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Start Your Engines

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The American people have just done a beautiful thing. We have finally declared to ourselves, our leaders, and the rest of the world, that we will no longer follow along willingly as the Republican right wing leads the nation into disrepute.
Exit polls from around the country showed that we are overwhelmingly fed up with this illegal war and with the corruption, hypocrisy and lawbreaking of so many in the Republican Party.
Just before the election, Howard Dean made the assertion that the Democrats would not go down the road to impeachment. Rather, he asserted that a Democratic takeover of Congress would be in response to the Dems "positive message", addressing issues like raising the minimum wage, health care etc.
Dean has it exactly backwards. For six years the Bush administration has operated as it wished, regardless of the law or the Constitution. When we complained to the Democrats and called for action, we were told that we were wasting our breath with a Republican Congress in power. So we voted the Republican Congress the hell out of power precisely so the Dems could quit moaning and do something. If the Republicans had not so fully abused their power, we would have spread our wrath to all incumbents. Instead, we have spared the Democrats, and dumped the whole mess in their laps ┬ľ one last chance to make good as it were.
The Dean/Pelosi position against impeachment is understandable. Impeaching Bush and Cheney (you can't have one without the other) could appear to be an unseemly power grab, handing the presidency to Pelosi and politicizing the debate
Instead, we citizens will frame the debate about accountability. People from towns in every corner of the nation are drafting and circulating petitions calling for an end to the war in Iraq, and for impeachment investigations of Bush and Cheney to be initiated.
By the time the next Congress convenes in January 07, there will be impeachment and end the war resolutions on the town meeting agendas of scores if not hundreds of New England towns. There will be active efforts in several state legislatures to get impeachment resolutions based on Jefferson's manual p603 passed and sent on to the U.S. Congress.
It is up to us to put on the pressure so that by the time the next Congress is sworn in, the members will know that we expect our leaders to be held accountable for their actions. When the Democrats can truthfully say that they are only bowing to the demands of their constituents, they will be happy to start meaningful investigations. Any such investigation, if not leading to impeachment, would at least hamstring the Bush administration, which could save us from further disastrous military adventures in Iran and elsewhere.
Tuesday's election is more of an opportunity than it was a victory. While the Democrats savor their win, let's surround them with an urgency that they cannot ignore. Let calls for withdrawal from Iraq, petitions for impeachment, letters demanding restoration of lost constitutional rights, and demands for government accountability resound so loudly that our politicians fear for the collapse of their marbled halls.
It no longer matters if our politicians have no spines, as long as we give them ours. This is the best and first opportunity that we have had in years to have an affect on the course of our nation. Let us each act now and know that haven't failed the ideals upon which America was founded.

 

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Dan Dewalt is a musician/woodworker/teacher who authored the Newfane impeachment resolution passed at March 2006 town meetings.
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