First, a refresher- civics 101. The American Revolution was radical because it transferred sovereignty, authority for government, from King George III to "we the people of these United States". Not only did the colonies declare independence from England, but the form of government was changed,- from the European system, ruled by kings and nobles,- to a system of representative democracy. Our model derives from Native American ways, specifically from the Iroquois Federation, which forms much of the basis of our Constitution.
Under the Constitution, "we the people" have the right, in fact the duty, to make sure that our public servants, the president, vice president, etc, carry out the will of our Representatives in Congress. If they do not, and specifically if they fail the public trust, mislead the public, enrich themselves at the expense of the public treasury, cause harm to the public welfare, they are guilty of impeachable offenses. Charges can be brought by the House, acting as attorney for "we the people". If ample evidence is found for a trial (impeachment= arraignment), then the case goes to the Senate for trial.
We the people are convinced that Bush and Cheney have committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Recent polls show that over half the American people want impeachment. John Conyers has drafted a bill, HR 635, which mandates an investigation into impeachable offenses by both these men. So far, only 36 House members, out of 435, have cosponsored it, and it languishes in the Judiciary Committee.
Naturally, a Republican Congress lacks the political will to impeach Bush and Cheney. Would a Democratic House, under Nancy Pelosi, do better at representing the will of the people?
Pelosi has said repeatedly that "impeachment is not on the table, even if the Dems win both House and Senate". Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee, says the same. The DNC poured money into primary opponents of Progressive Democrats who came out for impeachment. I know of at least 3 incumbents (Lee, Stark and Thompson), who openly advocated impeachment early in 2006, and then backed way off, although Lee and Stark remain cosponsors of HR 635.
In other words, even if they control Congress, the Dems lack the political will to impeach the president and vice president. Why? Why? when these men are so blatantly working against the interests of the American people?
What's needed are three traits- conviction, courage and cooperation. All three are currently lacking in the mainstream Democratic Party.
Conviction is the understanding that the crimes of which Bush and Cheney are accused- lying us into war, torturing prisoners to death, enriching themselves and their cronies through illegal wars, these crimes are not mere sexual peccadillos- these crimes are horrifying, verging on treason. These are accusations of EVIL crimes, which if true, MUST not go unpunished. Allowing perpetrators of such crimes to remain in office is collusion. Silence is complicity. Our Representatives have an absolute duty to conduct an impeachment investigation. Any incumbent who has not signed on to HR 635 should be voted out of office, especially Nancy Pelosi.
Conviction is also the understanding that we cannot afford two more years, not even two more months, of the Bush administration. Their destruction of the environment and disregard of global warming endangers the future of life on earth. Their drive toward fascism is almost complete; only impeachment proceedings can stop totalitarianism in America.
The second trait needed is courage. Bush and Cheney are known for their ruthlessness. There are the obvious dirty tactics of swiftboating, smearing, retaliating against opponents with bureaucratic and legal harassment. Darker rumors are swirling- they arranged for over 100 Congresspeople to be photographed in compromising situations in Las Vegas, they arranged for the plans of Dennis Carnahan and Paul Wellstone to crash two weeks before crucial elections, there have been numerous convenient "suicides" and "accidental deaths" of whistleblowers and critical journalists. Going up against such people, even through the legal and peaceful means of impeachment proceedings, is scary.
Moral courage is needed as well as physical courage. Bush et al have largely succeeded in making impeachment seem like a "fringe" or "radical" procedure, despite the recent examples of Clinton and Nixon. Impeachers have to be willing to go against the "mainstream", although in fact the mainstream desperately wants impeachment and removal from office of these thugs.
Bob Mendelson recently compared the American government to a ship that has been hijacked by pirates. The comparison is especially apt, since Bush is a lifelong member of Skull and Bones. Congresspeople are in the position of captives under duress, who either have to go along with the program. or "walk the plank"- face stiff consequences of various sorts. Even normally outspoken people like John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich have fallen silent. The intimidation must be intense.
The third "C" needed for impeachment is cooperation, cooperation among people convinced that impeachment is necessary, and who have the courage to work for it openly. This cooperation has to cross party lines, since both major parties are doing their best to squelch all moves toward impeachment.
The Longhouse Coalition, which takes its name from the Iroquois Legislature, is made up of 50 candidates for Congress who have made impeachment the top priority. Most of us are Greens or independents, although there are a couple of candidates from the major parties. We understand that cooperation and teamwork are necessary to bring down the Bush administration, and are working together to get our message out. You can find out who we are and what we stand for at our website www.longhousecoalition.org
This is the time to put aside ideologies, party loyalties, and preconceived notions, and work together to stop the threat to our democracy. Bush seeks to make himself another King George. We are in the same position as the signers of the Declaration of Independence. As Ben Franklin said to the others, "If we don't hang together, assuredly we will all hang separately".
Please look at www.longhousecoalition.org before you vote for a Congressperson. If your incumbent has not signed onto HR 635, vote for a member of the Longhouse Coalition. Vote us in, we'll impeach Bush and Cheney. It's our chance to save the Constitution, and the planet.
Carol Wolman, MD
Nonpartisan write-in candidate for Congress
California District 1
Member, the Longhouse Coalition