of Bush and Cheney
by Carol Wolman
As summer draws to a close, and officials head back to Washington, we in the peace/progressive movement need to consider our next steps. It seems to me that impeachment is the overarching issue that trumps all others. If we can get rid of the criminals in power, we can much more easily address all the others- war, assault on the environment, misallocation of resources, consolidation and control of media, etc.
1) We are operating under a Constitution which puts ultimate authority in the hands of we, the people, to be implemented by our elected representatives in Congress.
2) These representatives stand for re-election every two years. The next election is a little over a year away.
3) Our Constitution includes a mechanism for getting rid of criminals in high office- legally, peacefully and democratically. This mechanism has been used twice in recent years, against Nixon and against Clinton. (Nixon resigned rather than go through the process, Clinton was impeached (Indicted) by the House but the Senate refused to convict him, so he remained in office.)
4) The mechanism of impeachment begins with the House Judiciary Committee, which conducts an inquiry into whether the officials in question have committed impeachable offenses. While the House and the Committee are in Republican hands, the ranking member of the Committee, John Conyers (D-MI) has already conducted informal hearings, and he and other members of the House Progressive Caucus are laying groundwork for impeachment by writing letters and demanding relevant documents.
5) Over half the American public now believe that Bush lied to get us to invade Iraq. Lying to Congress and the people is an impeachable offense. Therefore, the time is right for a grassroots movement for impeachment.
1) This administration is masterful at keep its opponents scattered and off-balance with media events, staged elections, personal attacks, red flag issues that seem to demand attention.
2) The administration also controls the media, and through the media, public "framing", to use George Lakoff's analysis. Right now, the framing is of opposing political parties who fight it out during election campaigns. The Democratic party is also heavily invested in this frame, and therefore does not support impeachment efforts.
3) The administration has sown the seeds of fear and suspiciousness, making some people afraid to actively work for impeachment. It also has succeeded, to some degree, in labelling impeachment activists as "extremists", "hatemongers", "crazies" and the like. People in Washington, DC, even our friends in Congress, are very cautious these days.
1) Keep a steady focus on impeachment as the overarching goal which trumps all others. Don't be distracted by "crises". If we can impeach Bush and Cheney, it will be much easier to get out of Iraq, restore some balance to the courts, reverse the Patriot Act, start cleaning up the environmental mess, etc.
2) Reframe the dialogue. We are not dealing with politics as usual here. We are dealing with criminals in high office who are causing inestimable damage to our nation and world, and must be gotten out of power.
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