Many in this country believe impeachment should be off the table when it comes to dealing with the crimes of President George W. Bush and his administration. One congressman, however, has repeatedly stood up to hold the administration accountable for its actions both at home and abroad.
Former presidential hopeful Sen. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has consistently called for the impeachment of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their White House cronies for their war crimes, crimes against the Constitution and crimes against international law.
“We have 4,000 of our brave men and women who have died in Iraq. Over a million innocent Iraqis have been killed. We’ve had torture policies, rendition, illegal detention, wiretapping, spying, subversion of global climate change science … (and) what it adds up to is that there has to be accountability,” Kucinich told Democracy Now!.
Accountability is dangerous talk in Washington. The president of the United States, the driver at the wheel of one of the biggest political powerhouses, should not be able to get away with the things Kucinich has highlighted. That sends a clear message to those with authority in other nations that it’s just fine to subvert freedom and democracy in the name of pushing an agenda. The Bush administration has used fear and lies to keep the American people from seeing the truth behind the system of domination.
The argument against impeachment – even from other Democrats – is that there is not enough time and it would be pointless to pursue charges. However, Kucinich pointed out to Democracy Now! that “George Bush has enough time to bomb Iran on another pretext” as well as “enough time to help facilitate more violations of election law for the 2008 election.”
“We don’t have enough time. We can’t spend any more time temporizing while the Constitution, the United States laws, international laws, are being shredded,” he said.
It is the American people who do not have enough time, not those in Washington who would carry out the impeachment.
The powerful and wealthy have only one thing to lose if Kucinich’s motions for impeachment are acted out: the legitimacy of their domination. By contrast, the American people lose everything if these people are not held accountable.
It is the common American people whose freedoms are being eroded while the rich and powerful continue to do as they please. It is the common American people whose livelihoods are threatened by a top-heavy economic system in which the rich and powerful thrive. It is the common American people who are struggling to pay for gas while the oil giants announce record profits.
The common people of Iraq have much at stake as well. Iraqis who had nothing to do with 9/11 are being killed and tortured because of the lies told by the Bush administration about their government. Their access to electricity, water, shelter and safety is diminishing because of decisions made by the U.S. government.
The accountability of power is the key principle of democracy. If the American people and a handful of representatives have the courage to say “Enough!” now instead of later, it just may discourage future politicians from similarly abusing power. It may reawaken the spirit of civic conscience in Americans who have been left numb, discouraged, distracted or simply too worried about making ends meet to get political. Or it may just be another impeachment in the history of the U.S.
The only risk in impeachment is that afterward things may fall back into the same patterns. There is opportunity for change in impeachment, however, whereas the only opportunity offered by inaction is the continued abuse of power.
Jose Ferrer is a sophomore majoring in sociology.