Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Outrage, and doing something about it

There's a bumper sticker you've probably seen, which says, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." I'm paying attention. The more I think about it, the more outraged I get, which is perhaps a corollary to the sticker. Last week I decided to draft the following letter, which I then sent to Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, of my state, and to Senator Harry Reid, in his role of Senate Minority Leader. I've decided to share it here too, as an open letter to the entire US Senate.

Dear Senator,

I am writing to you about the serious matter of an administration out of control, and I urge you to bring before the Senate the question of impeachment of the President of the United States. George W. Bush has used and abused his power in many ways, resulting in such things as a severe downturn in the economy, a gutting of our environmental regulations, the use of his personal religious beliefs to set policy restricting scientific research, and the trashing of our international reputation, that make him, to understate the matter, a bad president. More than that, though, his abuses have gone against our laws and our constitution and have violated his oath of office. In addition, his policies have encouraged other authorities to restrict civil rights and to make light of such constitutional guarantees as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from unreasonable searches, the right to due process, and the separation of church and state. After watching a president face impeachment for lying about his personal life — a personal matter — I find it horrifying that this president has not been similarly held to account for his lies and for his flouting of the laws and the constitution — very public matters, indeed, of extreme importance to the American people.

You are well aware, I am sure, of the many issues here. I shall remind you of three items in particular:

1.   He invaded a foreign country for false reasons, and those reasons were fabricated for the purpose of obtaining your support for the attack. The lies here were multiple — as each was uncovered, another excuse took its place: there are weapons of mass destruction, and we know where they are; there are WMDs, and we simply haven't found them yet; there are no WMDs, but there were programs in place to build them; there are no WMDs, but "he was a threat". You were deceived, and the American people were deceived — and there are many thousands dead, Americans, Iraqis, and citizens of nearly every nation that's involved, as a result.

2.   He has imprisoned hundreds of people — American citizens, as well as citizens of other countries — illegally. That these imprisonments are illegal has been supported by decisions of federal courts, which have demanded that the cases be reviewed, and he has attempted to circumvent those reviews, ignoring the checks and balances provided in our constitution.

3.   Most recently, and in the most blatant violation of all, he has illegally listened in on private communications of American citizens without judicial oversight. This is a clear violation of law, and of the fourth amendment to the constitution. Further, his actions and responses show a disregard for the checks and balances guaranteed by our constitution. He has called those who have reported this and those who have questioned his actions unpatriotic and irresponsible.

If George W. Bush is not challenged here, it frightens me to think about where these disregards might lead us. Senator, I urge you to delay no further in holding a rogue president responsible for his illegal and unconstitutional actions, and to propose impeachment proceedings now. The Senate must take a stand, and that stand must be for the security of our country and of our constitution. If not now, when?

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