"Americans can't handle another impeachment." So say the supporters of George W. Bush in their anti-impeachment propaganda.
The truth is Americans CAN handle another impeachment. They CAN handle the truth. In fact, if Americans don't bring Bush and Cheney to justice after the atrocities they've committed, this nation will never reclaim its moral authority. And the people of this nation will be despised for unleashing these dangerous men on the world.
"Americans can't handle another impeachment" isn't a truth. It's a device. Like 'weapons of mass destruction.' 'A mushroom cloud.' 'Gassed his own people.' 'Sought significant quantities of uranium from A-f-r-i-c-a.' These are the sound bytes, the parroted propaganda, which brought us to war. Each is a proven lie, told time and again by well-rehearsed pundits. Verbatim delivery. Robotic form. Repeated ad nauseam by grown-up children of the damned. It sounded good for Nicholson in "A Few Good Men," but rings pretty hollow here. Americans CAN handle and probe for the truth.
As soon as the midterm elections were settled and Democrats took back control, the Republican parrots flew onto the scene. The first to land was smooth talking Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays, who perched on cspan the morning of November 9th. Within minutes Shays proclaimed the pitfalls of impeachment, responding to an oped by former Republican House Majority Leader, Dick Armey. In his article, Armey advised Republicans to "demonstrate an ability to be good stewards of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. If Republicans do these things, they will also restore the public's faith in our standards of personal conduct."
Shays' conditioned response: "He's totally right, but we didn't lose that [the public's faith] in the last week or two or month. We lost it when we decided to go after the President [Clinton] and impeach him. The moment we did that Republicans thought this is how we gain the absolute majority. The irony is after trying to impeach the President in the sixth year of President Clinton's term in office we should have picked up seats. We lost seats. You would have thought right then and there that we would have woken up. We never got back to our agenda after impeachment."
Observe Shays' specific reference to the sixth year of the President's term. The message from Shays to Democrats: Impeaching George Bush will cost you in 2008.
The message from Democrats to Shays: We won't succumb to your sound bytes. We won't listen to your lies.
An analysis by John Nichols, written that same day in The Capital Times, proves historically that impeachment is not a political liability. Nichols says, "There have been nine attempts since the founding of the republic to move articles of impeachment against a sitting president. In the cases in which impeachment was proposed by members of an opposition party, that party either maintained or improved its position in Congress at the next general election. In seven instances the party that proposed impeachment secured the presidency in the next election."
Thus quashing Shays' Republican propaganda.
If America and Americans are to be resurrected in the eyes of the world, proper investigation of the Bush administration is a Democratic mandate. If, as I believe, incontrovertible evidence of Bush and Cheney's high crimes and misdemeanors is uncovered, impeachment proceedings should go forth. Already, prior to any Congressional investigations taking place, volumes have been written delineating the impeachable crimes of Bush and Cheney. High level symposiums have been held. Dozens of Constitutional scholars have spoken, all convinced of their guilt.
Conversely, prior to Bill Clinton's impeachment, just one principal volume detailing his "crime" was prepared. A scandalous and shameful project, salaciously compiled by Special Prosecutor Ken Starr in a political witch hunt that was obvious to the world. The impeachment of Bill Clinton was an international embarrassment. To most of the world, Clinton was a beloved and respected leader, guilty of a personal indiscretion. Not of high crimes and misdemeanors. Not of lying the nation into war. Not of bypassing and ignoring the Constitution. Not of reversing a Constitutionally prescribed centuries old law.
What shocked the world most about Bill Clinton's impeachment was that he was ever impeached at all. It made a farce of our political system, and our values. Americans appeared petty and juvenile. Unable to distinguish between what was crucial to good governance and what was not. Impeaching Bill Clinton was a black mark on our history. Not against him. Against us.
But impeaching George W. Bush will be constructive for America and Americans. It will be educational. Americans will watch the proceedings and learn about the Constitution. They'll receive a long overdo lesson on the Constitutional responsibilities of their President, the balance of powers, and gain a clearer understanding of their own rights and freedoms. Americans will acquire an insight into proper governance to make them better stewards of their democracy.
America, the nation, will regain some of the moral authority diminished by Bush and Cheney. The rest of the world will know that America can distinguish between insignificant and substantial. Clinton was impeached for matters insignificant to his leadership of the nation. Bush will be impeached for matters so substantial that they caused the deaths of thousands and endangered the whole world.
Americans needn't worry that Impeachment proceedings and investigative hearings will detract from Congress' time to attend to its legislative responsibilities. I have the utmost confidence in the organizational skills of Speaker Pelosi. I'm certain she will institute a process which permits Congress to fulfill its legislative duties while addressing the Executive's dereliction of duty. Unlike prior Speaker Hastert, Speaker Pelosi has made clear her edict to put an end to the House as a part-time Institution and return it to a full-time, fully functioning place of governance. We will hold her to that promise.
Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid were voted a mandate to probe for the truth. Though Pelosi contends "Impeachment is off the table," we patriots contend that it is not. When Pelosi says "Democrats don't get even," we say, Madame Speaker, we're not impeaching to get even. We're impeaching to make even... the Branches of government that have gotten out of line.
Let the proceedings begin!!
Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Her writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and domestic and international journals. She's a member of CodePink Women For Peace and Progressive Democrats of America. Over the past three decades Linda has divided her time between the entertainment industry, community projects and education.