Standing with signs, and a few in costume, the crowd made it clear that they want an impeachment investigation. The speakers at the rally gave impassioned statements urging the legislators, as well as those in Congress, to take on the serious violations of this administration. The speakers included: Rocky Anderson - Mayor Salt Lake City, Phil Burke - Impeach.tv impeachment scholar, Ann Wright - Ret. Army Colonel, Maggie Lawless - World Can't Wait, TJ Johnson - Green Party, Olympia City Council - Port Military Resistance, and Bob Ficalora - constitution scholar.
Most spoke again at the hearing. They were joined by others who spoke movingly about the need to stop the war in Iraq and to urge the Committee to pass the petition to Congress that would reject the troop surge and the related funding. Several parents whose children were killed in Iraq made a special plea that no one else's children should be placed in harms way for a war they now realize is wrong, illegal and immoral. One of the fathers said that the President was abusing the troops.
Others spoke about the need for impeachment. One cited a quote from William Rehnquist, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who raised concerns in his memoir about the erosion of the Constitution and its checks and balances. Clearly, Rehnquist is not part of a radical fringe.
A few spoke out against U.S. Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Representative Jay Inslee for trying to dissuade the legislators from listening to the people and acting in a way that was consistent with their oaths of office. Murray cutely told the press that she had two words why she opposed impeachmentóDick Cheney. It was clear that she had not even bothered to look at the 8016, which clearly identifies both Bush and Cheney for investigations. She also said publicly that it was a waste of time and in another quote, that it would take at least a year to investigate. Inslee took the other line in the Democrat's script, that it would distract from the Democratic agenda.
The speakers today, however, were quite clear that there is nothing more important than restoring the Constitution and our rights. Several stated that unless Congress stands up to impeach and remove Bush and Cheney, every president will pick up where Bush leaves off when he steps down in 2009. A few also pointed to the already available evidence, including Representative Conyers' Constitution in Crisis report, as well as two court cases that state unequivocally that Bush violated the FISA law and the Geneva Conventions, respectively.
No one spoke in opposition of 8016 and the three Republicans on the Government Operations Committee were noticeably absent. I suppose that might have been the best strategy for them. They surely can't support Bush/Cheney's actions if true but nor can they deny that these are serious allegations that warrant investigation. No doubt, they too are feeling the pressure of party loyalty. Hopefully, they will soon come to accept that Bush/Cheney do not represent the core values of the Republican Party or the American people and will find the courage to say so publicly.
The crowd was hopeful that the Committee would carry forth their message and tell Congress to do its job and begin impeachment investigations.
It was a great day for democracy, with many people speaking so eloquently about the Constitution and the intentions of its framers. The theme was simply this: "We love the Constitution. We miss it and want it back."