Al McSurely is a legendary civil rights lawyer in Chapel Hill who could give us all a lesson in progressive activism. Here's an email BlueNC received from him yesterday reporting on efforts to put an end to the error that is the Bush Administration.
The Grassroots Impeachment Movement (GRIM) began four months sgo when we learned President Bush and Vice President Cheney had ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to violate the 4th Amendment of the Constitution with an unconstitutional domestic spying program. Up until January 2006, the sporadic calls for impeachment were driven by northern anti-war activists. Bringing criminal charges, or impeaching Bush and Cheney seemed impossible. But the news about massive phone taps, in the wake of Katrina, torture, the Downing Street Memo, and profiteering illegalities in Iraq, caused many ordinary citizens to say, “Enough.” We all realized together: 2008 Is Too Late! By mid-January a grass roots impeachment Movement had spontaneously begun to spread here and a few other areas—a Movement that now has taken roots across the country. A February poll showed 53% of Americans wanted to conduct investigations that would lead to impeachment.
Bush’s ability to govern is plummeting. The drumbeat of unnecessary death and destruction in Iraq (“Mission Accomplished”) and Afghanistan (“Enduring Freedom”) is a daily reminder of the fantasy land that Cheney and his military/social engineering underlings live in. Cheney’s main man, Scooter Libby, is now being jerked back to reality by his impending jury trial in January 2007 and his memory will get better about the roles of his two bosses—Cheney and Bush—in the exposure of the identity of a CIA agent. Evidence from discovery in the lawsuits of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU will produce headlines and impeachment recruits. Whistleblowers are coming forward daily with evidence of criminal wrongdoings.
Bush’s political muscle has gotten flabby. He no longer can control his own minority party and cannot govern. Each time we fill our tanks and the pockets of his Big Oil sponsors, his ratings go down. His free-fall in the Triangle area is prompting ordinary citizens to find their tongues and legs. They can’t take Bush’s criminal incompetence anymore. More important than discovering our tongues and legs, we are finding our backbones straightening. True patriots talk, walk, and stand tall. Think Patrick Henry. Thomas Paine. Rosa Parks. Ordinary citizens are standing tall as they realize there is a constitutional path to save the constitution.
The rapidly developing power vacuum has occurred so quickly in Washington that it has created silly, but temporary, dispute about tactics for American Patriots. We want to save our country and its constitution. Most of us (70% at last count) have lost all confidence in Bush/Cheney. Yet many of us have not confronted the fact that each day that passes with Bush in power makes his mess harder to clean up for his successor. If his criminal activities here and abroad continue unchecked until his successor takes office in January 2009, his messes will be almost impossible to clean up. Each day Bush remains, his globally televised criminal incompetence converts thousands of people of good will around the world into America-haters. Each day he remains, we go deeper in debt—financially and morally.
This sense of urgency is shared by many friends who have worked hard to energize and give direction to the rudderless Democratic Party. They believe their energy should go toward electing a Democratic House and Senate Some argue, wrongly I believe, that nothing can be done until Democrats win at least one house of Congress. This increasingly looks possible. But helping Democrats win Congress and working to impeach Bush are not opposed to each other. In fact they complement each other.
The grass roots impeachment movement is designed to give all citizens . . . Democrats and Republicans. . .congressional representatives and ordinary people . . . to get some back bone. Democracy works best when ordinary people stand up and point out the obvious: the emperor has no clothes.
Ordinary Citizens Breaking the Washington Beltway Jam: Our first meeting in Carrboro had 140 citizens who were ready to pressure the one person who could do something about Bush: our Representative, David Price. We met with him once and he said impeachment was a fringe movement. We held a forum in Chapel Hill with 150 people and Price moved some. We had 70 citizens participate in an impeachment meeting in Hillsborough, 65 in Durham, and we expect similar numbers at the Pittsboro Courthouse on Tuesday, May 23rd. A citizen from Carrboro, Kent Kanoy, picked up our blood-stained Constitution and ran on a single issue: Impeach Bush. Without raising a dime, Kanoy received over 2, 760 votes to impeach Bush.
Ordinary Republicans, Independents and Democrats Standing Up: In 1974 the House Judiciary Committee had 38 members, 21 Democrats and 17 Republicans. When Nixon’s cover-up began to unravel with the daily revelations from whistleblowers (Mark Felt was only one!) and all the President’s men began to feel the heat of criminal prosecutions, the Judiciary Committee brought charges of Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Powers. The Committee Chair, Peter Rodino, led in a respectful, bi-partisan fashion. The vote on the Obstruction of Justice charge was 27- 10, with 7 Republicans voting for this charge. On whether Nixon Abused His Power, the vote was 28 to 9, with 8 Republicans voting to impeach Nixon. Almost half of the Republicans on the Committee (8 out of 17) voted to charge the leader of their party who had won a land-slide election for them less than two years before! These Republicans put our country, the rule of law, and the truth ahead of party loyalty.
Rep. John Conyers recently wrote a bi-partisan approach should be the model if Democrats regain control of the House. Many Lincoln Republicans are remembering why they became Republicans—to serve and protect the Constitution that President Lincoln fought and died for. Fox News(!) reported this week that 28% of Republicans want drastic change from Bush. These times call for clear thinking and strong back bones. Our website opens soon at grassrootsimpeachment.org.
I share Al McSurely's worry that the Bush administration is creating a mess so tragic and expansive that we will be decades unraveling it. I share his outrage that Congress is complicit in the collapse of integrity and the rule of law in a nation gone wild with imperial aggression. I share his belief that George W. Bush deserves nothing less than impeachment. And the sooner the better.