Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In Defense of Non-Impeachment

I read and hear lately about several “impeach George Bush” movements that are afoot. The earliest such serious call was probably from Senator Russ Feingold, which got no traction from his senatorial colleagues. The latest comes from Representative Dennis Kucinich. Various other individuals and organizations are echoing this call.

Unfortunately, such calls for impeachment result in a waste of badly needed political energy. Like many others, I am personally very desirous of a change in this nation’s ethical thinking and political actions. I am also fairly convinced that it will take a change of characters in the driving seats to accomplish such a change, given that current leadership players are showing thus far that they are more geared towards a “hunker down and retrench” mentality.

Significant change is needed in this country. However, calls for the impeachment of the current president are counterproductive because it is a dead-end initiative. Why?

1. There has been no “smoking gun” act presented thus far that can be constituted as the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the Constitution to impeach a president.
2. The calls for impeachment come from negative reactions toward the President’s political decisions and actions. However much I may concur in those negative reactions, to follow an impeachment course based upon political disagreement is as reprehensible as the distasteful spectacle of the Clinton impeachment attempt, which at its core was similarly politically based.
3. The actions of this President, however poorly informed arrogantly conceived, and miserably executed, were legalized in almost every instance by the Congress, and endorsed by the American public through the election of 2004. To impeach the President also logically requires an impeachment of Congress, which passed the seditious Patriot’s Act, authorized the disastrous Iraq war, semi-approved torture and interminable imprisonment, condoned internal spying, and provided no effective public airing or oversight of the Executive Branch.
4. In the 1½ years remaining of the Bush presidency, and lacking any conclusive illegal act becoming public, the congressional votes simply are not there to adjudge impeachment.

Unfortunately for supporters of the impeachment call, the Bush presidency has not crossed that demarcated line as did the Nixon presidency. The national trauma of impeachment is too serious a matter to be used as a political tool for expressing differing opinions and judgments, however seriously motivated.

In the mid-fifties through the sixties, there were billboards scattered all over America that said “Impeach Earl Warren.” Impeaching the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was supposed to somehow reverse the precedent-setting judicial decisions emerging at that time. Good sloganeering, perhaps, but ultimately Chief Justice Warren retired peacefully and on his own schedule. In these critical times, all available energy should be focused on the issues and people that will matter in 2008. The priority is to bring Americans together to create an environment that will respond to our pressing needs, instead of the punitive stalemates we have today.

Be careful what you wish for. Would you really want Vice President Dick Cheney ascending into the presidency as President Bush’s legal successor for even one day, one moment? That is the far scariest thought of all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

TheGrass Has To Be Made Greener

I recently made a vacation trip to southwestern Utah to see some of the national parks and canyons located there. An unfulfilled interest after all of these years, but which proved to be a trip decidedly worth making. As I traveled, I could not help not wondering …..

Why do we seem to have such difficulty accepting things simply for what they are, without needing to change them into what they simply are not? Everywhere I went, new housing developments were springing up in the middle of open desert ground. Each of which was also bringing the inevitable same old indistinguishable shopping malls and franchisees you can now find in any section of the country. Along with increased traffic congestion, resulting in desert cities now enclosed in smog, no longer able to see the incredible night sky clearly. And most frightening of all, vast pockets of constantly-irrigated deep green grass arising out of the desert rock and sand. Lakes and rivers are disappearing, but desert lawns are watered to look like Kentucky Bluegrass horse farms, and garish water fountains spray tourists on the other-worldly Las Vegas strip.

It has been said that “you can’t take it with you.” Apparently someone forgot to tell the 2nd-homers, the vacationers, the retirees, and the “newvo-richo!” Too many move from where they are, and rather than honor where they’ve arrived, they attempt to recreate it into something it is not. Yes, we can continue to grow, continue to spread ourselves across this vast country. But we should do so in a way that respects the natural sense of place, of openness in the midst of expanse, balancing green and brown with tree and rock as God provided them. In such a way that our grandchildren will not have to wonder ---- what did this land, my home, look like generations ago?

Thank God for those who had the vision for creating our national, state, and local parks and forests against all the intense pressures that still continue today. Pressures to denude them for individual commercial reward, or to plow them under and create yet another sterile, repetitive, commercial environment or a parade of look-alike, cookie-cutter or excessive homes that attempt to pass for a neighborhood and community of distinctive individuals.