Gem Fire Air
New Mexico Legislature Resolution to Impeach: Update & Reflections
February 3, 2007
When Senators Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque and John Grubesic of Santa Fe, announced the introduction of (SJR5)
, a resolution calling for the Impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney at the press conference held in the Rotunda of the New Mexico State Roundhouse January 23, 2007
, I was present.
Although the Roundhouse is in my neighborhood, I had always walked by it yet never walked in, a statement that also reflects my involvement in politics. As of January 23rd, that changed with my decision to become actively involved in this particular resolution.
I have signed many impeachment petitions, beginning back in 2001 and the passing of the first and most infamous Patriot Act. Politics has been something I felt comfortable studying, reading, and commenting about, as GemFireAir
reflects, but I have always refrained from becoming more directly involved beyond that of calling my congressman, writing letters, and sending pertinent information via e-mail.Here I am on January 23rd 2007, in the middle of the Rotunda beneath the dome of the NM State Roundhouse waiting for the press conference to begin, announcing the introduction of the resolution to impeach GW & DC. There are reporters here from every New Mexico newspaper, the Associated Press, as well as ABC and NBC cameras.
I look around and see about 100 others attending. Part of me is apprehensive for taking such a public step. But somewhere deep inside I know that I have reached my limit on being silent. Behind my apprehension is a subtle fear that I will place myself beneath the scrutiny of those who have come to be known as the American version of the Gestapo and possibly find myself on the no-fly list. So many others have been arrested and jailed for peaceful protests; it can happen to any one of us.
It’s not comfortable living in the U.S. knowing that my phone conversations and e-mails are being monitored, and where cash is now viewed by the U.S. banking world as a four-letter word. Besides GW having trouble with the Constitution, there are judges who will not allow the word "Constitution" to even be spoken in their courtroom without the threat of 'contempt'. And now, law enforcement agencies have no need to knock on our door — they just kick it down and walk in.
What surprised me earlier as I walked up to the Roundhouse entrance, is that there were only two security people in evidence, both standing outside talking to each other and having a cigarette. There were no major security sacred portals to go through. I did not need to step out of my shoes, take everything out of my pockets, or relinquish my purse and personal belongings. I could walk wherever I chose and no one stopped to question me. Apparently I did not have the letter ‘T’ written on my forehead, and I walked around dazed from the relief I felt for once again being back in friendly territory.
Impeaching a President is not something I want to do, nor is it a position I prefer to hold. But there is this underlying force that has drawn me here to bear witness to the two senators who are stepping forward to introduce this resolution to impeach Bush and Cheney, as if by doing so I am once again affirming all those signatures I have previously made.
No one here looks like a terrorist, but rather they appear like any American I would meet on the street, like you and me. Some parents have brought their young children. In a conversation with the man who sits next to me I learn that he has come to speak as a citizen; his typed statement neatly inserted inside a blue folder.
The crowd waiting for the press conference to begin in the Rotunda is not boisterous or noisy; the prevailing atmosphere seems to contain a pervading sense of quiet determination. It is evident by the crowd’s subdued confidence, that few if any think that this issue is frivolous, or as the morning Albuquerque Journal stated, that Ortiz y Pino and Grubesic “ are hoping to make a national splash”, and which quoted Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, as saying that the proposal is “a publicity stunt.” These kinds of remarks are usually made when there is an attempt to demean and belittle those who point out the truth.
It is distressing to be calling to question a father figure of such immense authority. The President holds the archetypal figure of the Father and Teacher. It is the position reminiscent of the Greek and Roman god Saturn, and astrologically, as head figure of government, the President symbolizes the sign of Capricorn, a sign ruled by Saturn.
But George W. Bush's astrological Sun, actually holds the position in Capricorn's opposition sign of Cancer, a sign that in its wisdom, stands for the home, nurturing and caring. This may add a clue to George's position, and why so many Americans and myself are feeling so abused, rather than nurtured. George may speak the words "care" and "compassion", but he does not have the capacity to actually carry them out.
This man has been given all the slack I have available. His psychological profile screams of parental abuse, which he has not dealt with. As a psychotherapist, I cannot further enable his emotional and physical abusiveness. Now, it seems to have come to this moment — one where I must stand for myself.
George Bush, who suffers not only from untreated psychological problems and alcohol abuse, but also from their denial, has turned my compassion for him into dispassionate observation, and further spurs me to take on the task to ensure my personal survival and those values created by the Constitution of the United States.
To the rest of us, George Bush looks like an adult, yet he acts like a greedy and pompously blustering teenager who still lives inside the emotional realm of a two year old having a temper tantrum. His conflicting emotions are so powerful, that he can only feel as if he exists by striking out to kill what he perceives and creates to be outer-world demons, blindly ignoring and denying the innocent who get in the way of the guns and troops which he commands. He may not have had the kind of parents to nurture his best points, but then, who has?
As the press conference begins with introductions, Senator Ortiz y Pino is received by the supporting crowd with thunderous applause. He introduces the resolution saying that detractors from impeaching the President insist that there are “too many other pressing issues” to tie up valuable time in the state legislature with this resolution. Ortiz y Pino believes there is “too much money going toward war and paranoia,” and that our “resources are being wasted in a horrible and bloody fashion.” He gets another thunderous applause.
Senator Grubesic follows and declares that the Constitution is a sacred document, a response to GW calling it “just a goddammed piece of paper.” Grubesic goes on to give his reasons for sponsoring this resolution saying that torture is wrong, as is the denial of a proper trial, and finally that “Silence is Betrayal.” Grubesic said that as Americans, "We need to send a clear message to the rest of the world that we're not as insane as our administration is."
After the senators speak, several citizens deliver their comments. Pat Leahan, head of the Peace & Justice Center of Las Vegas, NM speaks eloquently. Underlying her calm tone is the rumble of outrage that I also feel. When she asks the question, “Do the American people feel we should move forward with the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?” the crowd responds with whistles and applause — she gets a standing ovation.
Before leaving, I stop by the information center, have a friendly chat with the people behind the desk, and pick up a copy of the names and phone #’s of all members of the legislature. By the time I get home, I decide to call Ortiz y Pino’s office to see what kind of reception I get.
Sharon, Senator Ortiz y Pino’s secretary is very helpful, and gives me the rundown on the status so far. SJR5 has been assigned to three senate committees (Rules, Public Affairs, and Judiciary) and must successfully pass thru each one before the full Senate can vote upon it.
Today, now more than a week later,, the Rules Committee has full membership assigned, with Senator Altamirano, Senate President Pro Temp, replacing Senator Ortiz y Pino who has been re-assigned to vice-chair another committee. The Rules Committee, which has been entirely hampered by this situation, is finally scheduled to meet in full committee today, already two meetings behind many of the others.
According to those who have more political experience than me, the delay with the Rules Committee is not another attempt by the leadership to delay this resolution, but that it is the result of last week’s resignation of Senator Leonard Tsosie(D), and the subsequent need to reassign memberships with the naming of his successor. That appointment came yesterday when Gov. Bill Richardson named Lynda Lovejoy to replace Tsosie. Lovejoy is from the Navaho Nation and is the first Native American woman to sit in the New Mexico Senate. (further story on Lovejoy to come)
SJR5 having to pass through three Senate committees sounds ominous, yet this is not impossible for many reasons. All three Senate committees have a Democratic majority with at least five Dems assigned to each. Five ‘yea’ votes passes the bill on to the next committee. Members of the first committee are also members of the other two committees, and in several cases they are also the chair and/or vice chair of the next two committees.
This labyrinthine process is an example of how the state government works. There are issues with the fact that the Democratic Majority Leader Michael Sanchez assigned so many committees to this resolution, some saying that it is a death knell. Politics!
But keep in mind, that the issue of impeaching a sitting president being discussed seriously in a state legislature such as New Mexico is forcing the issue to the national forefront. Although I feel like a whirly-gig in a nor’easter, there is no effort wasted here. Last year the state legislatures of California, Minnesota, Illinois, and Vermont introduced similar initiatives, and this year, the state of New Jersey has a strong activist movement working to introduce and pass an impeachment measure as well. That makes six states with grass roots support.
There are reports that these measures by states such as New Mexico forces members of Congress to take seriously the increasingly-popular demand that the President and Vice President be held to account for misleading Congress over the Iraq war, and that this fact alone is leading the peace movement to join the impeachment movement.
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty has broken the national media’s code of silence on the impeachment movement as he favorably reported the New Mexico Resolution last week with a salvo aimed at Nancy Pelosi saying, "[Although] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is quote, 'off the table' not everybody is so sure about that,"
Presently Mrs. Pelosi, with her stance to keep impeachment an off-hands affairis, is a disappointment to many mid-term voters. One really must question her motives when her party was given a clear indictment not only to end the war, but to also begin impeachment hearings.
The majority of people favor opening this discussion as the latest Harris poll shows that 56% of Americans want this to happen. How much more of a majority is needed to press House Leader Pelosi to respond?
In conversation with several legislative aides who I will not name, even though the New Mexico State Democratic Party officially added this issue to their platform, many are playing the I-don’t-want-it—You-can-have-it-game, including Governor Bill Richardson (D) who is reported to be gearing himself up with a new coiffure and body to face the 2008 presidential election.
Today, I learned upon further investigation, that because SJR5 is a joint resolution, once it gets through the Senate committees, it must go to the House side, and that here it will most likely also be assigned to three committees! Those assignments will come from House Speaker Ben Luhan (D) of Santa Fe.
I bemoan that there is little time to accomplish this resolution, despite the fact that this is a sixty day session, and given that the very first committee it needs to pass is the Rules Committee which as I pointed out above, has already missed two meetings with full Dem members seated.The following Senators have signed SJR5: Please call to thank them.
Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D) (505-986-4380) sponsor
John T.L. Grubesic-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4260) sponsor
Linda M. Lopez-Chair (D) (505-986-4737)
Dede Feldman (D) (505-986-4482)
Cisco McSorley (D) (505-986-4485)
Mary Jane M. Garcia-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4726)
Joseph J. Carraro (D) (505-986-4387)
Bernadette M. Sanchez (D) (505-986-4267)
Democratic members of the Rules, Public Affairs, and Judiciary Committee:
All but Senator Altamirano have signed on SJR5. Thank those who have signed on to SJR5 for their support and vote. Call Senator Altamirano’s office to register your opinion on this with his staff and encourage him to vote yes.
RULES: Meets Monday, Wednesday & Friday-8:00 a.m. (Room 321)
Linda M. Lopez-Chair (D) (505-986-4737)
John T.L. Grubesic-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4260)
Dede Feldman (D) (505-986-4482)
Cisco McSorley (D) (505-986-4485)
Ben Altamirano (D) (505-986-4733)
If Rules passes SJR5, it will go to the Public Affairs Committee:
Note replication of signers Senators Feldman, Ortiz y Pino and Garcia.PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Tues-Thurs(Room 321) & Friday-2:30 p.m.(Room 303)
Dede Feldman-Chair (D) (505-986-4482)
Mary Jane M. Garcia-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4726)
Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D) (505-986-4380)
Mary Kay Papen (D) (505-986-4270)
David Ulibarri (D) (505-986-4260)
It may come to Judiciary at which time there needs to be an absolute vote here. Note replication of signers McSorley, Grubesic, Lopez.
JUDICIARY: Monday, Wednesday & Friday - 2:30 p.m. (Room 321)
Cisco McSorley-Chair (D) (505-986-4485)
Richard C. Martinez-Vice Chair (D) (505-986-4389)
John T.L. Grubesic (D) (505-986-4260)
Linda M. Lopez (D) (505-986-4737)
Lidio G. Rainaldi (D) (505-986-4310)
Michael S. Sanchez (D) Senate majority Leader (505-986-4727)Website for the new Mexico Legislature for daily updates:
The one thing that is most evident to me is that this is merely a game of strategic positioning against the time factor. When I first got the list and saw that all three Senate committees have five Dems and four Republicans listed, I knew that this resolution could actually get passed. It is widely reported that non of the Republicans will vote for it, so that means it’s up to the Dems to do the job even though leadership has not made it easy to accomplish.
More than ever before, I understand that what you see is NOT what you get! How has this country ever survived such political illusions? It seems to be the case of: take five steps forward and six back because we forgot to say “Mother/Father, May I?”
The learning curve is steep, but after all this, if it does pass both Senate and House, reportedly this resolution does not need to go to the governor. We have until March 16th to accomplish this. Although my urge is to surge to the fore, another voice says lets take this one step at a time.
This morning’s latest news is, according to Rules Chair, Senator Linda Lopez’s office; the Impeachment resolution may likely come to a vote sometime next week.
That’s where we are at this time folks. I will be attending the committee meetings and reporting to you here on the outcome.
With the New Mexican Enchanting clear blue skies breaking through the winter doldrums, and with Punxsutawney Phil
reporting an early Spring on Candlemas Day, I wish us all a peaceful solution to the world’s differences. Con Amore,~ mek