Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 102 in 1999.
On-line Movement in Response to Senate Impeachment Trial
The current impeachment trial in the Senate has spurred a new grassroots movement by the people to make a strong statement in the 2000 elections, which includes a new president, all new House members and a third of the Senate. Both lefties and righties are taking action to make sure that their respective parties will command power after the election dust has settled. The end result may be a stronger showing from an independent candidate.
One of the ways that people have taken back their ability to be heard has been the use of the Internet. By utilizing e-mail, chat rooms and web sites, the political activists have found an instant medium for gathering the troops.
The anonymity of cyberspace gives people a way to voice their opinions, make a statement, or even make a contribution, without having to seek out bureaucratic channels to do so.
Wes Boyd and Joan Blades, two San Diego based software developers, recently launched their MoveOn web site as a means of forging an anti-impeachment petition. Since September, when the site went on-line, the list has grown to 470,000 names. The site has also grown and now includes the option for visitors to also make a campaign contribution pledge for candidates who are against impeachment. The pledge campaign has been taken up by more than 5000 volunteers. Click the icon to the right to visit their site.
It remains to be seen what kind of effect this will have on the 2000 elections. The Christian Coalition, one of the most influential lobby groups in Washington, has reported that their 1.9 million membership in 1997 has already increased by 200,000 in the last 15 months. The annual Conservative Political Action Conference took place in Virginia in January and attracted a record number of registrants. Meanwhile Democrat supporters are taking steps to regain control of the House.
With all of the current outrage against the partisan impeachment attacks and the negative campaigning of the last election, coupled with the new found electronic means of gathering momentum, perhaps the time is ripe for a third party to step up to the plate.
Letter to Evergreen
What one Evergreen reader thinks of the current impeachment trial...
"What I could add to the story. It is like the distance between what those pusbags are saying on the Senate floor and the glossy bio's their staffs put out for them. There is the fleshy side to reality, which our prudish culture likes to gloss over and the right wing likes to pretend doesn't really exist accept for other people who are weak and corrupt. Blindly, they march the rest of us on, or so it seems. God, the TV surely got me down. What can we do? We seem absent. Where is the great "halt" scream? Give me a clue as to what we should be doing. Larry Flint, can't we have a series of clever ads showing these hypocrites truly as they are in their own naked selves?"
Gail McFarland Benedict
Oak Hill, New York