Jim Lindsley had a large message to get across: "Impeachment Restores World Respect For USA And Inspires World Help For Iraq Which Allows Troops Home."
To get it all in, he needed a large sign. So Lindsley spent a couple of days fashioning a holder out of PVC pipe that he wears like a backpack with the message soaring over his head. It's so big that when the wind picked up Monday at the corner of West Main and Gregson streets in Durham, as he stood among more than 100 people at a sunset vigil marking the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he had to take it off for fear of blowing over. But even standing upright on the ground, his message got across.
Lindsley is not a firebrand activist. He's a 60-year-old man with a small business waterproofing houses. Though he had misgivings, he didn't get out and protest before the start of the war. He has a job and a family and not much time. But now, he says, he can't remain silent. He believes the calculated deceptions President Bush used to take us to war are impeachable offenses, and that the only way for the U.S. to get out of Iraq is with international support, and that we won't get any international support until ... well, you can read the sign.
"By getting rid of Bush, we would show the world that we have remorse," he says.
He's doing what he can. He's protesting and he's writing letters to David Price, his congressman. But there seems to be a disconnect developing—as more and more people are against Bush and the war (59 percent of Americans now say they support Democratic efforts to have us out of Iraq by late 2008), the push for withdrawal seems to be grinding down. After the sea-change of the 2006 elections got the ball rolling, we're becoming resigned to a drip-drip-drip political process even though we (almost) all recognize Iraq is a failed mission that, every day, is costing more lives, destabilizing the region, breeding terrorism, destroying Iraq and sapping American resources that are desperately needed elsewhere.
Monday's vigil was organized by Jonathan Blackwell, a volunteer with MoveOn.org. Thousands of people are still connected by MoveOn, which first made its influence felt in the 2000 campaign and has been helping people get involved in campaigns ever since. MoveOn is tracking calls to members of Congress from people opposing escalation and offering petitions calling for Congress to push for withdrawal. Like Jim, we need to step up and flood Congress with demands to speed withdrawal. Like Jim, we can't allow ourselves to be blown over.