Cadet Repudiates Cheney at West Point Ceremony
I spoke with someone who attended the graduation ceremony at West Point where Dick Cheney gave the commencement speech. Cheney then stood on stage and shook hands with each of the 1000 graduates: wait, make that 999. Because one courageous and principled cadet faced Cheney, looked him up and down, decided not to offer his hand and walked on. Cheney was visibly taken aback, and turned to glare after the parting cadet. (We can only imagine the repercussions that this cadet may now face.)
A West Point cadet is the epitome of honor, duty and respect. That this graduate was willing to show the assembled gathering that he would not deign to honor this dishonorable Vice President with a handshake should have sent tremors of excitement through the crowd. This is probably the first time in six years that anyone has had the temerity and honesty to face down the man whom we could arguably call the Big Evil. Cheney should be getting this treatment from every person he encounters, as should Bush, Gonzales, Rice and the rest of this renegade administration. Of course, these corrupted leaders have insulated themselves from almost any contact with the general public, to the extent of even blocking off the side streets as their armored motorcades (reminiscent of images of dictator governments the world over) take them from home to work. If they were regularly exposed to common Americans they would discover that there are many who would dare to tell them that this emperor has no clothes.
This dovetails beautifully with a recent call by Scott Ritter for Americans to “repudiate” this administration and its policies. Unfortunately, Ritter feels compelled to preface his call with an imperfect and misleading understanding of impeachment efforts, leading him to dismiss the idea and call for repudiation instead. However, repudiation, as explained by Ritter, is more of a concept than a plan for action. How exactly do we go about it and how does it have an effect? The point he misses is that impeachment, a formalized and proscribed Constitutional method to curb executive abuse, is the perfect complement and comrade to whatever “repudiations” that we can muster.
Very few of us will be given such a golden opportunity, as was this cadet to repudiate this administration. But we now need to ask ourselves, what do we have available? How can we take a stand every day in every act we take that says, No More Business as Usual? How can we turn our everyday acts into statements of defiance and patriotic dissent? We need to start to look at the connections behind every transaction or exchange that we make. We need to explain to every clerk who takes our money that we are sliding into early stages of fascism and they need to be worried. We need to figure out how to disrupt business as usual in our own neighborhoods. It is likely that any disruptions of business or blockading streets, flash mobbing town council meetings etc. will inconvenience and even anger some folks who are not directly responsible for the current occupation and erosion of rights. But at this point in the game, that will be a necessary cost of dissent. We need everybody to be angry. If they have to start by being angry at us for bringing this to their attention in an uncomfortable way, so be it. As they see how widespread our discontent is, and they understand how many of us are only going to escalate the disruptions, annoyances and inconveniences, they will start to understand the reasons behind our actions.
The next time that you say to yourself that “this isn’t the time to mention the occupation or constitutional crimes because it’s not the right setting”, know that you are fooling yourself. From today onward, there is no place where loud dissent is inappropriate. We need to make ourselves ungovernable, pure and simple. Let the bravery of one West Point cadet be your inspiration to take this struggle out of your heart and put in on the table front and center wherever you may be.
Democratic leaders like John Conyers are starting to soften their resistance to the calls for impeachment. They are asking us to show them that we really want accountability. We can make daily life so uncomfortable and unpredictable that impeachment will be a welcome balm to smooth the roiling waves. We can’t hold investigations and file articles of impeachment ourselves, but we must show our representatives that we no longer consent to be governed by them as they now operate.
It is time for a Constitutional Restoration. It is up to us to make it happen.