As Cindy Sheehan approached the microphone and began to speak to the crowd assembled at the Casella Theater, she looked into the audience and noticed a young man in the front row wearing a t-shirt that read “Go Back To California.”Sheehan assumed that this message referred to her because as far as she knew she was the only one from California.
“I would rather be back in California,” said Sheehan. “But I can’t because innocent people are dying in Iraq. I can’t sit back and let innocent people die any longer.”
Sheehan was the keynote speaker on a panel designed to encourage Vermont citizens to support the state’s impeachment resolution.
The panel encouraged voters to attend their town meetings on Tuesday, March 6 2007 and voice their opinion to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard B. Cheney. The issue was on the agenda in 23 Vermont towns. If the resolution is successful, the state of Vermont will call upon the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate the impeachment process.
Sheehan, whose son Casey died after serving only five days in Iraq, made international headlines in August 2005 when she put together a peace demonstration, dubbed “Camp Casey” that stood outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.
“I would give anything to have my son with me and not be on this journey,” said Sheehan in her 30 minutes of talking to Castleton students.
Sheehan went on to talk about her anger at Bush and his refusal to have a private meeting with her, saying that anytime someone referred to Bush as the President they had to use air quotes.
“He has taken a constitution that had healthy checks and balances and he has spit on it,” said Sheehan.
“This is the twenty-first century. When are we going to say killing innocent people is barbaric?” asked Sheehan.
Sheehan encouraged people to protest the war, but to be careful about the actions they used.
“We can’t use their tactics, we have to come up with a new way,” said Sheehan. “Violence only creates more violence. Killing only creates more killing.”
But Sheehan’s speech was not just about her dislike for President Bush.
“When Hillary (Clinton) says George Bush deceived me, that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me. It means she was deceived by an idiot.”
Sheehan went on to talk about the soldiers in Iraq and how many of them signed up before the war.
“If they’re volunteers, why can’t they just un-volunteer when the mission changes and not have to worry about going to jail,” said Sheehan, who along with the rest of the panel had been traveling with members of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Following Sheehan’s lecture a question and answer time was available and the entire panel attacked Congress, saying that they mostly vote the safe route for political purposes, acknowledging that the vote for a resolution to impeach Bush was unlikely to work, but that it was worth a try.
“Let’s get George Bush out of office and let’s start it here in Vermont,” said Sheehan.
Prior to Sheehan stepping up to the microphone, Dan Dewalt, a town selectman from Newfane, Vermont who authored his town’s impeachment resolution, kicked off the night.
“In the state of Vermont, we have the advantage that our smallness in numbers magnifies our powers,” said Dewalt, who saw his one town resolution spread across the state within a year. Dewalt spoke for five minutes before handing the stage over to the second speaker of the night John Nichols, a noted political journalist and blogger for The Nation.
“They gave us the genius of impeachment and they wanted us to use it,” said Nichols, referring to the writers of the U.S. Constitution.
Nichols, who in his 10 minutes of speaking described himself as a big fan of impeachment, compared the removal of Bush and Cheney to a “removal of the garbage in power.