NOBODY marched to impeach Bill Clinton. Angry citizens DIDN’T fill the streets, carry signs and beg a non-responsive Congress to do its Constitutional duty and remove Bill Clinton from his job. Panels WEREN’T held across the nation, moderated by Constitutional scholars who loved their country so much that they traversed its full span to inform packed audiences of the high crimes Bill Clinton had done.
Nope. That DIDN’T happen.
In 1998, thousands upon thousands of Americans DIDN’T call, write, fax and visit their elected leaders every day imploring them to impeach Bill Clinton. Millions of citizens DIDN’T believe that the rest of the world wanted Bill Clinton impeached. Groups of citizen activists DIDN’T band together to camp out at their Representatives’ homes and District Offices for days, sometimes weeks, holding “Impeach Bill Clinton” signs and wearing “Impeach Bill Clinton” T-shirts. Thousands of cars DIDN’T bear “Impeach Bill Clinton” bumper stickers.
Nope. That DIDN’T happen.
Average citizens DIDN’T travel to Washington, DC to walk the Halls of Congress and seek audiences with their elected officials demanding to have Bill Clinton impeached.
“Impeachment Centers” WEREN’T opened dedicated to impeaching Bill Clinton like the one in Los Angeles that opened on the Fourth of July, dedicated to impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Hundreds of people DIDN’T join together in a park on a national holiday for an impeach-Bill-Clinton-rally the way they joined together in a park in Los Angeles on Wednesday for an impeach-Bush-and-Cheney-rally.
In 1998, the people DIDN’T need to inspire Congress to impeach Bill Clinton. The 105th Congress couldn’t wait to throw the popular President out of his job. In fact they impeached Bill Clinton even though we-the-people implored them not to.
Of course, there were some Americans in 1998 who bought the smear and destroy campaign by the rabid Republican spin-machine and rabid Republican legislators to impeach Bill Clinton under the guise of restoring the Presidency. These duped citizens were conned by mainstream media’s daily theatrics, directed by then-adulterer Congressman Henry Hyde, then-adulterer Speaker Newt Gingrich, then drug-addict Rush Limbaugh, future-indicted Congressman Tom Delay, and Special Pornographer Kenneth Starr. (My apologies to Larry Flynt).
How ironic for Gingrich and Hyde that Clinton was caught with his pants down just as they were dropping theirs. How further ironic that the lynchpin asserting the case for Clinton’s impeachment was Ken Starr’s obsessively compiled pornographic tome, whereas Americans today have a virtual library of scholarly books on the Constitutional merits of impeaching Bush and Cheney. Thanks to Mr. Starr’s salacious expose, it is likely his lurid accounting of a private consensual affair will be his singular most powerful climax.
The fact is, during the 105th Congress’s impeachment of Bill Clinton, Clinton’s public APPROVAL rating was a positive 73%. Conversely, as the current 110th Congress takes NO action to impeach George W. Bush, Bush’s public APPROVAL ratings range between 28 and 36%.
This means that the people’s well-liked President Clinton was penalized, while the people’s despised President Bush is allowed to stay on.
If this isn’t a failure of democracy of, for, and by the people, then what is?
The 105th Congress’s impeachment of Bill Clinton was an elitist backlash to pummel an Arkansas poor-boy for dethroning the patriarch of the ruling class. Unfortunately, the 110th Congress conforms to the same eliticism, refusing to impugn the progeny of that same ruling class. The collapse of our democracy is in no small part due to the ideological similarities between the Republican and Democratic parties, fueled by cronyism and mutual corporate ties.
Sadly, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Congress will rue the day they took impeachment off the table. By disregarding the wishes of The People and making no effort to impeach Bush and Cheney, Speaker Pelosi will go down in history as the Speaker who permitted the most corrupt Administration in American history to perpetrate its crimes. She has secured her legacy as the spineless leader of a spineless Congress that defied the Constitution and sanctioned Bush and Cheney’s lies. The 110th Congress and its Speaker have become enablers, accomplices and accessories to the crimes.
The bottom line… Bush and Cheney have eighteen months left to their term. During this time they are capable of many more egregious crimes. Congress’s failure to initiate articles of impeachment for Bush and Cheney’s criminal acts is a breach of Congress’s Oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” If Pelosi and the 110th Congress do not uphold this Oath, they have secured their rightful places alongside Bush and Cheney as enemies of the state.
One final note: Members of both the House and the Senate have stated that impeachment is certain to fail. Let it be known that if the current Legislative Branch doesn’t make an honest attempt at impeachment, they have already failed.
But If they make an honest, heart-felt and diligent try, even if they fail, at least they have done their job.
Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Her writing has appeared in numerous domestic and international newspapers, magazines and journals. Over the past three decades, Linda has divided her time between the entertainment industry, community development projects and education.
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