Friday, September 19, 2008

Impeaching the Next President

Jodin Morey, Cofounder of Impeach for Peace speaks at the RNC Free Speech Stage -- So I'm here to talk to you about impeachment, and I know what you're thinking "Bush is almost out of office." But this isn't about Bush. The underlying problem does not end with him, it preceded him, and it will endure after him.

I'm here today to advocate for impeachment as an ever-present value in YOUR life. We should see impeachment as a cherished tool that balances power between us and government. We should never have allowed government, or media to convince us impeachment is extreme or divisive. We need to alter our thinking about impeachment to coincide with that of early presidents and the founders of our nation. James Madison was proud that the Constitution made impeachment of a power abusing president "easy.”

Since I've been alive, almost every president who has been in office has abused their power in such a way as to warrant impeachment.
We should impeach George W. Bush.
We should have impeached Reagan.
We should have impeached Bush Sr.
we should have impeached Clinton , but NOT for his lying about a blowjob, but rather for military actions overseas. The media of course largely ignored Clinton's abuse of power in Yugoslavia and Mogadishu.
And anyone who believes that the next president will magically remain within his constitutional restrictions is fooling themselves.

If you don't support impeachment now, when will you? When it's time to impeach McCain?
When it's time to impeach Obama?
Will you once again accuse the impeachment movement of being divisive? Or INSTEAD will you recognize the corrupt GOVERNMENT for being divisive? Will you once again ask for impeachment to wait until we've won the next midterm elections, and after those elections will you then say that it's too late? Will you once again believe what the media tells you about the likelihood of impeachment, or will you fight for a cause because it's right. . And believe that today's impossibility is tomorrow's reality. If you only fight for the causes that the media tells you are possible, how does that make you special or a visionary? How does that make you courageous or bring meaning to your life?

You've seen that bumper sticker that reads, “I'm already against the NEXT war?” Well, I'm already in favor of impeaching the NEXT PRESIDENT!” Until we do, and continue doing it with every president that abuses their power, they won't stop. And why should they? They've got a pretty good deal going. Presidents can do whatever they want and get away with it.

That's the weird thing about accountability. No one forces it upon themselves. Our founding fathers knew that. Jefferson once said, “In questions of power let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

What happens when you create a powerful office in which the officers are not accountable to the public? Politicians who are unsavory gravitate towards it. We are asked to trust the president with the power to spy on us. But a presidency that demands trust attracts untrustworthy presidents. It's easy to fix the problem, our founding fathers knew the solution: Checks balances, and transparency. When you turn on the cellar light, the roaches scurry. But congress has learned that WE don't care about accountability as much as the LOBBYISTS care about the status quo. After all, if we turn on the light of transparency, the roaches known as lobbyist will be caught in the act as well.

So, instead, the president breaks the law, and congress fiddles. It seems so obvious when you think about it that one should impeach a criminal president. Think of any other criminal. Say a rapist. What if a judge were to stop prosecuting rapists because he said that doing so was divisive, or that their crime was in that past and that we should be looking forward instead. That's what our congress has done, except instead of raping a person our president has raped a country and congress refuses to prosecute. As a result a million are dead, millions more are displaced, and future presidents will feel free to rape countries as they wish., until we start impeaching them.

Until then, our democracy will continue deconstructing until there is no democracy left. We'll slide slowly into totalitarianism while singing “Land of the free and Home of the Brave.” But when we're not brave enough to stand up to our presidents, we lose that freedom. If everyone who thought Bush should have been impeached would have called their congressperson, we'd be in a different kind of country today. You could still do it right now. Even if it doesn't result in Bush's impeachment, it will let congress know that the public is behind impeachment in principle when a president goes haywire. Maybe then they'll start holding presidents accountable.

But it's always easy to come up with reasons not to do something, or why something might fail. And that pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can go the way of societies like Nazi Germany who were too pessimistic or distracted to do the right thing when there was still time to do it. We seem willing to do that with the environment. But can we afford that luxury? What will it take to motivate good people to turn off their TV and make the difference that's necessary?

Let me leave you with a hopeful thought. Because I believe we will eventually start impeaching presidents freely. We'll have to. So imagine the presidency we'll have one day when they fear impeachment. When so many before them have been impeached, and imprisoned that they fear the power of the people. A presidency with so much transparency, oversight, and accountability that they know they can't step too far out of bounds. Imagine the kind of politician who would never run for such an office. Do you think Cheney would wish to work there? Imagine the kind of president that office will attract.

A president who isn't afraid to have the people see what she's doing.
A president who preserves and restores our civil liberties.
A president so proud of her work that she won't claim executive privilege.
A president who identifies with citizens, not corporations.
A president who doesn't fear our free speech.
A president with the interests of the people paramount in her mind.
A president the founding fathers envisioned was possible . only after they mandated the use of impeachment.

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