Today I am writing with sad news about Mikael Rudolph, co-founder of ImpeachforPeace. Mikael had been struggling with cancer for some time and passed away last Friday.
Mikael was a talented mime, vaudevillian, and dance teacher. But the side of Mikael that those with Impeach for Peace saw, was that of a political activist. Mikael put great effort into opposing war crimes, resisting our country’s torture policies, advocating for the end of the war in Iraq, and more. Through his efforts at Impeach for Peace, he not only found meaning for his life but also helped others to organize towards a better world. And, if Mikael had done nothing else, this would represent a worthy legacy.
Mikael was a good friend of mine, and I’ll miss him dearly. My favorite memories are of his involvement in Patriots for Corporate Rights. He and several of our common friends satirized the corporate interests of our country in street protests and on radio. This brought Mikael the performer and Mikael the protester together. If you are interested in seeing or hearing some of those moments, you can find them at CorporateRights.org
Mikael’s main political efforts went into Impeach for Peace (ImpeachForPeace.org) and World Can’t Wait (http://WorldCantWait.org) where he held meetings, marched in the street, called radio programs, blogged furiously, organized protests, met with congressional leaders, handed out leaflets and anything else he felt might stir the pot. Mikael spoke of how his activist inspiration was due in part to his mother’s legacy. She had fought for the rights of Japanese Americans interned during WW II.
Details of services being held for Mikael can be found at MikaelTheMime.com. I have included his obituary below.
I know that Mikael would have approved of my making following suggestion. If, in the coming days, the current political state of affairs frustrates you, or inspires you, take the time to act on it. Call or write a congress person, refuse to spend your money with big corporations, join a march–or start one! That’s how I’ll chose to remember and honor Mikael.
Cofounder, Impeach for Peace
MIKAEL JONATHAN RUDOLPH, 51, of Minneapolis (native to Bainbridge Island, WA) died peacefully in his home on February 26th following a courageous six-month battle with Therapy Related Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Mikael was a beloved mime and vaudeville performer well-known to audiences at renaissance and fringe festivals, churches and schools nationwide. He taught swing, salsa and ballroom dance in the Twin Cities and was a political activist who co-founded Impeach For Peace and worked tirelessly with others toward political reform. He is preceded in death by cat Louie, sister Kristi, and parents John and Natalie. He is survived by brother James, nephew Zephyr, nieces Jamila, Rio and Trinity, great-niece Aliyah, cats Ash, Moxie and Jabo, and many friends who love him. Memorials preferred to Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis or RESCU Foundation. Memorial service details to follow at www.mikaelthemime.com <http://www.mikaelthemime.com>.
Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman talked to Luce Guillen-Givins who is one of the first people ever to be charged under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal PATRIOT Act. Guillen-Givins and 7 other members of the group RNC Welcoming Committee — also known as the “RNC 8″ — were formally charged with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism.
However, criminal complaints filed reportedly do not allege that members of the RNC 8 personally engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. “Instead, authorities are seeking to hold the eight defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals during the opening days of the Republican National Convention,” reports Democracy Now.
“I think the significance is that this is one more step in the process of criminalizing dissent,” Guillen-Givins. “It’s the fact that we do have a right to protest. Any prosecution under a PATRIOT Act or any similar legislation infringes on those rights.”
A full transcript of Amy Goodman’s interview with Luce Guillen-Givins is available here.
This video is from Link TV’s Democracy Now, broadcast Feb. 18, 2009.
ImpeachForPeace.org cofounder Jodin Morey discusses at the RNC why even as Cheney and Bush leave office, impeachment is still crucial to the health of our republic. — So I’m here to talk to you about impeachment, and I know what you’re thinking “Bush is almost out of office.” But this isn’t about Bush. The underlying problem does not end with him, it preceded him, and it will endure after him.
I’m here today to advocate for impeachment as an ever-present value in YOUR life. We should see impeachment as a cherished tool that balances power between us and government. We should never have allowed government, or media to convince us impeachment is extreme or divisive. We need to alter our thinking about impeachment to coincide with that of early presidents and the founders of our nation. James Madison was proud that the Constitution made impeachment of a power abusing president “easy.”
Since I’ve been alive, almost every president who has been in office has abused their power in such a way as to warrant impeachment.
We should impeach George W. Bush.
We should have impeached Reagan.
We should have impeached Bush Sr,
we should have impeached Clinton , but NOT for his lying about a blowjob, but rather for military actions overseas. The media of course largely ignored Clinton’s abuse of power in Yugoslavia and Mogadishu.
And anyone who believes that the next president will magically remain within his constitutional restrictions is fooling themselves.
If you don’t support impeachment now, when will you? When it’s time to impeach McCain?
When it’s time to impeach Obama?
Will you once again accuse the impeachment movement of being divisive? Or INSTEAD will you recognize the corrupt GOVERNMENT for being divisive? Will you once again ask for impeachment to wait until we’ve won the next midterm elections, and after those elections will you then say that it’s too late? Will you once again believe what the media tells you about the likelihood of impeachment, or will you fight for a cause because it’s right. And believe that today’s impossibility is tomorrow’s reality. If you only fight for the causes that the media tells you are possible, how does that make you special or a visionary? How does that make you courageous or bring meaning to your life?
You’ve seen that bumper sticker that reads, “I’m already against the NEXT war?” Well, I’m already in favor of impeaching the NEXT PRESIDENT!” Until we do, and continue doing it with every president that abuses their power, they won’t stop. And why should they? They’ve got a pretty good deal going. Presidents can do whatever they want and get away with it.
That’s the weird thing about accountability. No one forces it upon themselves. Our founding fathers knew that. Jefferson once said, “In questions of power let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
What happens when you create a powerful office in which the officers are not accountable to the public? Politicians who are unsavory gravitate towards it. We are asked to trust the president with the power to spy on us. But a presidency that demands trust attracts untrustworthy presidents. It’s easy to fix the problem, our founding fathers knew the solution: Checks balances, and transparency. When you turn on the cellar light, the roaches scurry. But congress has learned that WE don’t care about accountability as much as the LOBBYISTS care about the status quo. After all, if we turn on the light of transparency, the roaches known as lobbyist will be caught in the act as well.
So, instead, the president breaks the law, and congress fiddles. It seems so obvious when you think about it that one should impeach a criminal president. Think of any other criminal. Say a rapist. What if a judge were to stop prosecuting rapists because he said that doing so was divisive, or that their crime was in that past and that we should be looking forward instead. That’s what our congress has done, except instead of raping a person our president has raped a country and congress refuses to prosecute. As a result a million are dead, millions more are displaced, and future presidents will feel free to rape countries as they wish., until we start impeaching them.
Until then, our democracy will continue deconstructing until there is no democracy left. We’ll slide slowly into totalitarianism while singing “Land of the free and Home of the Brave.” But when we’re not brave enough to stand up to our presidents, we lose that freedom. If everyone who thought Bush should have been impeached would have called their congressperson, we’d be in a different kind of country today. You could still do it right now. Even if it doesn’t result in Bush’s impeachment, it will let congress know that the public is behind impeachment in principle when a president goes haywire. Maybe then they’ll start holding presidents accountable.
But it’s always easy to come up with reasons not to do something, or why something might fail. And that pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can go the way of societies like Nazi Germany who were too pessimistic or distracted to do the right thing when there was still time to do it. We seem willing to do that with the environment. But can we afford that luxury? What will it take to motivate good people to turn off their TV and make the difference that’s necessary?
Let me leave you with a hopeful thought. Because I believe we will eventually start impeaching presidents freely. We’ll have to. So imagine the presidency we’ll have one day when they fear impeachment. When so many before them have been impeached, and imprisoned that they fear the power of the people. A presidency with so much transparency, oversight, and accountability that they know they can’t step too far out of bounds. Imagine the kind of politician who would never run for such an office. Do you think Cheney would wish to work there? Imagine the kind of president that office will attract.
A president who isn’t afraid to have the people see what she’s doing.
A president who preserves and restores our civil liberties.
A president so proud of her work that she won’t claim executive privilege.
A president who identifies with citizens, not corporations.
A president who doesn’t fear our free speech.
A president with the interests of the people paramount in her mind.
A president the founding fathers envisioned was possible only after they mandated the use of impeachment.
Debra Sweet is the National Director of World Can’t Wait. World Can’t Wait is organizing people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration. World Can’t Wait seeks to create a political situation where the Bush administration’s program is repudiated, where Bush himself is driven from office, and where the whole direction he has been taking U.S. society is reversed.