230+ Attend Olympia's Impeachment Party
It was party time in Olympia on Friday, December 28th. Over 230 people kindred spirits who believe in our Constitution gathered to enjoy great food and music. It was also a time to recognize the courageous work of Washington State Senators Karen Fraser and Eric Oemig in supporting impeachment.
But the best news: they will put impeachment of Dick Cheney on the Washington Legislature's table in 2008!
"There are times in history that a President and Vice President so abuse their powers—and sadly, this is such a time—that we have to remove them from office," said Washington Senator Eric Oemig. He had sponsored a resolution (SJN 8016) calling for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney in the last legislative session. While a hearing was held, it proved impossible to bring to the floor for a vote because of a technicality.
Oemig pointed out that the challenge of impeachment is that there are so many violations of law that is overwhelming. That list continued to grow over the past year as more information has come out over the last year about torture, the extent of the illegal spying and even lying about outing a CIA operative. What is worse is that the President and Vice President continue to run the same plays. For example, the President and Vice President ignore the NIE reports that state Iran has no nuclear weapons program and go around scaring the American people with the terror of mushroom clouds. The President and the Vice President threaten war, with all options on the table, despite the fact there is no evidence that Iran poses a menace.
Oemig dismissed the idea that it is too late for impeachment. "It is never to late to do the right thing," he stated. He took aim at Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden, who says that there isn't time to impeach Bush and Cheney right now. However, if the attack Iran, well then, says Biden, they have to be impeached. Oemig stated that this position makes no sense. "It is like telling my 2-year old, 'if you do that one more time... '"
"The Constitution is under attack and it is bleeding," said Oemig. But Congress has not done its job. It has not acted to stop the bleeding. He suggested that it was like taking a bleeding person to the emergency room and having them refuse treatment because they had so much other stuff to do.
No one should be surprised, he said, that he would once again introduce an impeachment resolution in the legislature this session.
In some ways, the reason for fighting to preserve the Constitution is quite simple. Oemig does not want to have to tell his child that when the Constitution was being dismantled—when our country was engaged in an illegal war, torture, warrantless spying—he did not stand up and fight to preserve the Constitution.
As a pragmatic realist, he said, it makes sense focus on Cheney first and that is what he will do from day 1 on the legislative session. The crowd gave a deafening roar of approval. This was the gift they wanted this holiday season.
Senator Karen Fraser spoke briefly. She told the audience that she co-sponsored the impeachment bill (SJM 8016) last session because she was concerned about the dramatic changes to the Constitution under this administration. Her support for that bill reflected her own assessment of the dangerous path we are now on but also to give voice to her constituents who have contacted her with their concerns. "Many people came to her quietly that they were afraid of the federal government," she stated. "This fear of government is disturbing."
She encouraged the people in the audience to continue to educate others on the issues surrounding impeachment and to remember that the elected officials do pay attention. They need to know the facts, such as which laws have been broken and they need to get a sense of public sentiment. A professional poll on impeachment among Washington voters would be very persuasive.
Senator Fraser handled some tough questions from the crowd, who were still angry over U.S. Senator Patty Murray's and Representative Jay Inslee's role in stopping an impeachment resolution in the Washington House last session. Others voiced frustration with U.S. Representatives Baird and Smith, who dismiss impeachment. Fraser did not comment on the action or inactions of her fellow Democrats. Instead, she reiterated the need for people to continue to educate the public and elected officials and to use the ballot box. "Voting is more powerful than most people think," she stated.
Linda Boyd, who heads up Washington for Impeachment out of Bellevue, said that impeachment is a grassroots movement and there are groups like this all across the country. Like the people at tonight's party, they are doing whatever they can to protect the Constitution. She encouraged people to get both Democratic and Republican parties in the legislative districts to pass impeachment resolutions. She also was looking forward to the impeachment work in the state legislature and asked people to be prepared to do what they can. "You are here in Olympia and have access that most people around the state do not have," she said. "Your actions can speak for many of us who cannot travel to Olympia."
Linda spoke about the need to get the attention of those who represent us in Washington, DC. The people are angry that their voices are not being heard. "I am pleased to tell you that Cheryl Crist is seriously considering running against Brian Baird in the Democratic primary," she told the audience. Cheryl rose to a standing ovation. It was another gift this holiday season for those who have begun to lose faith in the political system.
But this was mostly a party. It brought together people that had not previously been involved in any of the impeachment efforts over the past year. They gathered is small groups to talk and enjoy great food and drinks. The balloons and holiday flowers created a festive ambience and credit goes to Jennifer Griffis who created this magic.
Great food was donated by many local businesses (Old School Pizzeria, Shellfish Growers for Impeachment, Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, and Fist Tale Ales). The bands (Citizens Band, Street Karaoke Project, Bevy and the Peace Bandits) had people rocking.
"Who knew impeaching Bush and Cheney could be so much fun," said Glen Anderson, member of Olympia's Citizens' Movement to Impeach Bush/Cheney.
The planning committee did an amazing job of pulling the event together and creating a joyful experience in what has been a bleak 7 years. Kudos to Becky Liebman, Charlie Stephens, Glen Aderson, Jerry Smith, Kerri Girffis, Lila Muller and Mark Muller. Thanks also to the many anonymous volunteers who pitched in to make this a successful party!
Everyone emphasized that there is much that can be done. "We can stop the reign," said emcee Jerry Smith, playing after a Credence Clearwater song played by the band. The organizers provided a list of things people can do. "We must resist the disempowering rhetoric that there is nothing we can do," reminded Linda Boyd.
For those of you inclined to add "Impeachment" to your New Year's Resolutions, here are some actions you can take:
· The Citizens' Movement to Impeach Bush/Cheney is gearing up for the 2008 legislative session as well as working on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to begin the investigation of Dick Cheney (H Res 799). . They will meet on Monday, January 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Olympia Center, 222 Columbian NW, downtown Olympia. If you want to get involved, now is the time. Members of the group are also available to speak about impeachment to your neighbors and groups, so please contact them. There are also dvds available that have been very effective in laying out the case for impeachment and you can order them from Glen Anderson at 360 491-9093.
· The Thurston County Democrats will be voting on an impeachment resolution at their January 28th meeting, 7 p.m. at the Thurston County Court House. If you are a member, please come to vote.
· Write letters to the editor. Keep them short (check limits. The Olympian is 250 words).
· Sign on-line petition that Congressman Robert Wexler (member of the House Judiciary Committee who is gathering support to begin investigating Cheney) at: www.wexlerwantshearings.com
· Let you elected officials know that you are concerned about the dismantling of the Constitution by the President and Vice President. They have amassed far too much power at the expense of our rights—no president and vice president should get away with lying about the need for war, illegally spying on citizens, arresting anyone they say is an "enemy combatant" and holding them without due process and without their right to habeas corpus, and allowing the use of torture. If that is not enough, their efforts to dismantle our system of divided power (the 3 co-equal branches of government) to create a "unitary executive" form of government (think dictator here) should be of concern to every American.
1. At the national level: call, write, email and tell them you want them to support the House Resolution calling for an impeachment investigation of Dick Cheney:.
Toll free number: 800 828-0498:
Chair of the House Judiciary Committee: John Conyers 202 255-5162
Congressman Brian Baird: 360 352-9768 email: brian.barid.@mial.house.gov
Congressman Adam Smith, toll-free: 888 764-8409 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congressman Norm Dicks 253 593-6536 email@example.com
· Contact you legislative representatives and ask them to support the impeachment resolution. Unlike other "memorials", when a state passes a resolution calling for an impeachment investigation, it is treated as if a U.S. Representative introduced it. It is treated seriously an sent to the House Judiciary Committee. Yes, there is no guarentee that they will act on it but we believe that they must continue to feel the pressure. At the end of the day, most incumbents want to be re-elected and impeachment will be a key issue in how many people will vote in the 2008 election.
o Last year, they legislators received more emails and calls about impeachment than any other issue. It was enough to get their attention. This year, the people need to get them to act.
· Be ready to come to the Washington State legislature to attend rally and hearing on impeachment as well as talk to elected officials and their staff about impeachment.
· Get cities and organizations to support an impeachment resolution. (check websites for model resolutions: www.citizensimpeach.org and www.washingtonforimpeachment.org
· Hand an impeachment sign in your window, wear an impeachment pin around town, and/or put an impeachment bumper sticker on your car.
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