Brattleboro Vermont resident Kurt Daims has drafted a ballot question petition calling for the town to indict George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for crimes against the Constitution, and making it the law that if either man comes to town, he would be liable to arrest.
Some will say that this is just another unenforceable ordinance at best, and an absurdity at worst. Others worry that it will detract from the gravity of the impeachment movement as it stands today, on the cusp of forcing hearings in the House Judiciary committee. The argument will be made that such “extreme” rhetorical proclamations only serve to divide us further from each other, marginalizing the demand for accountability, rather than promoting it.
Upon reflection these arguments can be answered and laid to rest.
To date, the most persuasive and productive arguments for impeachment have been based upon the Constitution, which is suffering most egregiously under this administration and Congress, and which expressly proscribes the remedy to be taken should these circumstances arise. And while these arguments are making headway in the halls of Congress, where impeachment must happen, the politicians who are supposed to represent us do not yet understand the depth and breadth of our disgust and dismay with their dereliction of duty. While a growing number have joined the call for impeachment, far too many are towing the identical Republican/Democratic party line of ignoring the Bush/Cheney administration’s repeated constitutional violations.
When we last faced a King George who labored to: “subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution” by: “depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury: For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses”, when we last found that “our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury”, we knew what conclusion to draw: “A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” These of course are quotes from the Declaration of Independence. And when this document was solemnly signed and made public, it had no legal standing whatsoever. It had no chance of succeeding against the world’s greatest empire. It alienated the colonists still friendly to England. It drew a line that clearly demarcated the divide that already existed in colonial society. Those who signed it were branded as radicals and, in fact, made outlaws by virtue of their signatures.
Independence was declared because the laws and actions of the government were violating the laws of nature and common morality. As members of a commonweal, colonists understood that it was their inherent right, if not duty, to rise in defense of societal standards of humanity, decency and fairness. Mr. Daims and others who drafted the Brattleboro Bush/Cheney Indictment are acting in the same spirit, and with the same moral authority as our founders did in 1776.
Prosecutors in France, Spain and many other countries have issued indictments for crimes against humanity committed outside of their borders, without regard to the nationality of the perpetrator. In some cases, prosecutors have won arrests, extraditions and prosecutions. Why shouldn’t Brattleboro give precedence to Constitutional, American and International law, rather than bow to political expediency and a misplaced desire to not rock the boat? The boat has already foundered. The nation is already divided. Our political leaders have debased themselves and rendered our Republic dysfunctional.
Let us support this call for an indictment. Let Brattleboro show the nation that in the current course of events, it has become necessary for Americans to take action. The current government respects neither the Constitution nor the people. Let us represent ourselves.