People’s Revolt From Below

July 1, 2004

A Letter to the Editor
published in The Arcata Eye on July 20, 2004

As the egregious lawlessness, criminality, and utter destructiveness of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq continues (latest totals: nearly 158,000 killed and wounded), our elected representatives in Washington seem paralyzed. They have refused to cut off funding for the unconstitutional war; refused to demand the immediate withdrawal of our military forces who are illegally marauding those two countries while needlessly being in harm’s way; and have refused to put a stop to the continued crimes against humanity directed by our president (e.g., via impeachment).

It is encouraging that the Arcata City Council recognizes that this wayward war detrimentally affects the proper fiscal functioning of local government (stealing $11,000,0000 from Arcata alone) while creating a disturbing psychological angst for many of her citizens. Arcata previously asked the House of Representatives to look into the case for impeachment with no response to date. The city may take up the issue again, more emphatically, spurred on by a resolution adopted by Veterans For Peace Humboldt Bay Chapter 56.

On July 21, Arcata will consider a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. military forces currently staging (illegal) operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Right on!

We are in good company. The California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, representing more than two million members, voted overwhelmingly to "demand an immediate end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and to support the repeal of the Patriot Act and the reordering of national priorities toward the human needs of our people." Earlier, the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) voted unanimously to end U.S. occupation and to bring the troops home. On June 29, four members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors initiated the placement of an initiative on the November ballot enabling its voters to vote on a referendum to pull the troops out of Iraq. Win Without War, a national coalition of 42 organizations, has formally called for an immediate end of occupation.

Impeachment becomes ever more appropriate because of the President’s recent reiteration of his commitment to pursuing pre-emptive wars, illegal and unconstitutional under every definition and interpretation, and increasing evidence of the President’s explicit support for grotesque crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those calling for impeachment of the president in past months have been advised to wait for the election, but recent reports suggest that the presidential election could be delayed due to "terrorist" threats.

The people’s constitutional remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors is impeachment initiated by the U.S. House of Representatives. Increasing calls for impeachment are being heard from many quarters. It is a distinctly separate accountability mechanism than an election, the latter of which a monarchial-thinking president can conceivably cancel. Not so with impeachment proceedings initiated by the people through the House of Representatives.

The long history of attempts at creating, then preserving, democratic government reveals that only when the people become vigilant with their elected representatives can tyranny and lawlessness be prevented, or overturned. Democracy is a government OF THE PEOPLE, not of the elected representatives that serve those people and take an oath to uphold the constitution. However, the people must actively participate from their home communities throughout the land enabling a constitutional democracy to work.

There is a long history of local participation in assuring popular policies in the United States. At this historical juncture we must reactivate our empowerment to be publicly vigilant, including through and with our locally elected governments.

As a former officer who served in Vietnam and witnessed horrific carnage, all needless, I deeply wish that I had been exposed to role models in my hometown who dared to question the arrogant and interventionist policies of our national government. Like so many others, I was caught up in the groupthink of the moment, only to regret it later, having to live with memories of participating in crimes against humanity due to my ignorance and lack of exposure to critical thinking.

I praise the Arcata City Council for continuing to possess a vision for what good, constitutional government is all about–of, by and for the people, and speaking up on the people’s behalf when the national government goes awry!

POSTSCRIPT: On July 21, 2004 the Arcata City Council, voted 5-0 for a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.

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