North Carolinians gathered in Raleigh for a peaceful rally on December 17, 2019 to demand that Congress fulfill its constitutional duty. State Senator Erica D Smith; Gerald Givens, President Raleigh Apex NAACP; Faisal Khan, Carolina Peace Center; Rabbi Raachel Jurovics; Bob Phillips of Common Cause NC; and I spoke at the vigil as part of the nationwide “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies. These are my comments delivered that night.
The first three words in the Constitution are “We the people.” Our government exists to secure the rights of the people, and must be based on the consent of the governed – and that is us. We the people of the United States of America do not elect kings.
We do not call for impeachment and removal lightly. But this president has abused his authority, and he has not repented. We believe that he will continue to abuse his authority. The next thing he is going to abuse is the 2020 elections. He is abusing America itself and must not remain in office.
In calling for the presidents’ impeachment and removal, we submit our reasons to a candid world:
- The President has violated public trust and abused the powers of his office by holding up military aid to Ukraine until it agreed to help him influence the 2020 election by announcing an investigation into a political rival.
- He has sought to undermine the legitimacy of our government by seeking foreign interference with our elections.
- He has refused to acknowledge the checks and balances of the American Constitution. Without lawful cause or excuse, he defied subpoenas issued by the US House as it carried out its constitutional duties.
- He has defied the US Constitution with his own words, saying that neither the Courts nor the legislative branch has authority to reign in his power.
- He has become destructive to the principles of American democracy, a threat to national security, and is unfit to be the president of a free people.
- He no longer has the consent of the American people and must be impeached and removed.
Some say, “wait for elections,” but we cannot wait. The crisis is already here. The president has violated the sacred trust of the American people, and having betrayed us once is likely to do it again.
To those who say “wait for elections” – judging from the past, I wish to know what has been seen of this president to give reason to believe that he will uphold the Constitution in the future. He has repeatedly said that he does not recognize the limits of the American Constitution, he will not accept an election he does not win, he does not recognize term limits, and that he will not recognize any limits on his power.
For those who don’t support impeachment: we may not agree – but we are all Americans. If America survives this crucible as a Republic, I hope we meet again as friends.
The survival of our republic is at stake. We do not have to wonder if there are barbarians at the gate; for they are already here. Their sly whispers are heard in the very halls of government itself, making some politicians mouthpieces for their propaganda. An enemy outside is not so nearly as dangerous as an enemy in our midst, cowardly hiding their deeds with smoke and mirrors.
We have to look through the fogs of deceit, and show what is true.
This time of year, as we approach the winter solstice – the longest, darkest night – is a time when people gather together and pass on the wisdom of the ages. A time many cultures and many religions have celebrations that include a theme of light.
We are here tonight to shine a light into the dark, and reveal the truth. “We the people” must shine a light onto the injuries and usurpations done to the rule of law by this president.
We must demonstrate that we believe that our community, and our fellow Americans, are worth fighting for. Victory goes not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. That is us – we the people of these United States of America.
The president abused the authority with which “we the people” have entrusted him for his own personal benefit.
We must call our members of congress, and ask that they vote to impeach. We must call our Senators and ask that they live up to their oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.” The US Senate should vote to impeach and remove the president.
The president is not above the law.