San Francisco Spells Out Message of Impeachment

by Ben Malley on April 30, 2007

Thousands gathered at Ocean Beach Saturday morning to spell out IMPEACH NOW! in the sand with their bodies. The event was coordinated with other impeachment events nationwide on April 28, and included a Code Pink march to Nancy Pelosi’s house.

Building on the momentum from the first “Beach Impeach” event on January 7 organizers expected a turnout of between 1,500 and 2,000. The larger crowd allowed organizers to add the NOW to the original Jan. 7 message. According to event organizer Brad Newsham, the message stretched 730 feet across and 100 feet high.

At 11:00 a.m. a helicopter flew over to take aerial photographs. And after 15 minutes Newsham gave the signal, waving a green flag informing protesters to transform their message into PEACE NOW! While another organizer implored passersby to “lie down on the beach and spell out what needs to happen.”

The women of Code Pink, dressed in their colors, occupied the C. While a group dressed in orange biohazard suits made up the exclamation mark.

The entire event took only about 90 minutes and the mood was festive. After the photography was complete protesters danced to the rhythms of a band of marimba players and free food was available. A number of television news outlets were on hand for the display.

The impeachment movement has been growing with every controversy the Bush administration becomes embroiled in. With every revelation more cracks begin to show, most recently the controversy surrounding the firings of eight U.S. Attorneys.

“If you look at the polls, more and more people across the country are calling for impeachment,” Newsham said. According to an October 2006 Newsweek poll largely ignored by the press, 28 percent said impeachment was a “top priority” and 23 percent said it was a “lower priority.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich took an important first step in bringing impeachment more into mainstream political discourse. He submitted his three articles of impeachment (H.R. 333) against Dick Cheney last week. He accuses the vice president of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for violating the constitution and undermining national security by lying to the American people about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and an al-Qaeda connection to justify a war.

Rep. John Murtha was the latest Democrat to mention impeachment when he said on the CBS show Face the Nation, “there’s four ways to influence a president. And one of them’s impeachment.” While this statement doesn’t mean that Democrats are going to jump on the Kucinich bandwagon, it also means that clearly impeachment isn’t “off the table” as Pelosi said in January.

The Beach Impeach idea is a brilliant one. In an age where many cite citizen apathy as a major political problem, what better way to get people involved then by providing a protest option that is in essence, going to the beach on a Saturday and hanging out with people who share your political beliefs.

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