don’t have to chew it? To quote a snippet from Jamba Juice’s CIO, “[O]ur products are a meal replacement…” (When I was attending college last year, I witnessed large numbers of students using Jamba Juices as “meal replacements” at lunchtime. Some had Jamba Juice lunches for weeks at a time. None claimed to be fasting, or suffered any ill effects from doing so. –TPK)
Now, thanks to Sheehan, Jamba Juice drinks are “fast” food.