Woodstockers say Yes to Impeachment Investigation
by Ed Sanders and Michael Veitch
Woodstock NY, home to many artists, musicians, writers and craftspeople, has been an arts colony for over a hundred years. In the past it has provided safe haven to radicals and to those with controversial beliefs, but its government has not always been considered a hotbed of progressive politics. The demographics, however, have changed drastically during the past several decades, so that now Democrats hold a 3-1 edge over Republicans among registered voters. In spite of this change, the towns government has tended to remain in the control of social conservatives and those who seemed more interested in developing some of the towns beautiful landscape than in worrying about the klingonization of American foreign policy and the savaging of the Roosevelt-Kennedy-Johnson safety nets.
The recent town elections had seen a shift in the town boards composition, bringing it more in line with the philosophy of Woodstocks voters, 85% of whom had voted for Kerry in 2004.
There were a bunch of articles posted recently on the internet on how towns and cities were starting to pass resolutions in support of H635, Rep. John Conyers' bill to investigate Bush and Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors. Why not Woodstock also?
The drive for a resolution in Woodstock began the day after articles on the Vermont impeachment votes had been published. Michael Veitch and Ed Sanders, part of Woodstocks creative community, and active in local environmental and progressive circles, were talking over the phone, and decided it was more than high time to ask Woodstocks town board to get aboard. Veitch prepared a draft resolution, modeled after one recently passed in Vermont, and presented it to the Town Board on April 11. Both Veitch and Sanders, plus a few other local activists, urged the board to pass the resolution. It was agreed that the board would allow a debate on the resolution at the next weeks meeting.
One method of rousing public support now is to send out appeals and information on public issues over various local e-mail lists. This was done during the days leading up to the debate on the impeachment resolution, so that there was a rather large audience on hand for the April 18 meeting. The supervisor, who had come to power as a Republican candidate, and later switched his enrollment to Democrat, was not inclined to support the resolution.
The resolution that Michael Veitch had submitted the previous week was debated. Meanwhile, it came out that town board member Steve Knight, himself a fairly well known musician (hed been in the band Mountain in his younger days), had drawn up his own pro-impeachment resolution, which he read to the board to the audiences loud approval.
Woodstock allows considerable public debate from the floor on most town issues. "I totally disagree with Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. They are not doing a very good job at all." said 9 year old Olya Ricco whose mother had driven her from nearby Hunter, NY. "If we remain silent, then we are complicit with the crimes being committed." said local resident Craig Barber. Another resident, Brad Will, countered references to 9/11 by saying " I think this resolution is about pure incompetence. We don't get the full truth. It's disingenuous."
Several efforts were made by opponents of the measure, including the Town supervisor, to weaken and water down the original resolution. When the dust had settled around 11pm, the Town Board had voted 3-2 in support of Steve Knights strong resolution, and Veitch and Sanders agreed to the substitutions. We threw our support behind the reworded resolution. A certified letter will go out to the Clerk of the House of Representatives address to Dennis Hastert and cc'd to Woodstock's progressive Congressman Maurice Hinchey, calling for a select committee to open investigations into possible impeachable offenses by George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Thus Woodstock became the second New York State town or city (Plattsburg was the first) to sound the call for marching the Cheney/Bush duo off to the disgrace of history.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey weighed in after the vote saying: "I think the town board's motion is very much in line with the one I've co-sponsored in Congress. I'm very much behind this."
The nation needs to light up with towns, cities, counties and states taking a stance against the authoritarian neocon nightmare that is leading the United States like a runaway HumVee down a mountain toward disaster. One early duty is for all voting jurisdictions to support House Resolution 635.
IMPEACHMENT INVESTIGATION RESOLUTION adopted 3-2 by the Woodstock Town Board April 18, 2006
WHEREAS the American people require and expect that their highest officials be subject to the laws of the land like any citizen, most particularly under the oath taken by them upon assuming the powers of office, and
WHEREAS President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney appear to have violated laws of the United States by numerous acts, including misleading Congress and the public by alleging threats from the nation of Iraq to justify war against that nation without declaration by the Congress; manipulating prewar intelligence; countenancing torture of prisoners; retaliating against critics; conducting surveillance of American citizens beyond the reach of judicial review; arbitrarily subjecting citizens to indefinite detention without charge and denying them their constitutional right to counsel and judicial relief, and
WHEREAS a great many of the people of Woodstock are suffering extreme dismay, anxiety and indignation at the spectacle of the Executive Branch of their government threatening their constitutional rights and bringing discredit on the nation by apparent commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, and
WHEREAS this intolerable situation cannot be resolved without the truth regarding these acts being established and brought to bear in adjudication by the United States Congress,
THEREFORE be it resolved to declare that the Town Board of the Town of Woodstock calls upon the United States House of Representatives to establish from among its members a select committee to investigate these acts and make recommendation to the Congress with all possible speed concerning possible grounds for impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and prosecution of others who may be found to have participated in the offenses; and be it further
RESOLVED to instruct the Town Clerk to send certified copies of this resolution to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to Congressmen Maurice Hinchey and John Conyers, and to any other officials Mr. Hinchey may suggest.
Michael Veitch is a singer/songwriter and sometimes touring musician. Visit www.michaelveitch.com for more info.