Or, an Open Letter to Congress
Would someone please explain to me why a bill of impeachment has not been filed against President Bush, Vice President Cheney and possibly Attorney General Gonzales.
When you gave your own oath of office in Congress, you solemnly swore to personally defend our Constitution. Since I, and apparently nearly a majority of your constituents, already suspect no one in the nation today is working harder to subvert the Constitution than those particular officials, I do not understand why an impeachment is not already underway. Given the magnitude of the potential harm, we want to know, one way or another, if our fears are correct.
An impeachment is not only an important component of the Constitution, one the founding fathers mentioned several times, it is an investigative process with the power to force revelation of the truth under oath backed up by penalties for perjury. It was expressly designed for grave times such as these. Since we don't have the "no confidence vote" alternative of European countries, it is something we desperately need at the moment.
Filing an impeachment is not a Constitutional crisis itself. It is the genius way the drafters of the Constitution enabled us to prevent or cure any such crisis, a way to avoid the civil disobedience and even war possible when the public loses confidence in the government. It is, or should be, the adult way to finally allow, or if necessary force, dialogue on issues which are tearing us apart.
Filing an impeachment is not a pre-ordained end result in which the accused are automatically removed from office. It is simply the beginning of a necessary procedure to protect the Constitution and the nation from the occasional individuals who, because of power hunger, arrogance, ignorance or incompetence, feel the Constitution should be ignored. Perhaps these three individuals are innocent, but let the evidence, not cowardice, determine that. We need the “transparency” of government which impeachment can provide. Besides, even if Congress affirmatively acts on the impeachment and concludes removal of the offending official from power is mandated, it does not impose any actual punishment such as jail or a fine. Assuming they are not caught in a material lie under oath, there are no consequences to anyone removed from office other than embarrassment. Moreover, if they renounce the errors of their ways before a final vote, admit their mistakes and allow open oversight to insure it does not happen again, the process can be suspended.
Impeachment should not be frivolously invoked and never for a purely partisan purpose or advantage, but it must not be eternally “off the table.” If these acts of which those three are accused are not considered “high crimes and misdemeanors,” then what is? Unfortunately for our country, if impeachment is not occasionally used, it will be lost as a future protection. Do you want to be responsible for that happening?
If you do not initiate an impeachment, then you yourself weaken the Constitution by making that particular check and balance worthless. Silence is tacit approval of whatever malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance the accused have done.
So, do the right thing, for the right reason and do it right now. Convince us that your failure so far to impeach this particular President and his underlings is not merely because you hope your party wins the office and has a chance to cloak your own candidate with the monarchical powers Bush and Cheney and Gonzales have been trying to usurp unto themselves.