Signs of decline continue
Historians in the future will debate at what point in time the United States started its descent from a world symbol of prosperity and freedom to a crumbling, divided military power intimidating other nations with its imperialistic prerogatives.
Maybe they will point to the 1960s as America sought to “win the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people through carpet bombing and propping up an illegitimate government. Maybe it will be at the election of a former Hollywood B-movie star as president who began the dismantling of government regulations, giving rise to America’s growing income gap between the rich, and the middle class and the poor. Maybe it was in the early 1990s when American-based multinational corporations raced to unload capitalism at the feet of the sleeping economic giant of China. Maybe it was when a golden-voiced politician dropped his pants in the White House bringing on an expensive, derisive and ridiculous pursuit of impeachment. Maybe it was in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court, by one vote, gave the presidency to a self-deluding and privileged son of a Texas oilman.
Maybe a finite timeline doesn’t matter. Maybe the disintegration began when the people failed to heed President Eisenhower’s warning about the “military-industrial complex.” Such public ignorance opened the door for the corrupting influence of money in politics, the intolerant pursuit of depositing religion into public policy and the consolidation of media, transforming the journalist from an attendant to democracy to a mouthpiece for the status quo.
In the face of such despair for one’s country, maybe it doesn’t much matter that this Congress, the Democratic-controlled body of upper-income agents of this republic, don’t begin the impeachment process against, first, Vice President Cheney. The means to begin is there, courtesy of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
His House Resolution 333, introduced in April 2007 and co-sponsored by 22 other congressional members, charges in Article I that Vice President Richard B. Cheney, “in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests…”
On Nov. 6, Kucinich used a “privileged resolution” to force a vote on H. Res. 333. A vote to table the resolution failed when Republicans joined some Democrats in voting not to table the resolution. With a 251-162 against, the resolution moved on the House Judiciary Committee where it will likely languish for months.
The House Democratic leadership turned their backs on Kucinich. Locally, Democratic Congressmen Emanuel Cleaver and Dennis Moore from Kansas voted to table H. Res. 333.
I emailed both Cleaver and Moore’s offices asking for the congressmen’s position on H. Res. 333. A reply from Danny Rotert, Cleaver’s communications director, stated that Cleaver was “very sympathetic to the calls for the impeachment of the Vice President.” Rotert went on, however, to call any impeachment proceedings a “distraction,” which would prevent “anything else being accomplished in the next year.”
The congressman, wrote Rotert, views the impeachment as “a largely symbolic act” though “cathartic.”
In a shorter response, Moore’s Communications Director Rebecca Black said the congressman “hopes that members on both sides of the aisle will come together…”
Both Cleaver and Moore view other issues as more important than any impeachment process, both mentioned that Congress should focus on health care and an energy policy.
Most of the corporate media, including The Kansas City Star, treated the Nov. 6 vote as the Republicans calling the Democrats’ “bluff.” Kucinich brushed aside the characterization on CBS’s Early Show, telling host Harry Smith that he was prepared to debate.
Besides the bluff lug, mainstream commentators charged that Kucinich was also trying to bolster his long-shot presidential campaign. But Kucinich countered that his impeachment move was part of safeguarding the Constitution.
“It’s really about the American people and their insistence that their government not be lost,” Kucinich said on the Early Show. “People are worried that we’re losing democracy, and they’re demanding that the Constitution be protected. And that’s exactly what yesterday was about.”
Polls show that Kucinich is responding to how a large number of Americans feel. A USA/Gallup Poll done July 6-8, 2007, had 36% saying bringing impeachment proceedings was “justified.” Even the conservative publication Human Events, in a poll it commissioned in May 2007, recorded that 39% of those answering favored impeachment proceedings.
In August 2007 another poll had 57% viewing the Bush presidency as a “failure.” And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll done in early September 2007 had 61% of the respondents saying the country was moving in the “wrong direction.”
Obviously, the contention by most Democrats that there are more important things Congress should do than impeach is not held by millions of Americans. The Constitution outlines that Congress’ primary responsibility is to prevent overreach — tyranny — by the Executive Branch. Many ordinary Americans recognize that; most of their elected representatives don’t.
People are abandoning the political process. They don’t see themselves or their opinions or their faith in the Constitution reflected by Congress. Not proceeding with impeachment, plus other factors such as money and special interest influence, bear this out.
The despicable tragedy of not beginning impeachment proceedings leaves the repressive powers Bush and Cheney have put in place in the Executive Branch intact. The next president, and the next, and the next will undoubtedly justify using part or all of those powers. Combined with fear and cowardice, the Constitution is no more.
Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at publisher_editeKC@kcactive.com.
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