New York, NY – March 14, 2008. On March 9th a Townhall Meeting was held at Judson Memorial Church, on the southern edge of Washington Square Park…a short distance from the Arch which was built to honor George Washington. Washington established the tradition of willingly surrendering power so that despotism would never replace democracy in the United States. The speakers at the meeting, a collection of prominent attorneys, made the argument that despotism has indeed derailed democracy in the US. They laid the blame at the feet of the Bush administration.
Bruce Fein, a congressional scholar and former assistant director of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy, argued that the US went to war with Britain over the issue of the English Parliament insisting that it had the right to exercise military authority over its colonies. Fein noted that the Stamp Act and subsequent authoritarian actions on the part of the British sparked a revolution – and noted that Bush’s actions were reminiscent of King George and his parliament. Fein also noted that Bush’s actions have not made the US safer, despite the assertions of the beleagured executive. In fact, Fein argued, the actions of the Bush administration have exposed the citizenry to greater danger.
Elizabeth Holtzman, who served eight years in the Congress achieving national prominence for her role on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate, admonished the crowd. She told the assembled that if they believed that a mere 2000 signatures on a petition, in a city of eight million people, was sufficient to sway Congress to move forward with impeachment, they were mistaken. She argued passionately for increased efforts to mobilize the citizenry to pressure their elected officials to move ahead with impeachment because an active constituency is the only precipitant capable of prodding a “pusillanimous” Congress.