When five Vermont towns voted for resolutions urging Congress to impeach President Bush, there were many in the media who dismissed the move as purely symbolic. But the local daily newspaper in southeastern Vermont, the 130-year-old Brattleboro Reformer, takes a different view.
"In a place where elections can’t be stolen and the spinmeisters have no effect, people in five Vermont towns stood up and said, "Enough!" the Reformer editorialized, adding that, "This nation can’t take another three years of failed policies, reckless wars and a pervasive culture of corruption and cronyism. Vermont has led the way in the past. We can do it again. We hope Tuesday marks the beginning of a nationwide debate over the continued legitimacy of the Bush presidency."
Here’s the entire editorial:
In Vermont, we take great pride in our tradition of direct democracy and how we can have a say not just in how things are run in our towns, but also on bigger issues like war and peace. Last year, more than 40 towns across Vermont approved a nonbinding referendum regarding the deployment of the Vermont National Guard in Iraq.
In doing so, Vermont became the first state to debate the deployment of the National Guard.
This year, five Vermont towns went beyond the Iraq war to take on the architect of it — George W. Bush.
In Newfane, Marlboro, Putney and Dummerston, as well as the central Vermont town of Brookfield, town meeting voters approved a measure to demand that our Congressman, independent Bernard Sanders, file articles of impeachement to remove Bush from office.
That isn’t surprising, considering the state’s tradition of using Town Meeting Day to consider issues beyond road repair and school funding.
In 1974, several Vermont towns had town meeting votes calling for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. In the early 1980s, Vermont gave the nuclear freeze movement a kick-start with town meeting votes that eventually inspired other states to debate the need for more nuclear weapons. The vote on impeachment Tuesday follows this pattern of voting locally to act globally.
As Dan DeWalt, the Newfane Selectboard member who started this whole process by getting an impeachment article on Newfane’s town meeting warrant, told reporters Tuesday, "In the U.S. presently, there are only a few places where citizens can act in this fashion and have a say in our nation."
In a place where elections can’t be stolen and the spinmeisters have no effect, people in five Vermont towns stood up and said, "Enough!"
Sadly, Sanders won’t be introducing articles of impeachment. He said Tuesday that Republican control of Congress makes it "impractical to talk about impeachment."
We disagree. More than two dozen House members have co-sponsored a resolution calling for the formation of a select committee that would make recommendations regarding impeachment. Sanders ought to join that group and forcefully push for impeachment proceedings to begin.
This nation can’t take another three years of failed policies, reckless wars and a pervasive culture of corruption and cronyism. Vermont has led the way in the past. We can do it again. We hope Tuesday marks the beginning of a nationwide debate over the continued legitimacy of the Bush presidency.