By David Swanson
Hundreds of people were turned away today as capacity crowds packed public forums in U.S. cities to discuss the Downing Street Memo and related evidence that President Bush lied about the reasons for war. Halls were filled to capacity and beyond in LA, Oakland, Seattle, Detroit, Northampton, New York, and elsewhere, for events led by Congress Members, including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, John Conyers, and Maurice Hinchey.
For the second time in the two months since we launched the www.AfterDowningStreet.org campaign, I've been overwhelmed by what we've tapped into. The first time was when we put up a website about the Downing Street minutes and a demand for an investigation into grounds for impeachment. I'd never seen a coalition grow so quickly or a website receive so much traffic. Today we saw crowds of people in red and blue states chant "Impeach Bush!" at events with leaders not yet ready to use the I word. The much maligned American Public is way out ahead of us I'm telling you.
I need to get outside the Beltway more! Today I did so, briefly. I drove over and spoke at an event in Montgomery County, Maryland. The questions I got from the crowd were along the lines of "Why is it so hard to get a Democrat from a solidly Democratic district to introduce articles of impeachment? What are they waiting for?"
What are they waiting for?
If they're waiting for a show of public pressure, they got a good glimpse of it today. The blog entries and photos and audio clips that flowed into the www.AfterDowningStreet.org site all day were full of energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and righteous anger.
The scene in New York was similar. Quoting our blogger:
"I hope many of you are watching this amazing event online. This is a [sic] both a rowdy and a mature crowd! Liz Holtzman was awarded--and she deserved--a standing ovation for her tales of the Nixon Impeachment and her sane cautions about the difficulty of getting Congress to act.
"It will only happen, she reminded us, via the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
"And now Rep. Hinchey is on fire--clear and direct and comprehensive in his exposition of the various crimes that the Bush Administration has, provably, committed.
"It is incredible to be in this hot hall and to feel the energy of the overflow crowd. The will of the people is remarkably clear here..."
"Twelve peacemakers from NE Ohio gathered at the Community Center of Newton Falls (zipcode 44444) to hear a dramatic reading of the Downing Street memo and engage in a lively discussion of local peace events and social justice issues. The entrance to the Community Center is prominently marked by a memorial to four young men from this small town who lost their lives in the War in Vietnam. We felt their spirit among us crying out to a new generation: the politicians lied and we died! Honor the dead - reveal the truth and stop the war!"
Or this one in Louisville, Kentucky: