Last night was thrilling. Over Quan’s jeers (aging hippes), I drove an hour through the crispy night to the local Speak Out meeting. I feared about 15 people would be at the U of M’s Hutchison Center, hoped for maybe 50, ready to do something. Instead there were hundreds, filling the aisles, crowding the door, spilling into another room where they piped the sound.

Bush’s escalation speech in the face of the election was just one straw too many under the nose of the sleeping giant. Democracy is awakening. I am not an entire innocent – it may fade, of course, but there is a sudden sense of urgency and civic duty that hasn’t been felt since Viatnam and Watergate.

Held with typical New England decorum – each person gets 3 minutes, hold your applause until the end of each offering, line forms on the right – it was nevertheless the Quaker equivalent of an army of blue-skinned Scythian warriors ululating before a battle. Paint it, and it’s an updated Norman Rockwell with – yes, Quan – a lot of long grey hair. But the underlying electricity was delivered in bolts to an appreciative audience – by the humble veteran mumbling his prepared litany of betrayal, the trembling outrage only a grandmother can carry off, the naked emperor direct sentences of the 17-year old.

All spoke for all – by the time I got there, a lot had been said, so I simply warned of the need for citizen vigilance (I waved my T-shirt “I’m already against the next war”), and urged that now was the moment to move – we would not get another opportunity in this last two years, and that impeachment was not punishment, but the equivalent of a Truth and Reconciliation process.

The air was festive – determined but not grim, effervescent with the relief of release of the isolation in which we have marinated for these six years. The shrill voice of the hand-wringing liberal so easily satirized on talk radio was nowhere in evidence. (I listened to right wing radio on the drive home – once in lock-step, they have suddenly developed a shrill confusion of their own.)

The summit of the evening was delivered by a gangly fellow in a John Deere cap and a large-checked flannel shirt. He resurrected the Declaration of Independence and compared the list of charges from the frist King George to our current King George W.

So I looked it up:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good – check – how many signing statements have reversed the intent of the laws Congress passed?

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power – check
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent check – the war itself is an imposed tax of hundreds of billions that could have gone for schools
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jurycheck – habeus corpus, anyone?

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencescheck, Guantanamo
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governmentscheck – Bill of Rights vs the Patriot Act
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people – well, almost check, if you count the neglect of New Orleans
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nationcheckmate
Jefferson finishes:
A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.


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