Senate must hold Cheney accountable

It is pathetic to suggest that history is to be the judge of Vice President Richard Cheney.

The U.S. Constitution is the system of principles that protects the people from despotism by limiting the powers of the few favoring the common rights of the many. It is a social contract between the peoples of the United States of America.

Any time the Constitution is compromised by allowing its violation, a price is paid in its weakening.

Something important happened Nov. 6.

Resolution 799 was introduced in the nearly empty House chamber by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. It is a lengthy indictment accusing Vice President Dick Cheney of lying to the congress and the American people in order to go to war with Iraq.

The parliamentary maneuvering began with a 15 minute recorded vote to table which turned into a 55 minute recorded vote. During this time, the chamber filled with representatives. The motion to table was declared to have failed and was followed by a motion to refer it to the Judiciary Committee which passed.

Referring to a committee can have the effect of burying a resolution which is too hot to handle until the house closes session thus rendering it dead, not debatable.

Kucinich, by introducing the resolution, has acted with the ideal of representative government in an otherwise obvious void. Citizens are interested in seeing this impeachment because they believe Cheney continues to act in violation of the public trust and could do much more harm before he vacates the office in 2009.

If the resolution is allowed to die the voice of the people will have been effectively silenced. More importantly the people will not receive justice without due process.

Can anyone really question or hold the authorities responsible today? Exactly how would that happen without using the ability to remove people from office for disregarding that which they have sworn to protect?

It is unfortunate that an apathy born of the cynicism preached by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer can keep the rest of the people from speaking out against this bipartisan collusion in the House of Representatives.

I was raised to question authority during the Vietnam “War.” The people were willing to risk their lives to stand against the war. If there is anything that folks can rally behind today it would be the Constitution, right?

Perhaps it is a generational thing. Out of respect for the people who are serving their nation and risking their lives, I believe they have the right to come home to an intact Constitutional democratic republic.

If the people are too distracted by seeking happiness to notice that their Constitution has been diminished, those people have been taking their rights for granted long enough to lose them. This irresponsibility is unsustainable.

It is pathetic to suggest that history is to be the judge of Richard Cheney when it is the constitutional job of the Senate.

Mark Morrill is Associate Chair, Minnesota Senate District 61, and is a University employee. Please send comments to [email protected]