The weather report predicted a 50% chance of rain, but not a drop was falling as we gathered at the parade starting location near Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. The events of the day demonstrated that support for impeachment exceeds expectations, and is building rapidly toward climax.
As we were preparing to march, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak stopped by and shared his thoughts on impeachment. At first, he noted, he had considered impeachment a distraction from the important political work that needed to be done, but he had been convinced after hearing a talk by Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked “The Pentagon Papers” in 1971: “If the actions of the Bush Administration don’t justify impeachment, what would?”
Mayor Rybak chatted with us briefly before departing, and soon after, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) stopped by and gave his best wishes to impeachment marchers. Rep. Ellison also indicated that he would be interested in hosting a Town Hall meeting on impeachment. Both Rep. Ellison and Mayor Rybak were given ImpeachforPeace.org buttons, which they promptly pinned to their shirts.
Soon the final marchers arrived (for a total of about ten people) and donned orange Guantanamo Bay detainee outfits to remind people about the torture and the people held unlawfully without trial at this and other U.S. institutions around the world. Shortly, the march began. As we walked, some of the marchers carried chains. Some occasionally fell to their knees or to the ground to signify the abuses that detainees were suffering.
For most of the trip, impeachment demonstrators were behind The Anti-War Committee, which shouted slogans in protest of Bush’s illegal war. Marchers and members of the crowd shouted back with feeling. Applause and cheering greeted the marchers the entire way along the path.
Meanwhile, as more and more people moved past the ImpeachForPeace.org table at the other side of the parade, public passion for impeachment was becoming increasingly obvious. The enthusiasm of the event goers for signing Do-It-Yourself impeachment memorials to impeach Bush and Cheney was, frankly, beyond all of our expectations. It was like being in an old movie about Wall Street, when the sellers on the floor were trying to keep up with the throngs of buyers before the bell rang to end the day. Four booth staffers were kept busy for hours ensuring that the throngs of people had DIY petitions to sign. We had petitions in our teeth, between our fingers, and under our elbows to keep them from flying away in the wind while trying to keep up with the crowd surrounding our table waiting to sign the memorials for impeachment.
At one time, we ran out of our 400 to 500 petitions and sent someone to a printer to make more. When one of the boothers held up the last petition and yelled, “Last petition to impeach Cheney!” people raised their hands and jumped up and down to be able to be sign the petition with their name and demand impeachment. Numerous people commented that we had the most popular booth at the event.
After we ran out of petitions, we had to pass out our web address and let people know that they could download a petition to sign. As soon as the new petitions arrived, however, it was back to finding room on the table and pens to accommodate the crowd at the table to sign them. Even as the event was calming down, people continued to crowd around to sign petitions.
With popular and political support building, the May Day parade event was more invigorating proof that we are the majority!!!