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Getting Conyers His Conscience Back | The Nation

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Getting Conyers His Conscience Back

Ouch. It hurts to listen to. This was Representative John Conyers,speaking to a troops-out demonstration this past January in WashingtonDC:

"George Bush has a habit of firing military leaders who tell him theIraq war is failing. But let me tell you something. He can't fire you.He can't fire us. But we can fire him!"

Many took those words to mean that Conyers, the chair of the HouseJudiciary Committee, was serious about firing this president, meaning,impeaching the man, along with the vice president he rode in on.

But this was Conyers, progressive Democrat of Michigan, speakingrecently on Pacifica's Democracy Now, explaining why, although he hasthe authority, he's not going to initiate impeachment proceedings.

"Impeachments come to the Judiciary Commitee. And, believe me, to tieup this government just as we're trying to stop the war and the clockis running on both the President and the Vice President, I think wouldbe a mistaken strategy. We've got to win the next election which isnext year."

Winning the election, he told Democracy Now, is what he meant by"firing" the president. Yeah right. Like firing a senior on the day hegraduates. It hurts to listen to because what you're hearing is thesound of consciousness – razing -- as in razor, as in destroy or levelor scrape. What you're hearing is the leveling, scraping away of aman's conscience. Probably no one's done more than RepresentativeConyers and his staff have done to investigate Bush White House crimes,from wiretapping and torture to misleading the country into an illegalwar.

Luckily for Rep. Conyers, grassroots activists may save his conscienceyet.

This week in Olympia, Washington, more than 800 people packed into a meetingwith Elizabeth De La Vega and State Senator Eric Oemig, who isintroducing a resolution to petition the US House for impeachements.About half that number worked throughout last weekend to come up with anational strategy on which impeachment activists could unite. A lot isgoing on on the impeachment front. It's just been hard to see.Different groups have prioritized different grounds for impeachment--there's no shortage-- from Iraq, to Guatánamo to signing statementsand illegal wiretapping and gross negligence in hurricane Katrina'swake.

Now a broad array of organizations have launched a new coalition thatbrings scores of groups together, from the Center for ConstitutionalRights to Hip Hop Caucus, to Progressive Democrats ofAmerica, Code Pink, After Downing Street, the Green Party of the USAand The World Can't Wait.

Impeach07 has national and local demonstrations planned, along with anational day of action on April 28. Oemig isn't alone. Legislators inthree states--New Mexico, Washington and Vermont have made movestowards petitioning the Congress. And no topic provokes more calls toRadioNation on Air America--people want accountability even if theirleaders don't.

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