The Urgency of Impeachment
By Jeeni Criscenzo
In the process of editing blogs for a book on the birth of the Progressive Movement, I've come to the sobering realization that all the marches, demonstrations, forums and protests I've written about in the past five years have failed to change anything of consequence. It's as if no one ever warned, "If you attack Iraq, it will be a catastrophe." It's as if no one ever marched a million-strong, year after year, against the ongoing funding of the occupation of Iraq; as if no one ever contacted their congressperson or senator to voice their opposition to warrant-less wiretapping, torture, rendition or off-shore drilling; as if no one ever wrote against imprisoning Sami al-Arian, denying habeas corpus to the Gtimo prisoners, or the shredding of our Constitution. It's as if scientists never proved humans are causing global warming and no one ever called for universal, single-payer healthcare. And most upsetting of all, it's as if all the Democratic candidates we worked so hard to get elected in Congress, have no idea why they were elected.
Even on a local level, I see the same issues I worked against when I was campaigning three years ago, still being fought - the Sunrise Powerlink, the LEAPS project, the Mitsubishi Robertson's Concrete Plant, the granite quarry in Temecula. I'm sure you have similar issues wherever you live, and have run up against the same brick wall. Even when you think you've won, they come back and defeat you, like Blackwater has done in San Diego, and Mitsubishi Robertson has done here in my hometown of Oceanside.
It's hard not to feel burnt out. It's almost impossible not to just throw my hands up in the air and give up. But what's at stake, if we do give up, is so horrendous that we can't stop now. This goes beyond the environmental issues in my hometown (I can always move) or the survival of the United States (we can just keep our heads low and adjust to living under fascism), or even the demise of civilization. What is happening threatens the survival of the human species - maybe even of all life! Against this unthinkable outcome, we must all work to our last breath.
I'm NOT talking about working for the Obama campaign! As terrifying as a McCain presidency is, we can't waste precious time on the charade our Presidential election has become. If we don't do something NOW, there might not be an election in ten weeks. Sadly, even if we have an election, no matter how hard we work for Obama, the outcome can easily be manipulated, as it was for the past two presidential elections. And even if Obama wins, and by some miracle he IS the courageous leader we all want him to be, it's unlikely he will be able to undo the damage that will be done by Bush between now and his inauguration.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that George W. Bush is a lame duck. He is going full speed ahead with his agenda, unhampered by anything so trivial as worrying about reelection. Carol Wolman, Congressional candidate for CA Dist 1 (Green Party), recently sent me the following list of what Bush has done in the past couple of weeks!
- Gutted environmental protection by taking EPA scientists out of the loop.
- Pushed for offshore oil drilling
- Made it easier for the FBI to investigate without a warrant.
- Proposed making oral contraceptives harder to obtain. (& classifying them as abortion!)
- Gotten obviously drunk at the China Olympics, embarrassing the US and insulting the Chinese.
- Started a proxy war with Russia via the US client nation of Georgia
- Signed an agreement to place missile defense in Poland, evoking a Russian threat against Poland.
- Canceled joint military exercises with Russia, essentially restarting the Cold War with the second nuclear superpower.
- Sent a huge armada to blockade Iran, which could start WW III.
I was dismayed to read in an email from someone going to Denver for the Democratic Convention, how she was anticipating all of the parties she will be attending there. I pray that while going from one festive event to the next that she notices the demonstrations planned outside - particularly the ones calling for impeachment. This is no time to be fiddling while Rome burns!
While most Americans are paying attention to the Olympics, the election or whatever new distraction this crowd has in store for us, the final nails are being hammered into our collective coffin. The Bushies do not plan to go softly into this dark night. They are orchestrating the end of life as we know it, with the hubris to think they will end up ruling the world. They are Nero on steroids! There seems to be only one way to halt the catastrophic actions this administration has planned for the coming weeks. We must force this cuckold Congress to begin impeachment hearings!
Conyers has called back the members of the Judiciary Committee to investigate Ron Suskind's revelations that the Bush administration forged "evidence" of the WMDs in Iraq. But the Judiciary committee cannot enforce subpoenas as long as Bush can reassure witnesses that he will pardon them. Introduce the possibility that the President can be impeached and his promises of pardons suddenly become worthless. As long as Nancy Pelosi continues to block impeachment, John Conyers and his committee are impotent.
I don't know why this woman, this mother and grandmother, is single-handedly sealing the fate of humanity, by blocking our only hope to stop the disasters this administration has in store for us. I don't care if she's afraid for her life, or her family, of if she's afraid her complicity in allowing torture will be revealed. The excuse that there is not enough time to impeach is meaningless - the point is to START impeachment. Whatever Pelosi's reasons, she MUST be convinced that the consequences of not impeaching far outweigh any rationale for blocking it. She must be convinced to start impeachment hearings now.
Is it too late to impeach? It's not too late to START impeachment hearings. Even if we can't complete the impeachment process, by starting the hearings we will put the brakes on the agenda of the administration, dissolve the power of their promises of pardon and maybe even force Bush and Cheney to resign. Consider today's headlines: Pakistan's Musharraf steps down - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is resigning after nine years in power, amid impeachment charges based on claims he violated the constitution. If it can happen in Pakistan, it can happen here!
It is our responsibility, as protectors of the human race, to convince Pelosi and Congress to begin impeachment hearings now. How do we do it?
Sign the Kucinich Petition. On August 1st, Congressman Dennis Kucinich delivered a petition with over 100,000 Americans calling for the President to be held accountable. On Sept. 10th, Kucinich wants to deliver 1 million signatures to Speaker Pelosi and Congress. Like most of you, I've grown weary of signing petitions that don't change anything. I don't know if a million signatures will have any more impact on Pelosi than 100,000. But I do know that starting impeachment hearings is our best hope for changing the horrible future this administration has in store for us. If you haven't already signed Kucinich's petition, it only takes a minute to do it now (http://www.kucinich.us ) and pass this on to everyone you know. (If you signed the original petition, there is no need to sign it again).
Watch the play. If you have a half-hour to spare, go to www.impeachplay.com to watch a play produced during Shirley Golub's primary challenge against Nency Pelosi.
Support Impeachment with your attire. I stopped wearing my "Impeach Bush & Cheney" t-shirts because I didn't want to alienate myself from my Republican neighbors. But saving our nation is a non-partisan issue. I am not going to hold back anymore. Today, I'm wearing a shirt that shows Bush and Cheney behind bars with the words, "I have a Dream". I'm promising to wear the Impeach message every day until hearings begin. And I urge everyone who realizes the urgency of this situation to join me. Click here to buy Impeachment T-Shirts or send an email to Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support Impeachment with your presence. If you can afford it, consider traveling to these events, or help to organize an event closer to home - especially if Nancy Pelosi or anyone from this administration will be in town.
Democratic Convention in Denver, CO: Join impeachment actions outside the Democratic and Republican Conventions.
On Thursday, Aug. 28th, at Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80203. PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) will be focusing on Constitutional Law & Congress at Progressive Central Headquarters at the Denver convention. If you ar in Denver, be sure to catch Vincent Bugliosi, author of "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" at 10:00 AM and The Nation Conversations Series - Restoring and Maintaining our Constitutional Rights, moderated by John Nichols with Rep. Robert Wexler (FL), Rep. Keith Ellison and Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of The Nation at 11:00 AM
Washington, DC: If you can get to DC between Sept. 8 - 26, the National Impeachment Network is planning coordinated lobbying efforts.
Andover, MA: September 13 - 14, is a Conference to Discuss, and Lay Plans for Obtaining, Prosecutions of High Level U.S. War Criminals in Andover, Massachusetts
Support impeachment by supporting Cindy Sheehan:
Cindy Sheehan is running for Congress as an independent against Nancy Pelosi for California's 8th District (San Francisco). What better way to show Speaker Pelosi that the people are fed up with her failure to protect the Constitution, than to fire her! Cindy would make a fantastic Representative and has proven she is not afraid to do what's best for the people. Even if you don't live in San Francisco, you can send Cindy's campaign a contribution at www.cindyforcongress.org .
Support impeachment with your wallet:
The National Impeachment Network has decided to run ads in the Washington Post the week Congress comes back from vacation. The ads for the weekday editions of the Washington Post will be published on Sept. 8, 10, 11 and 12, and the one half page ad will be published on Sunday Sept. 14th. Make a contribution to help pay for these ads to IMPEACH GROUPS, 117 Chestnut Dr., Wayne, NJ 07470-5639. Want to know more? Contact INFO
Support impeachment with your brain:
Read about what people are doing to make impeachment happen and find out what you can do in your own city to advance the cause.Don't give up - the future is depending on what we do today. Your voice and your actions DO make a difference.
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Jeeni Criscenzo email@example.com is a freelance writer and activist, living in Oceanside, California. She ran against Darrell Issa for Congress in 2006 and is currently compiling a collection of Blogs written as CPR4Democracy between 2003 and 2007 that trace the birth of the Progressive Movement.