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Impeachment Comes to Main Street USA
7/05 | The Iraq war is out, impeachment is in in the town of Willimantic.
By Ed Adelman
The boos from the crowd in Willimantic, CT were reserved for Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, who may find himself a man without a party come August 8 for his ardent support for President Bush and the War in Iraq.
So, just how does Impeach Bush play out on Main Street, USA?
One indication was the now famous 21st Annual July 4th Boom Box Parade along Main Street in Willimantic, CT. The 20,000 people of this former mill town in northeastern Connecticut town are a gritty, hardscrabble if economically depressed bunch, but they’re also proud, resourceful and open-minded. The Boom Box Parade was born of necessity and civic pride when marching bands were cancelled for budget reasons, forcing an embarrassing postponement of a big parade. The community's creative response: put together a tape of parade music, play it on the local radio station and have marchers and audience bring their radios tuned to the station. Open enrollment--no pre-registration--just show up and march. It became a wonderful, all-American hodgepodge of scout and church groups, hopeful politicians, families looking for something fun to do before a barbecue, immigrant groups, historical groups, local businesses, political groups with a message and anyone with a desire to drive an antique car, tractor or lawn mower down Main Street with thousands cheering.
This year, about 20 of us marched behind a banner proclaiming "SAVE THE CONSTITUTION--IMPEACH BUSH," while carrying signs with specifics about Bush the terrorist, the liar, the shredder of habeas corpus, the promoter of fear and hate, etc. etc. Although we also announced that "Peace is Patriotic," we were anxious about our reception on this day, the granddaddy of Red, White and Blue holidays.
We needn't have worried. People in this blue-collar town don't like Bush. We got enthusiastic cheers from old and young, white, black and brown, flag wavers, bikers, students, hippies--Americans, all. Certainly, there were some thumbs down and boos, but far fewer than we expected. Passing by some of the more crowded areas, such as the Town Hall lawn, the ovations and cheers just grew as we passed. Informational flyers were willingly accepted, not just by those cheering, but by others who wanted more information about impeachment, which is making sense to more and more people.
Judging by our Main Street experience, it looks like the people are ready to take this step--they are fed up with lies, the arrogance of power, incompetence and manipulation by corporate interests. We just need the politicians who have the guts to get it rolling.
Ed Adelman is a special education teacher in Lebanon, CT. He lives in the town of Hampton, CT.
Addendum by Dave Lindorff
More Boos for Lieberman, Cheers for Lamont
There was also plenty of booing along the July 4 parade route in Willimantic, CT. as the state's embattled senior senator, Joe Lieberman, marched past. The New York Times, which reported on the event on page one of its Metro section on July 5, said that while there were a few people who hugged Lieberman or offered to sign his petition to run as an independent candidate in November if he fails to win his party's nomination, most people were booing him, calling him a "traitor" for even contemplating an independent campaign.
Overwhelmingly, the cheering was reportedly reserved for Lieberman's challenger, political novice Ned Lamont, who also attended the parade, accompanied by a float that depicted Lieberman being kissed by President Bush (a reference to an event that took place at the president's last State of the Union address, and which Lamont has made good use of in his ad campaign for the Aug. 8 Democratic Primary.
Lamont, who is focusing his campaign on Lieberman's strong support for Bush’s Iraq invasion and for continuing war, is increasingly being considered a possible winner of the state's Democratic primary, which would be a remarkable upset of a senior senator who only six years ago was his party's vice presidential candidate.
For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .