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San Francisco, San Mateo County, CA June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

I'm Running Because We Need to Impeach Bush and Cheney

By Kevin James Hearle, Ph.D.

Candidate for United States Representative; District 12; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Dissent is patriotic, and so is defending our Constitution. Bush and Cheney have by their actions repeatedly undermined and attacked the Constitution of the United States.
I am running for Congress. I do not want to be a United States Congressman, but so much that is illegal, unconstitutional, anti-democratic, and un-American has been perpetrated by the current Bush administration in my name and in your name and in the name of America and democracy that staying home and writing my next two or three books no longer seems a sufficiently moral choice. However much I might prefer the comfort of my own home and career, when this administration compounds its immorality by calling its critics un-American I must stand and join in vocal and patriotic dissent.

Two hundred and nineteen years ago, delegates from twelve states gathered in Independence Hall to decide what form of government was best suited for this then new nation. From May through September of a hot Philadelphia summer, the delegates debated into the night. The Virginia delegation proposed one form for the legislature. New Jersey's delegation proposed another. Eventually, everyone agreed to a compromise proposed by the Connecticut delegation. One controversy followed another and each one required extensive rounds of proposals, criticism, counter-proposals, disagreements, rejections and compromises. At times the delegates didn't much like each other; however, for four, hot, humid months, bound together by a common duty, they debated each other at close quarters, and they produced an amazing document. Perhaps its most amazing feature is that it created a government which not only respects differences of opinion, but almost requires dissent.

Those heroic delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, decided, after four months of sticky debate in a cramped room inconveniently far from most of their homes, to create a legislature which would require future generations to endure similarly interminable debates. They knew what horrors they were visiting upon future members of Congress, and they did it anyway. They did it because it was the only way to live up to that document's opening words, "We, the people of these United States, in order to form a more perfect union...."

Dissent is thus far more than every American's birthright. Dissent and difference of opinion are the catalysts that power the legislative process. They are almost a Constitutional imperative. And, in case, we might somehow, some day forget just how crucial the free exchange of ideas is to a democracy, Congress tacked on the Bill of Rights, the first of which guarantees to each of us the freedom of speech.

The members of that amazing convocation also concluded that governmental powers derived from the people, and, knowing that their conclusion was so new as to be almost unique, they strove to create a government whose form would help protect the people's hold upon their power. To that end, they created a government in which each branch--executive, legislative and judicial--stands as a guarantor of the people's rights against abuse of power by one or both of the other branches.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and their administration have by their actions consistently shown their contempt for the people's rights and for those powers reserved by the Constitution for the Congress and for the courts. This Bush Administration has condoned torture. Of course, they claimed it wasn't torture, but they accomplished that by re-defining torture as physical coercion which causes its victims pain equal to that of organ failure or death. Despite the nicety of their language, prisoners have been killed. Now that the Congress has, over Mr. Bush's and Mr. Cheney's objections, passed a law forbidding U.S. forces to torture prisoners, the Bush administration instead allows allies to perform our torture for us. Suspects (a number of whom have subsequently proven to have been taken in error) are flown to perhaps Egypt or Romania and beaten, half drowned or partially electrocuted there. That alone is enough of a "high crime" to justify impeachment, but that's only the beginning of this administration's crimes against humanity and our Constitution. In his 2003 State of the Union address, Mr. Bush lied to Congress about weapons of mass destruction in order to gain support for a war in Iraq. Mr. Cheney consistently claimed that Iraq was tied to the hijack attacks even after the bipartisan 9/11 Commission concluded there was no credible evidence of any such link. Lying to Congress is a federal crime. Lying to Congress in order to gain approval for the use of military force compounds that crime by unconstitutionally undermining Congress' sole power to declare war.

And Congress isn't the only branch of the government whose constitutional authority this Bush administration has repeatedly and illegally ignored and subverted. George W. Bush has signed multiple executive orders approving the bypassing of the secret intelligence court's jurisdiction over national security wiretapping. That court, established by act of Congress to expedite the approval of searches in matters relating to our national security, regularly approves wiretaps within hours if not minutes, and reportedly even approves wiretaps retroactively. Why is it that a court which deliberates in secret (and thus without notice to, or legal representation for, those potentially about to be searched) and which is willing to approve wiretaps after the fact, isn't sufficient for Mr. Bush and his administration?

The Bush administration's continued threat to our system of government and to our democratic principles is obvious. The grounds for impeachment are no less clear. Congress, however, isn't calling for impeachment hearings. I am. That's why I'm running for Congress.

If you're in my district, I hope you will vote for me. If you're not in my district, I encourage you to press your Congresswoman or Congressman to sponsor or co-sponsor a bill of impeachment. If your Representative won't call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, then I encourage you to join me in running for Congress. Check with your county elections board now. They can tell you how to become a candidate. There is this thing about a government of the people: when the people stop acting as if government matters to them, it ceases to be their government even as it continues to act in their name. It never, however, ceases to be their responsibility.

--speech delivered by Kevin Hearle on March 2, 2006

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