a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Impeachment resolution passes unanimously

Posted by Thomas Nephew on July 24th, 2007

Click the image above and then the “Video” button (the same
image but smaller, in “SideBar”) for the very good Fox 5 news
report by Roz Plater. The TV report features short interviews
of me and Lisa Moscatiello, and a clip of Jay Levy speaking to
the City Council.

On Monday evening the Takoma Park City Council unanimously approved — and improved — a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Sponsoring councilmember Reuben Snipper was joined by councilmembers Seamens, Barry, Williams, and Mayor Kathy Porter in the 5-0 vote. Councilmembers Austin-Lane and Clay were out of town.*

The original resolution was amended by Councilmember Seamens to also recommend that the county council and state legislature pass impeachment resolutions, and to urge Takoma Park residents to write Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Barbara Mikulski asking them to support impeachment.

All of us working on this were deeply gratified (and relieved) to see very good turnout for the meeting by local impeachment supporters — including a number of dear neighbors of mine. We had learned there would actually be local TV camera crews on hand, and hastened to try to add a little more “visuals” to the scene; an alert and quick canvass of our neighborhood produced enough American flags to add some red, white, and blue to our ubiquitous green lawn signs. A mother/daughter team also brought a banner with a striking double portrait of Bush and Cheney and the words “Partners in Crime.”

I had actually happened to meet one of the news teams, from Fox 5, on Cedar Avenue on my way to the meeting. I had struck up a conversation with a neighbor about why and where I was carrying eight or nine lawn signs — and that got filmed. A minute later, in the community center parking lot, I was interviewed — and a couple passing by asked for another lawn sign; that got filmed too. Sometimes you just need to get lucky — ten minutes had turned into a pretty good bit of footage, and it all got used in the news report at 10 o’clock. But of course, it wasn’t just luck — Lisa Moscatiello has done a lot of media outreach in the last week, and she’s why that news team was there in the first place.

The best was yet to come. Once we were all settled in the council meeting room and other business was taken care of, the meeting was opened up to speakers — just as my family and Maddie’s pal B. arrived. So I got to say my piece with Maddie watching, which meant a lot to me. I withdrew to the side of the room after that, holding our family’s U.S. flag up for the cameras — and was really moved as one speaker after another gave proof through the evening that our country is still there. I couldn’t help but think of that Norman Rockwell painting, “Freedom of Speech“; you can watch the city’s own video of the meeting and see what I mean.

But since this is my blog, and I don’t have the energy to transcribe everyone else’s remarks, I’ll weary you with my own, which were a rewrite of those I made five weeks ago.

I’m here to support the impeachment resolution sponsored by Councilman Reuben Snipper.

Tonight it seems like momentum is building for impeachment. We’ve heard that Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers is looking for just a few more representatives to endorse an impeachment resolution put forward by Kucinich, and he’ll begin impeachment hearings.

Locally, too, the response to this idea is overwhelmingly positive when we petition or go door to door. On July 4, we got a lot of support – including from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, 202-225-5341, who told parade watchers the Libby commutation was making him consider impeachment, too.

But there have also been questions that deserve answers, including, fundamentally, why bother with this? What good will a city council resolution do?

I think the short answer to “why bother?” is summed up by the question: “what if we don’t even bother?” Among the terrible precedents this administration has set are: the utter sin and crime of torture. A fraudulent case for war. Abrogation of habeas corpus. Warrantless surveillance in direct defiance of specific law. A king-like disregard and contempt for other laws properly passed and signed, and a refusal to enforce them. Each of these are grounds enough for impeachment, and new ones taunt us each day – Libby’s commutation – the US Attorneys scandal (both considered impeachable by James Madison) – executive orders threatening to dispossess Iraq war opponents – refusal to honor congressional subpoenas or enforce contempt citations. Together, they add up to a administration that must be opposed, whose very policy is to flout the Constitution, to make it a dead letter instead of a living guardian of our liberties and the rule of law.

But also, unless we act now, the next administration like this one can take its lawless, amoral, unconstitutional approach as a consensus starting point, instead of a shame on this country and a reproach to its institutions.

That’s where we come in. The first three words of the Constitution are “We, the people.” We “ordain and establish” the Constitution, we are responsible for it. We, here in this room, too. You, our elected leaders, too. While Congress has hesitated discussing this, you have not, and you have my deep gratitude for that.

Tonight we’re proving that ordinary citizens and local elected leaders care deeply about their country, the Constitution, and the rule of law. I hope we’ll do more, and send a clear message to Congress – and to our own great representative, Chris Van Hollen — that they must take up the impeachment of a president and vice president who deserve it more than anyone else in the history of this country.

So thank you all for considering this resolution, and for the opportunity to speak for it. And to all of you who vote for it: I’m sure you’ll have many other important achievements — but I think this may be the finest thing you ever do in public office.

Thank you.

It’s nice to get outside and win one every so often.

* Ms. Austin-Lane emphasized at prior council meetings that she supported the bill. Ms. Clay did as well, judging by her “thumbs up” response to “IMPEACH THEM” lawn signs along the July 4th parade route a few weeks ago.
MORE HERE (Takoma Park Impeach Bush & Cheney): Impeachment resolution passes unanimously!!!, Impeachment resolution approved, improved

4 Responses to “Impeachment resolution passes unanimously”

  1. eRobin Says:

    This is great news, Thomas. Thanks for doing the legwork necessary to get this outcome. Really terrific.
    I hope that the press picks up on this but failing that, that more and more municipalities do this. I know that when I was out getting municipalities to endorse voter-verified paper ballots, every win felt great. In the end, it didn’t seem to matter – you see where we are now – but I have to think that it would have been worse if we hadn’t made that effort. Time will tell.
    Congratulations again!!! Well done.

  2. eRobin Says:

    I forgot to mention – that really was an improvement they made. Smart group.

  3. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Thank and congratulate Lisa Moscatiello, Michelle Bailey, Amy M., Ann B., Anita B., Katie B., and Mar-E R. as well. (Initials in case some don’t wish to be fully named.) They were all indispensable.
    Thinking about it, it was wonderful that so many of my neighbors came and that so many people I’d never seen before came. My big anxiety was that we’d get a small showing, but we filled the place up pretty well. There’ve been bigger crowds at council meetings, sure — Metro issues, delegate and state senator debates — but none better than our crowd last night.

  4. » Blog Archive » You took an oath, Mr. Van Hollen Says:

    […] these are discouraging words to those of us who celebrated the city of Takoma Park’s impeachment resolution on Monday, there may be a silver lining — this argument is so patently absurd that an […]

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