As more and more Americans are becoming concerned and even outraged over the behavior of President Bush and VIce-President Cheney’s blatant disregard for the limits on their power, cries for Impeachment are growing. Among them are the City of West Hollywood which just became the first jurisdiction in Southern California to call for the impeachment of the President and Vice President. As this drum starts beating stronger and stronger with each and every new and additional unconstitutional attempt by the Bush Administration to expand its executive powers, the people of this country are becoming more and more angered and activated.
West Hollywood Mayor, and newest Speak Out California board member, John Duran, explains why he and the City of West Hollywood have taken the unprecedented step to call for the ouster of this George who would be King, were we to sit back and watch him and Dick Cheney ignore and destroy the Constitution of this great country.
It is our hope that at least the discussion of impeachment will begin in the classrooms, boardrooms and water coolers as well as the Council Chambers of this state and country as we ask ourselves whether we are willing to relinquish the Democracy so many have fought and died for in this great country, or are we going to hold-the-line and say that enough is enough; that George Bush is not King, that our Constitution cannot be dismantled and ignored and no one is above the law?
Here’s what Mayor John Duran has to say on this critically important issue:
On July 16, 2007, West Hollywood became the first city in Southern California to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney. The council meeting lasted from 6 pm to almost 1 am in the morning. The impeachment resolution took up 15 minutes of our 7 hour agenda. Much of what we did that evening was focused on our customary issues like land use, traffic and parking, rent control and economic development. So, why did we insert ourselves into the national debate?
When I was sworn into office in 2001 as a councilmember, I promised to ” uphold and defend the Constitution”. Every elected official, appointed official and judge takes the same oath. The ” uphold” part means that I don’t do anything that would violate the Constitution. The word ” defend ” means that I won’t let others harm our sacred national contract with one another.
The city of West Hollywood was also the first city in Southern California to oppose the war in Iraq before it was popular to do so. While this impeachment resolution was related to the war – it was not based on just the war in Iraq.
I felt like the frog in a pot of boiling water not knowing when to jump or sit still. The tipping point for me was when the Administration refused to respond to the subpoenas involving the death of Pat Tillman. Why would the United States government lie about Pat’s death due to friendly fire, falsely prop him up as a propaganda war hero for their public relations agenda and then refuse to disclose the truth to a grieving family?
The Bush Administration suspended habeus corpus hearings violating the 5th Amendment guarantee of due process (one of the reasons we dislodged ourselves from the King of England over 225 years ago). The Adminstration has conducted warrantless searches on American citizens without federal court oversight violating the 4th Amendment which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure. The Administration has used torture at Abu Ghraib prison violating the 8th Amendment pledge that we do not use cruel and unusual punishment. The Administration has scoffed at the Geneva Convention treaties as ” antiquated ” violating international law on the treatment of prisoners. The Vice President has declared that he is neither a member of the executive or legislative branches of government and therefore does not have to comply with Congressional subpoenas.
No, this is much more than the war in Iraq. Our founders set up a system of checks and balances with three co-equal branches of government. This was to prevent too much executive power in one man’s hands that could result in tyranny. I loathed Ronald Reagan yet never called for his impeachment. I disagreed with father George H. W. Bush yet never called for his impeachment either. This is not a matter of disagreeing with conservatives. This Administration is destroying the checks and balances of our Constitutional system by declaring that they will not sumbit to Congressional subpoenas or federal judges warrant oversight. They believe in the power of the Presidency and see the rest of our government as disruptive inconveniences. This is not the America I know and love !
The Constitution begins with the words ” We the People ” forever reminding us that this democracy vests its power in the governed not the governing class. Power flows from the individual, the smallest hamlets and towns up to the White House – not the other way around.
With the small voice of a town of 37,000 people – we do object to the transgressions listed above. Alone -we are insignificant. But we are the 80th city to do so nationwide. When enough individuals, small and large cities dissent and speak out, the balance in our system may be restored and the Constitution defended for use by another generation. To sit passively in the face of tyranny is not an option. It was not an option for our Founding fathers and mothers – and it is not an option for this proud American.
Mayor of West Hollywood
Reprinted with permission of the author