Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

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There is such a thing as having too big an umbrella

I am a big believer in compromise. Through compromise a lot of importance has been accomplished, a lot of history has been saved, a lot of land has been conserved, when these outcomes would have been far less certain in a black or white world. I speak from experience as a city planner. Citizen groups, for example, have fought to keep developments from being approved, sometimes for 20 or 30 years, only to see the bulldozers finally take over. It isn't enough to get a "no". It's better to find a different path.

Sometimes that path is the creation of a group that flat-out buys the land in question and offers it to the public for preservation purposes. This is usually a difficult path economically. A less certain path is to persuade the landowner to put the land in an easement that protects it from development for a certain number of years. Sometimes the path is a compromise: let the developer develop a piece but give the more important part to the public. Forever. I have seen many compromises of this nature and am happy about them. Both the landowner and the public get something of value.

I understand, too, the value of getting along with those with whom you are not in full agreement. Sometimes this may extend to those with whom you agree on only one or two things. I was part of a group, years ago, of animal rights advocates, who met with ranchers and just talked. We did find we had interests in common and we both learned that the other was not the devil. Being inclusive has real advantages, for we often find disparate groups getting behind the same movement. In that case, the humane treatment of animals was the guiding force.

So when I saw President Obama opening his umbrella and letting in all kinds of flaky folks I think I understood the point. Some groups will back some programs and some will back others. The effort to bring them all in has clear advantages.

But the umbrella approach sometimes does us all a disservice. The recent votes on the stimulus package is a good example. The Republicans banded together, unwilling to compromise, in spite of the fact that Obama had already compromised that bill far too much in an effort to get their votes. It would have been better to go for what we really need! Sometimes we have to take a stand and do what is necessary even when we lose "friends" in the process.

Another umbrella action has been the lack of commitment to impeachment of administration officials of the last administration (yes, Bush & Cheney mainly). By saying "that's in the past. We just want to get working again," we are saying it does not matter that the previous administration broke the law again and again and by their actions thousands, hundreds of thousands, died. If Cheney had robbed a bank would we say "oh well, it's in the past. Let's move on"? I think not. Yet a bank robbery would have cost fewer lives and caused a lot less economic hardship to us all.

More, the concept that all men in this country are treated equally, that no man is above the law, has been dashed to pieces because of this absurd reasoning.

Yes, impeachment is a big deal and it can take money and time. Does a district attorney say oh well, can't go to court against that murderer because it will cost money?? Not unless there is little chance of conviction. And in that case the police will continue to search for evidence and the DA will look for a way to offer a deal to get the criminal off the streets. Impeachment means getting it on the table, doing the investigation. If it leads to conviction, fine. If not, fine too. The point is you don't let things go because "there are so many other things to do" or because you want to stay friends with those alleged criminals and their supporters.

Kucinich's Impeachment Articles, 2007

Several articles on impeachment on the site afterdowningstreet.org

Petition sponsored by The Pen, along with copies of several articles on impeachment.
Tags: obama, politics

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