Rethinking Impeachment, and Cindy Too

July 11, 2007 by susan
Cindy Sheehan giving peace sign

I've been putting together a follow-up to my Star Trib piece (in which I propose a national rally to call for impeachment hearings against Dick Cheney) that would provide links to impeachment sites, impeachment videos and various calls to action.

You're all probably ahead of me on this one, but there's Impeachcheney.org and Impeachpac.org and Commondreams.org and Afterdowningstreet.org and scads of others.

Most of them have links to Robert Greenwald's new three minute video calling for Cheney's impeachment as well. Read on, because I'm not going where you think.

With Greenwald of Brave New Films (Iraq for Sale -The War Profiteers, Wal-mart-The High Cost of Low Price, etc.) putting his Hollywood connections and know-how behind the impeachment drive, I figured we were gearing up to something big, the biggest rally ever seen in DC, maybe a target date of mid-September to complement all the good news that's scheduled to be revealed about the surge.

And then a familiar name stopped me in my tracks. (Caution, heresy ahead.) Cindy Sheehan has ended her short retirement, and along with "threatening" to run against Nancy Pelosi, she's also leading a march from Crawford, Texas to Arlington Cemetery, to Capitol Hill and on to Central Park where, "On July 29th, we will be re-creating the Summer of Love and hold a "Gather-in of Hearts" in Central Park with leading activists and musical entertainment. Proceeds will go to Iraqi Refugees and for medical supplies for Iraqi hospitals."

Now, good for Cindy for getting out there and doing something while people like me dither and say "why doesn't someone do something?". And her rally in Central Park, the old summer of love thing, doesn't sound that far off from what I was proposing we do at the nation's capitol. Kumbayah and all that.

So why did my heart sink to hear of her plans? Because sadly, I don't think Cindy is the one to lead this national effort. She was brilliant in the ditch at Crawford, the first to stand up and face the beast. And who can argue with her anguish over her son's loss in a criminal war? (Well, not even Shrub, obviously, who was too ashamed or chicken shit to come out and talk to her.)

But alas, she lacked the leadership to rally a nation, no easy feat I grant you. She came close, and she coalesced our anger that summer in Crawford, but then she seemed to get sidetracked. (The lovefest with Hugo Chavez ie.) To me, she often appeared to be propelled to the front by those shoving from behind, instead of leading those behind with her own clear voice and vision.

And then came her retirement, which seemed right. She'd done all she could, and there was more dignity in her departure than there was in much of her leadership.

So this comeback, only weeks after her very public retirement, plays into the accusations that she's a media glutton, that it's all about Cindy, that she lacks a clear head, and that she's easily used by those around her. And her "threat" to run against Nancy Pelosi, whatever you think of Pelosi, makes her appear delusional about her own powers and popularity.

Maybe I'm way off on this. Maybe her march will catch the imagination of our awakening populace. Maybe her grassroots organizing in small towns along the route will be the flint that finally ignites the flames of outrage. Maybe middle Americans will identify with her loss and find her their cup o' tea this time around. But I don't think so.

Thinking of Cindy headlining an event calling for Cheney's impeachment made me feel like we were going in reverse. And that got me to wondering if the impeachment frenzy, which had totally caught me up, isn't a huge distraction, especially with the Dem's slim majority in Congress, meaning the outcome isn't likely to go our way. It's satisfying as hell to see Representatives like my own Keith Ellison and others lining up behind the impeachment bill, and it would be even more satisfying to see Cheney tossed out and ultimately behind bars.

But maybe – and it pains me to say this -- we need to let that go. The impeachment part, that is, which seems more about vengeance than undoing the damage he's caused. (Criminal prosecution is another story. Let 'er rip. Behind every lying Scooter is a felonious boss.)

The impeachment of Cheney, while justified and appropriate, would prove that we don't tolerate lies and lawlessness from our leaders (har-dee-har) but it won't get us out of Iraq one day sooner, it won't address fanaticism and terrorism -- real threats exacerbated by Bushco, which our side cannot downplay -- it won't touch the hot coal of immigration, nor the gutting of America’s middle class, and it won't stop the desecration of our planet. For starters.

The circus of impeachment would sure be fun, but maybe we need to skip the circus and get to work. On what? Storming the Bastille, of course, or if that seems grandiose, I guess just the elections of 2008. Ho-hum.

I'm sure people will write to me insisting that the Dems are as bad as the Repubs, and I hear you -- and disagree. But short of storming the fortress I don't see any alternative.

Imagine January, 2009, and listening to a president who speaks of science, not faith, and who promotes diplomacy, not war. Heck, imagine listening to a president who speaks -- at all. That's the starting point in unraveling this Bushian knot. It's the tiniest speck of light, but it's where I'm headed.

And if a constellation of stars, planetary or otherwise, lines up in front of the White House to stand witness for peace and mother Earth, and to decry all things Cheney and Bush, I'm there. And if they happen to call for Cheney's impeachment while they're at it, well, I won't argue.

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Comments

perhansa (not verified) | July 11, 2007 - 5:47pm

Ughh...I totally agree. We need an MLK type to lead this revolution but there doesn't seem to be one--how about Al Gore? Seems like a better role for John Edwards than his sure-to-come-to-nothing attempt to unseat H & O. How about Wendell Berry? Bill Moyers? Maybe we could draft someone...

Or maybe it's all part of god's mysterious PLAN and BushCheneyGonzoEtal will be sucked down at the last minute by the weight of their massive egos and massive failures and massive corruptions cropping up each day. That's how the Bible stories all turn out...the bad guys are undone by their own greedy evil egos and the faithful get another lesson on humility and restraint...which makes me wonder...where the h*** is god in all this????? Does S/HE really bless and support this kind of dishonest-immoral-idiotic-incompetent behavior? Is this how S/HE blesses America? WIth the likes of George Bush Dick Cheney Alberto Gonzales, etc. Where the h*** are the churches? Why aren't they leading a march to Washington? Where's the Pope? Where's the Catholic Church? Where are the Buddhists? Where are the Dietrich Bonhoeffer's? WIlliam Wilberforce's? How 'bout we get the Pope and the Dalai Lama to lead the march? Why AREN'T religious people raising holy hell about this??? It's IMMORAL and UNETHICAL if not ILLEGAL.

How 'bout we publish the name of everySOB who voted today to cut off debate/filibuster on Jim Webb's Bill/Amendment to protect the troops by giving them the training and the time off with their families they need to recover before being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan? How 'bout we put up photos of each of them with a ribbon next to it that says: "I Support My Party, Not the Troops"?

Arghh...

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | July 11, 2007 - 7:33pm

You know, sometimes I wonder if the eight-year plague that descended on America and the world in 2000 has been visited upon us by the creator. I'm hard-pressed to understand any other explanation for rampant evil. Not a word I use easily nor often. But I have come to believe that BushCo is truly the heart of darkness. And we have let them work their ways with us, largely unimpeded until January 2007.

I understand the downside of impeachment. But I would submit that impeachment is not a distraction. It is bedrock. It is the core. Because if this is allowed to slither through without constitutional intervention, we might as well kiss it all goodbye. May have to anyway, at this late date.

I think the uprising that is called for is two-fold. Legal and literal. Also simultaneous. For God's (?) sake, cannot anyone in Congress multi-task??? BushCo is bargaining on our inability to keep all the plates spinning (think the Ed Sullivan show). As long as they fling multitudes of crap out there, Congress and the Dems will continue their Keystone Kop routine, nearly immobilized by the chaos.

You know, one of the principal symptoms of alcoholism for some is addiction to chaos. And while it is probably simplistic to say that the United States government under the "leadership" of George W. Bush is a classic co-dependent system, there is a huge element of that in what is going on.

Ah, crikey, I'm all over the map here. Which is the whole idea. Baffle 'em with bullshit.

And where indeed is the person around whom to rally? Maybe it isn't a person. Maybe it's us. Big talk. It still takes someone to rally "us."

We are a rudderless craft, folks. You want to talk about a desperate need for staying the course? It's holding these bloody bastards accountable for their crimes. Crimes! They vowed before millions of Americans to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. They have broken that promise. Hell, they've shattered it, repeatedly. And then shoved it down our throats.

How can we not insist on impeachment? Really. I think it would be a crime to back away from this thing that we fear.

If you believe that there is anything of God in any of this, then pray and pray and pray for clarity. And if you don't, then pray and pray and pray for clarity.

Skye Guy doesn't give a rat's ass about future generations. Do we?

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paul miller (not verified) | July 11, 2007 - 11:35pm

impeachment = accountability

I am in DC and what strikes me is the lack of any expressed opinions, it's bizarre, today we were at the Viet Nam Memorial, how people can walk past the wall and not see the parallels of sending off US troops to Iraq to die is beyond me but they sure don't seem to see the irony, I did spout my own frustration with our government not learning any lessons and no one shot me any dirty looks but still. You would think Washington would be the most political town there is but it is the same as being in Italy and trying to gauge public opinion there - there just doesn't seem to be any debate. How weird is that?

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susan | July 12, 2007 - 8:51am

Well, they don't call it the Beltway for nothing. It's sort of a political Green Zone, I guess, which is why dweeb like us don't get it when they all gather merrily under one tent for press corp dinners and so on. I'm all for civility and common ground, but Rove put an end to civility, and someone forgot to tell the Dems, who still sit down with these jackals in good faith.
A word on my flippin' and floppin' on impeachment. Yep, it does equal accountability, and I'm not against opening hearings. The distraction part I spoke of is really more for us, the angry masses, and not for Congress. Congress is supposed to multi-task, and under Waxman et al and Leahy et al in the Senate, they're grinding along in the headwinds. And like MLS says, we need to keep writing and calling to keep the heat on.
What I question is whether it makes sense for us to spend vast amounts of time, money and energy organizing a rally for impeachment on the scale I was envisioning. It should stand for something more than impeachment I guess, and have a much broader appeal. Middle class folks standing up for their jobs and healthcare? Grade school kids by the millions standing up for a livable planet? Gold Star families and veterans standing up for an end to the war? I don't know, but I'm open to ideas. But I don't think it should be a rally of the usual activists, led by Cindy Sheehan.

Here's an idea. How about a Peace Train that makes its way across the country, whistle stops all along the way, with celebs and sports figures and authors and musicians and political leaders joining the train at various stops, over a course of a couple of weeks, and the message is upbeat and about change. Peace Train's comin' . . . And tickets would be available to ride along -- for a day or for the whole trip. We get a BIG funder to foot the bill for the train part and go from there. It would be All-American wholesome and fun and get every one, um, back on track?

Oh-oh, all that blather and I haven't even had coffee yet.

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | July 12, 2007 - 2:07pm

Here's an idea. How about a Peace Train that makes its way across the country, whistle stops all along the way, with celebs and sports figures and authors and musicians and political leaders joining the train at various stops, over a course of a couple of weeks, and the message is upbeat and about change. Peace Train's comin' . . . And tickets would be available to ride along -- for a day or for the whole trip. We get a BIG funder to foot the bill for the train part and go from there. It would be All-American wholesome and fun and get every one, um, back on track?

So are you bein' ironic or serious? Because I think this is a GREAT idea. I have absolutely no notion how the train part of this would work, but the concept is brilliant. Bring it to the people. And I love the ride along and back on track part of it.

No, really, I mean it.

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susan | July 12, 2007 - 3:52pm

I once saw a documentary called the "Love Train", I think it was about 15 years ago, and it was about some women who put together a train to go from the West Coast to NYC for a -- Romance Novel convention! It was actually the sweetest thing. On the train there were a number of romance novel authors who rode a stretch, got off and others got on, as did the fans. Although the organizers and a few other hard core types rode all the way from LA to NY. What was moving was to see the faces of these women, living out in the vast western expanses, ranch women and farm women, as they talked about how these novels give them a break from the hardscrabble, not-so-romantic lives they lead, and their excitement at meeting the authors who bring them these other worlds. And the authors were quite a hoot, but extremely generous with their fans.
So that's what I was picturing. And someone mentioned the song Peace Train to me recently, so that played in too.
But I must say, I can envision it, and rather love the idea myself. The whole country humming Peace Train, as sung by a guy named Yusuf Islam. Maybe several trains, all converging, so that we can cover lots of terrain at once. Trains aren't that hard to hire, just costly as heck, so we need to get a few billionaires to line up for the honors. Let's start with Warren Buffet.
Maybe instead of running for President, which I'm told Al Gore REALLY does not want or plan to do, he could be on the train, doing his inconvenient truth lecture live in local halls and convention centers where the train stops. I'd kind of like to have Arianna on the train for a while too. Hey, and how about Jane and Christy from Firedoglake.com? How about a well-known blogger in the mix at every stop? (How about two unknown ones on board for the whole dang thing?) How about Garrison Keillor serving as a sort of MC along the way? Possiblities are endless. The Peace Train. The Hope Train. The Little Engine that Could -- change a nation train. Goo. Feel the luv. But yeah, I'm serious.

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susan | July 12, 2007 - 4:00pm

Check it out. Peace Train.

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

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paul miller (not verified) | July 12, 2007 - 10:38pm

how is it that the republicans foist the most arrogant assholes* on the american people and we have to wonder if Cindy Sheehan is acceptable as a spokes person for our cause? I don't see any democrat stepping up and telling it like it is save maybe for Kucinich and Gravel so what do we have to lose?

Hastert, Delay, bush, cheney, gingrich, kissinger, rove - they all out to be disgraced, in jail or in the dock at the Hague but they're still being rolled out by the mainstream media

let's just get on with it - Bush will be touting his surge into 2008 using the same talking points that he has used since the war began - if Cindy accepts the challenge then she gets to drive the bus - good GOD we lived through the Gipper being president for two terms and jr. bush for two (seems like twenty) more

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susan | July 13, 2007 - 9:21am

"How is it that the republicans foist the most arrogant assholes* on the american people and we have to wonder if Cindy Sheehan is acceptable as a spokes person for our cause?"

You know Paul, that's a good question. How is it that Bill O'Reilly and Rush are still on the air making oodles of dough with their lies and slander and Dan Rather got booted over a forged letter? (Thanks to our local Powerline boys.)

"Hastert, Delay, bush, cheney, gingrich, kissinger, rove - they all ought to be disgraced, in jail or in the dock at the Hague but they're still being rolled out by the mainstream media"

Don't forget Rummy, John Bolton, Armitage, Feith, Condi, Gozales . . . And some of the goons who got tossed out in the last election, like Rick Santorum and George Allen. The list goes on and on.

And yes, we have endured more than our fair share of Republican a-holes over the years, and the fact that they get anyone at all to vote for them is worrisome and depressing. I know that you have no use for the Dems, but really, compared to these venal and corrupt Bushians, they're a class act.

Besides, even Paul Wellstone -- oh how we miss him -- learned that it's easier to be an activist than it is to serve in office.

If you're going to get anything done you do have to tone down your rhetoric, make nice with the other side, find common ground and all of that, which is what Paul did, and became much more effective.

It's a different story if you have control of both houses and the presidency, as we saw in the first six years of Bush-reign, when the Repubs ran the show and did pretty much whatever they wanted to do, no matter how slimey and unethical. And then when the Dems gained a slim majority and turned the tables a bit, the same bullies all started whimpering about civility.

Anyway, without the necessary 60 votes, and with Bush using his veto, there's still not that much the Dems can do, other than hold hearings. Which they're doing.

Thus ends my apologia for the Democrats for today.

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Susie (not verified) | July 13, 2007 - 10:46am

Thus ends my apologia for the Democrats for today.

Stay tuned; there will be a need for more in the future-quite possibly a very major one.

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MLS (not verified) | July 11, 2007 - 7:11pm

I agree with your comments, Susan.
Our energy, our time, our money is best placed
where we believe it will be best utilized. I think letters & phone calls to our representatives and the media are still
effective. Although it has taken years, look how many
people are now opposed to the Bush & Cheney leadership, & opposed to the Iraq war compared to just a few years ago. We could say, "Yeah, but where were they when..." Well, perseverance did pay off. So I choose to keep fight'n & writ'n hoping that people's awareness will be raised to even higher levels. Maybe this will come true for Cindy S. as she marches on. More power to her if she succeeds. I certainly wish her well as I do for everyone who is faithfully trying
to take back America.

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Anonymous (not verified) | July 13, 2007 - 1:15pm

In the meantime, I've contacted Rep. Betty McCollum's local office w/the "Peace Train" idea - and passed on this blog address.

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paul miller (not verified) | July 13, 2007 - 1:32pm

good responses, Susan

We took a tour of the capital with a Kline staffer this morning and made nice the whole time, We did stop in Keith's office and thanked his staff for Keith's vote on pulling the troops and for signing up for impeachment

Randall Robinson has a new book out on the adminstration's kidnapping of President Aristide in Haiti, a story that has disappeared into the rabbit hole

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