Most Popular Idea @ Out of Iraq Event? Impeachment
Most Popular Idea at Last Weekend's Out of Iraq Events? Impeachment.
By David Swanson
A long list of peace organizations put together over 150 town hall forums last Saturday on the topic of getting out of Iraq. Reports, and audio and video, from dozens of these events have been posted at www.afterdowningstreet.org. What I gather from reviewing the reports, and from the two events I attended, is that the most popular topic was not the horrors of war or any legislation to end it, but the demand to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Given that opposition to this war has grown as exposure of the lies that launched it has advanced, going after the war-makers could turn out to be the fastest way to end the war. No doubt, it's the best way to end the war on terms that make the next war less likely to come soon. In any case, it's where the people's passion is, and at some point a democratic movement has to let that be its guide.
course, we've known the popularity of impeachment from
But it's powerful to hear it in person in so many different voices. And it means more now that Congressman John Conyers has introduced a bill to create an investigation into grounds for impeachment, and the bill has begun to pick up cosponsors. Judging by Congress Members' remarks on Saturday, there should be some more cosponsors on the list soon.
We don't have reports from all of the events, but we know that overflow crowds were turned away in Sacramento, Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Progressive Democrats of America has summarized the day of events here:
The Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska ran this headline: "Antiwar rally reflects changing attitudes," and wrote about people's opinions shifting against the war.
Last Thursday, Congressman Jim Moran hosted a town hall forum with Congressman John Murtha. A veteran of the current war asked them "Why not impeach Bush-Cheney?" That question resulted in by far the loudest and longest applause of the evening -- an extended period of foot-stomping, hooting, and hollering.
That was a pattern that would repeat itself around the country on Saturday. Some discussions ruled out that topic for debate, some speakers dismissed it, some embraced it, some collected signatures in support of Conyers' bills. But, across the country, the topic of impeachment generated intense passion.
At the forum in Washington, D.C., I received applause when I introduced speakers and mentioned that they'd done work to promote impeachment. At the forum in San Diego, Congressman Bob Filner, I'm told, received three standing ovations, the loudest and longest when he mentioned impeachment. In Sacramento, Cindy Sheehan stressed the need for impeachment and was a huge hit.
Our blogger, Suz Krueger, reported from Livonia, Mich.: "Though I arrived later because roads were icy and despite terrible road conditions, the room was to capacity and overflowing--close to 200 people here at Livonia Town Hall and people are still coming. When I walked in the door, [Congressman Conyers] was discussing the Nixon White House and how this administration is not only comparable to [that] White House, but he explained how laws were passed as a result of Nixon's abuse of power. He believes this will happen now to the new Nixon."
Congressman Major Owens told a crowd in Brooklyn that, of course, he supports impeachment!
Rita Weinstein reported from Seattle: "[Congressman Jim] McDermott believes that, as big and as serious an issue as the war is, an even bigger issue is that freedom and democracy are at risk. This excessively secretive administration wants to silence all dissent. "They want one party, one country, one voice-THEIRS." He feels we need two exit strategies-one for Iraq and one for getting rid of this administration. He believes that the only adequate response is to investigate the means of impeachment."
Jeff Richardson reported: "Our event in Tacoma, Washington, was totally awesome! We had over three hundred people in this beautiful church, First United Methodist on MLK Jr. Way, great sound system, lots of enthusiasm, folks were itching to ask questions of our Congressman. It was great. After the Q & A period, we showed the folks a little slice of the Progressive Roundtable, which is our area's way of connecting local activists. Then we had several workshops on everything from The Growing Economic Divide to The Citizenship Toolkit and The Stop the War Now! Panel, which received the most attendance of any of the workshops. Half of the questions we received were on the subject of impeachment. There is a hunger in this land for accountability, of some way we can take this criminal President down and restore our national credibility again."
Another Tacoma activist reported: "We came away with a few really great ideas for actions that could involve more people and could bring in to the impeach bush ideology, more common folk who are not currently involved."
The Santa Barbara News Press published an article on the event there, which said: "The event on the busy downtown street featured people who displayed signs with biting political barbs denouncing the Bush administration: "They lie to us. They spy on us. Impeach." Another said: "Rich man's war, poor man's blood."
WISCTV News in Madison, Wis., reported: "A group of Madison citizens wants to impeach President George W. Bush. More than 300 people packed the Labor Temple Saturday afternoon to discuss weapons of mass destruction, wiretapping and the war in Iraq. The rally wasn’t about changing the administration’s view, it was about impeachment."
Kitchel reported from Red Bluff, Calif.: "Red Bluff Peace &
Justice Coalition of California (zip code 96055) had a good
turnout. We held signs and collected signatures for Rep.
Conyers' petition." The petition is one in support of an
investigation into grounds for impeachment.
B. Emily Sykes reported from San Anselmo: "No one wanted to leave and everyone wanted to come again to Social Justice Center in San Anselmo. Republicans were mentioned as potential next step targets even though someone said. 'If you can't convince your own party why do you think the Republicans will listen?' Turns out the only Democrat in the meeting was just getting info to present to the party to form an impeachment task force. The rest of us seem to be Green. People have called today who missed the mtg. and want to be on our 'list'."
From Northbrook, Ill.: - "In the true spirit of a town hall meeting, our entire program was based on responding to questions from the audience. We also set the ground rules that we would only discuss how to move forward in Iraq, not how we got into this mess. (As our esteemed moderator, Mr. Aaron Freeman said, 'We'll leave that for the impeachment committee...')"
Carol Wolman reports that Monday's East Bay impeachment meeting had "3x as many as at any previous meeting. Most of the people had been to at least one previous meeting. The discussion was lively, and the mood much more upbeat and optimistic than at earlier meetings. This was noted, and attributed to the revelation about Bush's warrantless wiretapping, which has everyone up in arms."