Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Council has no business but the city's business

Tuesday night, May 29, Ferndale's city council discussed then approved a resolution impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I hope to find a link to the resolution's introduction and the resolution itself--both read by Councilman Galloway.

The resolution is filled with specious arguments and unsubstantiated allegations. But mostly it is a declaration of Dixie Chick Syndrome. Unconvinced our purpose in Iraq is noble, signers claim to be ashamed of our president and their citizenship--as if America had never come to another country's defense at risk to our own, fed another country's starving, or rebuilt another country's devastated infrastructure after either natural or man-made disasters. The signers blame President Bush for their extreme sense of shame at being American rather than their sense of guilt for arrogantly believing Americans are uniquely deserving of liberty but Iraqis are not.

Mayor Porter reiterated multiple times (before voting in favor of the resolution) that it had nothing to do with the Iraq war but instead on alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. That's like saying Osama Bin Laden is wanted not for killing thousands of people on American soil and terrorism, but for inciting airplane passengers to unbuckle their seat belts while the light was on or smoking in the restroom.

There's many things wrong with the resolution and I haven't time now to get into them--especially without access to the resolution's text. But even without the document itself and knowing only that the resolution would be voted on last night, I delivered this short speech to council:

What is objectionable about this item isn't how each of you may cast your vote, but instead that you would consider voting at all.

Regardless how you vote this resolution is not an act of substance, it is an act of symbolism. In as high regard as you may hold yourselves as councilpersons the city council is unqualified to pass this resolution. You were elected and have been given power by the people of Ferndale to address the business of the people of Ferndale. Resolutions to impeach any elected federal, state, or even county officer is not yours. It belongs to us--the citizens. Your decision tonight has no affect. You have no standing. It is empty. It has no weight. It is hollow. Ferndale citizens deserve substance from their council, not symbolism.

Yours will not be an act of bravery, but of cowardice. With neither standing or affect, you have no responsibility for this action. No accountability. Without either responsibility or accountability you've no risk. Actions taken without risk are not the qualities of leaders. They are the attributes of followers. And who might you be following? The Detroit City Council who passed a similar resolution early this month? I think this council can find better role models than those whose dereliction of office is second in priority only to their self-enrichment at taxpayer expense. As elected representatives of this city you owe Ferndale citizens leadership, and ought not hide behind or follow bad examples.

Finally, considering this resolution will not be a measure of your character but one of your self indulgence. Without meaning, affect, or accountability this resolution serves only to stroke your sense of moral superiority over those you pretend to pass judgment on. There's a word that describes the act of pleasing yourself that shouldn't be used on family television, but nonetheless describes the sense self gratification entertaining this resolution may arouse. Council serves at the citizens' pleasure, not its own.

This council was elected to represent Ferndale citizens in Ferndale matters. We've elected senators and congressmen to represent us in federal matters. Pretending to wear their mantel mocks them, it mocks the office of city councilperson, and it mocks the citizens that thoughtfully elected each.

I encourage all of you to fulfill your responsibilities as Ferndale councilpersons, demonstrate your sense of propriety, and reject consideration of this resolution.

Thank you.


  1. Tom,

    You have to realize that this is how politics work in this country. It's easy to latch onto something that the public is in favor of and then "vote" on it to show you're in favor of it as well. Then the people think you really are working for them.

    The Detroit City Council voted on it because Councilwoman Monica Conyers' husband (Congressman John Conyers) is taking it on as an issue and she brought up the resolution. Funny thing though, supposedly Monica was unable to vote for her own resolution because she is in Hawaii for a national pension conference

    PS - There are two issues that different groups are sponsoring to for the impeachment efforts: 1) illegal wiretapping/eavesdropping and 2) the "reasons" for the war in Iraq.

  2. I am so proud to call you my brother-in-law. Actually, I always am but now I'm even prouder.

  3. There are two issues that different groups are sponsoring to for the impeachment efforts: 1) illegal wiretapping/eavesdropping and 2) the "reasons" for the war in Iraq.

    If those were the only items mentioned last night, and the language not otherwise filled with prejudice and specious arguments, then the motives of the signers to the resolution might be more credible.

    It's also worth noting the resolution was the last item on council's agenda and it wasn't introduced until 9:30PM. I would think council persons proud of what they were about to do would make sure this item was introduced earlier in the evening when more people may have been in attendence and more people perhaps still watching on cable. I would also have thought if they were proud of their actions they would have made sure a reporter was there and that the resolution would have been advertised so that even more people may have been in attendance to watch their supposedly brave actions.

    Alas, none of this was the case. They may speak with bravado about their concern for the country but their maneuverings are cowardly.

  4. Message to Ferndale City Council:

    I find your Presidential Impeachment Resolution to be disturbing with its obvious political pandering for personal gain.

    It's distracting, meaningless, a waste of time and makes me question the integrity and humbleness of the council.

    You work for the citizens of Ferndale, and it's discouraging to find our employees championing personal projects and interests on company time.

    I would expect better judgement from our council before speaking for an entire city about national matters, priorities and allegiances. If you're committed to impeaching the President, you need to find an appropriate channel and not waste Ferndale's time and resources on futile endeavors.

    You should be embarrassed. I am.


    Send them a comment...

  5. The city's website has a link to the resolution from their Government page. If you want to skip the embarrassment of seeing the resolution's link text you can read it here.