National embarrassment

>> Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Well how do you like that? A representative in the United States Congress has introduced thirty-five articles of impeachment against President George Bush, and do I see the news on the front page of MSNBC? Do I hear it in the headlines on NPR when my clock radio goes off? Do I see it on CNN's front page?


Of course not. I read about it on Boing Boing. A Google News search brings up a blog at the Village Voice and four-paragraph pieces at CBS (another blog entry) and six paragraphs at Reuters.


CNN is happy to tell me that McCain has made some kind of verbal misstep about vetoing beer, and MSNBC tells me that McCain and Obama are trading blows over the economy. (Rival candidates for President arguing about the economy? No! Really! Tell me more!)


Okay, so the congressman in question is Representative Kucinich, and House Speaker Pelosi has made it abundantly clear that the Democrats are spineless wimps will not engage in divisive tactics while they seek to unify the country during this important election year. (Or something like that. Why did I cross out "spineless wimps" again?) So these articles of impeachment will go nowhere. And therefore this isn't a story, right? Unlike "Waterspout captured on camera off Florida coast" (MSNBC) or "Eastwood tells Spike Lee to 'shut his face'" (CNN).


This is pathetic, you know. We have a President who manipulated intelligence and misled the public to get the nation to get into a war that we may have no way to get out of short of the dishonorable (but perhaps necessary) tactic of simply bringing the troops home and allowing Iraq to collapse from within or tumble from outside pressure from its neighbors. We have jeopardized the legitimate war in Afghanistan, squandered the international sympathies from our allies and even from some of our enemies that the events of September 11th, 2001 provoked. We have created a culture of domestic spying and intimidation where the Executive Branch has taken measures to spy on its own citizens to a degree that hasn't been seen since the early 1970s. The Executive Branch has authorized interrogation measures that violate the strictures of the U.S. Constitution, our obligations under international treaty, and common decency and our national honor and heritage. We ought to be having a national discussion about why we're not impeaching President Bush--if perjury or breaking an invalid law is sufficient, surely violating the Fourth Amendment and our duties under the Geneva Conventions ought to, just maybe, perhaps, possibly be sufficient to consider the situation.


Oh, but let's be pragmatic, right? Impeachment proceedings might fail, or would drag on past January 20, 2009: the defendant will no longer be President. Fine, but this is really a commentary on the state of the national dialogue, or lack thereof. Anyone here remember how Nixon's resignation closed the book on his national disgrace and shut everyone up? And how President Ford's weird pre-emptive pardon passed without notice or discussion? If you don't, it may be because that's not what happened: Congress enacted laws to deal with Nixon's excesses, journalists and gadflies continued to publish books about it, and the nation continued to be generally pissed off. Whether Ford's pardon hurt him more in the 1976 elections than the sluggish economy is maybe beside the point--that pardoning Nixon for vague and unspecified naughtiness didn't help him one bit.


We should be ashamed. Our leaders should be ashamed. The media should be ashamed. The story isn't that Representative Kucinich has introduced articles of impeachment; the story is that it's not at the top of every front page in the country. It's a disgraceful story, full of yawning silences and weaseling shrugs, about a nation that probably gets exactly what it deserves and is too mush-minded and apathetic to understand it had it coming. There's blood, and terror, but it ends with a whine, not a bang.

3 comments:

vince Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 9:19:00 PM EDT  

As commented elsewhere, read "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder", written by Vincent Bugliosi. A powerful book.

Eric Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 10:34:00 PM EDT  

I may have to look into it. I'm still reading Bugliosi's Reclaiming History, his exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting!) book about the Kennedy assassination.

Jim Wright Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 5:26:00 PM EDT  

screw impeachment, Eric. Impeachment requires rules and due process and shit like that. I say, do what our leaders have done - let's just grab The Decider, declare him a terrorist, and shove his ass into a hole in some third world country somewhere - and five, six, ten years down the line we'll get around to holding some kind of secret tribunal to decide his fate. He could hardly complain about it, could he? Habeas Corpus is an outdated concept and, after all when you come right down to it he's managed to kill about three times as many Americas as Osama ever did in his best bloody wet dreams.

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