Lies and cover-ups. Illegal wiretaps. Secret prisons. A war of choice sold as a war of necessity. Security threats used for political gains. A return of the robber barons. Benign neglect.
Six-plus years of the Bush gang is six years too many and another two may be two more than our fragile democracy can handle.
That may be why the unmentionable word, impeachment, has begun to be whispered in polite circles. US Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) raised its specter in Esquire. Other elected officials are also getting into the act. A brushfire appears to be smoldering and, if we can continue to fuel it, the small blaze has the potential to ignite a wildfire that drives the president from office.
Consider the tour of Vermont that John Nichols of The Nation has been making along with Cindy Sheehan and three Iraq War veterans, a tour Nichols wrote about recently for his Nation blog.
"The first thing I did in the United States military was swear to defend the Constitution," former Marine Cpl. Matt Howard, who served two combat tours in Iraq, told Nichols. "I swore an oath to defend the Constitution, and that is what I'm doing now by speaking out against the war and against this administration."
His colleague, former Army Sgt. Adrienne Kinne, put it more bluntly.
"If you want to support the troops, you need to support the Constitution," she said. "And you need to recognize that if you support the Constitution, you must support impeachment."
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and Washington State Sen. Eric Oemig are taking the same tack. Oemig invited Anderson to Washington in early March to speak on behalf of the Washington Democrat's impeachment resolution accusing President George W. Bush "of providing Congress and Americans "distorted" intelligence to make the case for the Iraq invasion, squandering taxpayer money on the war, conducting electronic surveillance of Americans without warrants and using the 'enemy combatant' status to strip 'American citizens of their constitutional rights.'" (Salt Lake City Tribune)
"I'm interested in doing absolutely everything we can to heighten the awareness of the American people of how this president and his administration have brought our country to probably the lowest moral point in our history," Anderson to the Salt Lake City paper. "If impeachment is not appropriate under these circumstances, I can't imagine a case where it would be."
Several other states are considering similar resolutions, though as in Washington they appear to have little chance of passage. But the vote, in this case, is not the issue. The issue is that a constitutional remedy designed to protect the American people from an out-of-control chief executive is no longer taboo, with several polls showing Americans would favor impeachment if it could be shown that the administration manipulated intelligence to lead the nation into war. And the president's approval rating has hovered in the low-30s for months, falling as low as 29% in early March.
Apparently, the public is ready to at least listen.
That's where Impeach07 (www.impeach07.org) -- a new coalition that includes After Downing Street Memo, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Gold Star Families for Peace, the National Lawyers Guild and others &endash;- comes in.
The group is organizing a series of events &endash;- including an April 28 "nationwide day of protest for impeachment" &endash;- designed to raise awareness and "organize people throughout the US to demand that Congress impeach."
Elaine Brower, mother of a US Marine who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, speaks for many of us when she says, "Enough is enough."
"If we do not demand impeachment of Bush and Cheney for war crimes, the entire world will be facing endless death and devastation," she said in an Impeach07 press release. "We are allowing our government officials free rein to wreak havoc unless we, the people, get a backbone to stop them."
Hank Kalet is a poet and managing editor of two weekly newspapers in central New Jersey. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and see his blog, Channel Surfing, at www.kaletblog.com.
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