Wednesday, April 09, 2008


April 7, 2008

Diane spoke, as well, on both the impeachment issue and on gas drilling. She addressed the safety and environmental threat posed by all the urban drillers, high pressure used in the wells and the very real threat posed by the massive tons of toxic waste pumped into injection wells.

She got the Mayor defensive on gas and I guess I made him pretty defensive by questioning whether the Council has a conscience, since they refuse to move on our proposed resolution.

During the early part of the meeting, Councilman Espino referred to an event celebrating Cesar Chavez, which took place at an elementary school by the same name. I quickly inserted a phrase related to that at the end of my speech, which elicited a smile from Espino.

Mayor, Council members, good evening. Allow me, if you will, to recite the names of towns where conscience still resides:

Amherst, Massachusetts
Santa Rosa, California
Binghamton, New York
Detroit, Michigan
Bristol, Vermont

Oberlin, Ohio
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Tacoma Park,
and Stockbridge, Massachusetts—Norman Rockwell's hometown.

These are just a few of the 86 towns in the country that have passed resolutions calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney.

Why? Why did they do it? In almost every instance where these resolutions passed, some by unanimous vote, the reason most often put forward was simply this: Because all those council members felt that in good conscience, they could not ignore the oath they took, similar to yours, to protect and defend the Constitution.

Your collective indifference on this matter must therefore be viewed alongside those city councils whose members have followed the dictates of conscience—men and women, brave and true, who did not want history to record that they were silent on an issue of such magnitude.

The argument that this is not a local matter is simply wrong. This is a local issue. Citizens from this city may be sent or have been sent to Iraq to fight in an illegal and unjustified war. Some of our people have been killed. Others perhaps will be.

This is a local issue.

More than half our taxes--54%--now go to pay for war and military. Tax funds from this city that we could have spent here have been squandered in Iraq. Money that could have gone for low income housing, for teachers, for universal health insurance—or just to fix all the roads—a huge problem around here.

This is a local issue.

Warrantless wiretapping is happening in every city and town, including ours. A local issue.

When the President vetoes a bill that would have prevented torture, he does so in our name. So torture is a local issue.

And now, they are enlisting the same arguments and lies used to start a war in Iraq to persuade us to attack Iran. If that comes to pass, believe me, that, too, will be a local issue.

You are our most direct body to give credence to the voice of conscience. The fact that Congress has failed to defend the rule of law, the fact that other Texas towns cower in silence, does not absolve you of responsibility. If anything, it places the greater burden on you to step forward and let right be done.

In the name of our mutual hero, Cesar Chavez, I ask you to please let history show that the people of Fort Worth do have a conscience and were not silent during this profound moral crisis.

Thank you.


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