(Blogger’s note: This article was featured on the face page of OhmyNews International for a week and was the #1 Featured article for a day on OpEdNews. It also appeared on AfterDowningStreet.org and the Huffington Post)
photo credit: john montgomery
“Have you ever heard of Google Earth?” a 10-year-old girl asked her father one afternoon late last year. Within minutes, married author and 55-year-old cab driver of 21 years Brad Newsham had realized how he could give the world a global perspective on impeachment.
This past Saturday morning, Jan. 6, the girl and her Dad, along with over a thousand of their fellow Californians, made a pilgrimage to Ocean Beach, which faces west just around the head of the bay from the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. They then laid, sat, stood, huddled, and cuddled into the shape of giant letters spelling out the word that recently was so famously declared “off the table” by their very own Representative in Washington D.C., new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
In addition to the press photographers and television news crews on the ground, both video and still cameras captured the political distress call from a helicopter, the rental of which Newsham paid for out of his modest personal earnings.
“I hope that this catalyzes the impeachment movement the same way the first photos of Earth taken from outer space catalyzed the environmental and humanist movements” said Newsham “and something seems to be working. I just looked, and one of our photos is already the 8th most-emailed photo on Yahoo. And this is just the beginning.”
Elementary school teacher Celia Docto also was joined at this event by her two children, continuing a family and Bay Area tradition of political activism.
Docto’s mother had worked just down the street from the location of the violent “Bloody Thursday” crackdown on student and citizen protests in May of 1969 ordered by then Governor Ronald Reagan, in which one young man was killed, another blinded and over a hundred others were hospitalized
“My mother worked at Cody’s Bookstore in Berkeley during the People’s Park protests.” Docto said, “I remember being dropped off after school and having to stay in front of the building in case tear gas bombs were thrown through the windows.”
Docto, whose son is in high school and daughter in college, always includes lessons on Martin Luther King, Ruby Bridges, and other activists and Civil Rights and Human Rights leaders to instruct her young charges on how to be active participants in the democratic process:
“As a culmination of the unit the students would work in our ‘rally headquarters’ making signs expressing their ideas and we would march around the neighborhood… usually singing a song like ‘We Shall Overcome’ or chanting, ‘NO MORE WAR!'”
Docto considers it “very important to have the students become activists and show them the importance and the power of working together for change.”
When asked what inspired her to participate in the Beach Impeach Project, Docto, who described herself as a “highly disappointed Democrat,” replied: “It was important to practice what I teach. ‘We the People’ are responsible for our government’s actions, especially when our elected, or not elected, officials are not taking care of the Citizen’s Rights here and throughout the world.”
When asked what it was about this specific cause that had inspired her to join with her fellow citizens on the Pacific Ocean shore last Saturday, the 45-year-old, who will celebrate 25 years of marriage next month, had much to say:
“The leader of a country should be someone with intellect, global awareness, wisdom, compassion, insight, knowledge, noble conduct, and articulation skills. The leader should be someone who takes care to preserve the health of the people of the world, and the global environment. The leader of a country should be working to insure liberty and justice for all, not just the wealthy.”
Docto then focused her attention to the topic foremost in the minds and hearts of Americans as this generation’s “War President” and Congress debate the relative merits of a possible escalation in the number of troops committed to the Middle East conflict:
“The leader of our country should be working to insure the rights of the soldiers who are losing their minds, limbs or their lives. The current soldiers should be assured that their term in the war ends under their original contract and is not extended without their consent. Upon arrival in the U.S. they should be assured that they will be mentally and financially taken care of by the government that sent them off to war.”
Despite spearheading the effort to coordinate this protest, Newsham acknowledged the thoughts of many Americans hesitant to drag the nation through what would certainly be a long, arduous impeachment process and offered an alternative:
“I really don’t want the country to have to go through a grueling impeachment. What I really want is for Bush to resign. First he should accept Cheney’s resignation, and then he should announce his own resignation.”
Hoping the nation would be spared the agony and the distraction of a drawn-out impeachment tangent as multiple investigations begin by the new Democratic Party majority in both Houses of the 110th Congress which commenced last week, Newsham spoke at length, as did most on the beach that day, of what some called the “multiple impeachable crimes and misdemeanors” committed by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their administration.
Those who gathered discussed the confessions of felonious violations by the Bush Administration of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the intentional misleading of Congress as exposed by the Downing Street Minutes, in order to get Congress to commit to an invasion and occupation of Iraq.
With the “Scooter” Libby trial about to begin, of particular interest to participants was the possible committing of treason in the outing of active non-official cover CIA agent Valerie Plame in an apparent act of political revenge against her husband Joseph Wilson’s “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” article published in the New York Times on July 3, 2003.
Others condemned the Bush Administration’s use of torture and ignoring Habeas Corpus for Guantanamo Bay Detention Center prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg Principles, the plethora of non-compete defense contracts profiting their cronies and themselves and the looting of California by ENRON with alleged White House complicity.
Regarding resignations, Newsham continued: “Both parties would be ecstatic — the Democrats for obvious reasons, and the Republicans because they would not have to defend Bush and his Iraq disaster every day between now and the next election.”
A call to Speaker Pelosi’s office requesting comment was not returned.
When Newsham’s daughter was asked about the Iraq War, she said: “I know that there are a lot of soldiers and a lot of them have died because Bush sent them over there and a lot of people aren’t happy in America and in other places — and in Iraq, of course. I certainly don’t think it’s good…As far as I can remember Bush has always been president — I don’t remember anybody before that.”
Asked what the feeling might be if Bush left office early as her father hopes will happen, she replied:
“I think many, many people would be happy, not just in America, but other places too — especially in Iraq. If it’s true that he did lie to us — it’s definitely not good. You don’t want your president to be lying to you.”
Docto summarized for herself and said what appeared to be the thoughts of most involved in the Impeach Beach Project as well as a large and growing percentage of American citizens, according to recent polls:
“The leader of any country should not be a criminal, a covert terrorist or a national and global buffoon.”
article copyright: OhmyNews 2007