by Walter Brasch
American Reporter correspondent
July 29, 2007
WHEN LEADERS ARE AFRAID TO LEAD
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the House has so much to do that impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush would be a distraction.
John Conyers (D-Mich.), chair of the House judiciary committee, says there aren't enough votes to impeach the President or Vice-President and that he would rather "propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses."
Both Pelosi and Conyers are right. There are at least a couple of dozen reasons not to initiate impeachment proceedings, and only one reason to do so. Because it's right.
It's right because the two men who swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States have violated that oath, and caused others to violate that oath for whatever reasons they may or may not have had. It's right because a failure to hold them accountable would be a failure to hold any elected federal official, now and in the future, accountable. It's right because failure to impeach is a signal to allow unchecked abuses of power by future presidents and vice-presidents.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) filed a resolution in April to impeach Dick Cheney. Kucinich, one of the few elected officials who courageously spoke out against the impending war in Iraq, and who has been vigorous in his opposition to Constitutional abuse, filed HR 333, now with 14 co-sponsors, to help assure that impeachment against Mr. Bush won't leave the nation with Oil-Drip Dick as president.
With each new step these two take, with every action, lie, and stonewall tactic, the movement for impeachment has gained credibility and strength. About 45 percent of Americans believe President Bush should be impeached, according to a survey conducted this month by the non-partisan American Research Group. About 54 percent want the House to launch impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney. Eighty cities in 10 states and the State Senate of Vermont have passed resolutions calling for impeachment. Hundreds of mass rallies have called for impeachment.
Dozens of organizations have been formed not only to energize Americans to push for impeachment, but to give reasonable explanations why impeachment is necessary. ImpeachBush.org has collected almost one million signatures on a petition for impeachment. Impeachforpeace.org has a Do-It-Yourself kit that shows how, in the absence of Congressional action, citizens can initiate impeachment charges.
Among those calling for impeachment are a wide range of Americans of every ethnic, religious, social, and political demographic. Among advocates for impeachment are former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel; the National Lawyers Guild; conservative columnist Pat Buchanan, and even the right-wing John Birch Society.
Among the recent books which have methodically outlined reasons and legal precedent for impeachment are Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush by the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Impeachment of George W. Bush by Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper, Impeach the President by Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips, United States v. George W. Bush et al. by Elizabeth de la Vega, and The Case for Impeachment by David Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky (May 2007).
On only the flimsiest of reasons, the Republican Congress impeached President Bill Clinton. Despite elephantine roaring, their reasons had nothing to do with protecting the Constitution, and everything to do with political greed, vindictiveness, and the desire to mute the progress President Clinton gave the nation, while they paved a path for a Republican takeover of the White House.
The Democratic leadership - late in coming out against the war in Iraq, late in opposing the PATRIOT Act, late in recognizing and publicly opposing the mistreatment of prisoners - stared into space until they felt the winds of change generated by the American people. It's now time for the people to demand more than bluster and empty rhetoric.
Gandhi was once asked, "Where are you going?" and answered, "There go my people; I must run to catch up with them for I am their leader." He understood that social revolution begins with a small group of people, and that leaders must be willing to run to that group to help give direction in order to attain a greater good. Unlike what seems to pass among America's elected officials, whose concerns seem to be raising money to get re-elected and then pandering to those who could re-elect them, Gandhi was a true leader.
It would be nice to see American leaders running to be ahead of therest of us, leaders who realize that to be leaders they must first lead. Until that happens, it will have to be the masses who lead. Pursuing Articles of Impeachment to protect what our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor would be the patriotic way to honor them and our nation.
Dr. Brasch's latest books are America's Unpatriotic Acts and 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com.