By Elizabeth de la Vega
The Public Record
Saturday, June 14, 2008
It is entirely possible to be a reasonably well-informed citizen of the United States and not know that on June 9, 2008, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D. Ohio) took to the floor of the House of Representatives and spent over four hours reading thirty-five Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.
Even worse, it is not merely possible, but likely, that the vast majority of people who have been more than willing to ignore or ridicule those charges have not read them. Or, if they have read them, they have found the allegations and citations so overwhelming they just switch off their minds. Perhaps surprisingly, I understand this phenomenon quite well. I spent many years attempting to present complex and disturbing information to people in the context of criminal indictments and cases. And the truth is that legal documents are confusing to everyone, including lawyers. Much as I hate to admit it, for example, I have never been able to plow through our family will, so for all I know, our very meager estate has been designated by my husband to be held in trust for the care and feeding of ferrets.
But the House Judiciary Committee does not, of course, have the luxury of being so cavalier. For the past seven years, we have watched as evidence of President Bush's deceit, contempt of Congress and abuse of power has piled up like rank seaweed on a beach. We cannot, in this summer of 2008, simply step around it and pretend it's not there. There is a constitutional process to follow and we must follow it. If the threat of terrorism is not a reason to disregard the constitution - and it is not - then surely neither is an election.
[Part I (.pdf)] So I have decided to offer some help, a modest contribution in the one area I know best: the presentation of charges. It's a Three-Part Guide to the Articles of Impeachment. There is nothing fancy here -- no sarcasm, no vitriol and no cynicism. Part I is a chart that itemizes the Articles of Impeachment with a subheading and a longer description. Part II is also a chart which itemizes U.S. and international laws that are implicated by the charges in the Articles of Impeachment. (Quite properly, not every impeachable offense is based on a specific legal violation.) In Part III, to come early next week, I will present an opening statement setting forth - just as a prosecutor would do before a trial -what the evidence would show with regard to these allegations.
Forward them around, if you would. At the very least - before we decide to ignore it --we should all clearly and unflinchingly apprehend the nature and scope of this executive misconduct and its consequent human misery and damage to our country.
Part I: http://www.pubrecord.org/docs/vega/kucinich-bush-articles-of-impeachment.pdf
Part II: http://www.pubrecord.org/docs/vega/kucinich-bush-articles-of-impeachment-violations.pdf
Part III: Coming next week