Sooo, various towns in Vermont are voting to impeach Bush. In Putney it was unanimous. I haven’t read the resolutions, but I assume they are polite wordings of the “lied to get us into an illegal war” accusation. If they really got rolling, I imagine the spying on civilians and torturing prisoners ideas got in there as well.
These resolutions have no force, as everyone, including these various townspeople, knows. These amount to much less than a non-binding resolution of the Senate. But people feel unheard, so they go where they can to make a statement, like grafitti artists. Just because these resolutions can’t make anyone do anything, they do give the satisfaction of having made a statement. People sometimes like to declare to the world, or to their posterity, “Yes these things happened, but I didn’t agree.” I think I understand the motivation.
There are other things happening beneath the surface, however. I would note first that the idea that the Bush opposition has not been heard is preposterous. It is embarrassing, in fact, to imagine having to point that out to a usually-rational friend. The debate about Iraq takes place every day, dominating the news. I think people are fairly well-aware that the Democrats are angry, angry with Bush, with the War in Iraq as a primary focus of that. Anyone who feels that they are not being heard is not absorbing some very obvious data. Their feeling must come from something other than the facts in hand.
What they are upset about, then, is that the country is not doing what they want. There is a belief that we are doing what some other people want. That we might not be doing quite what anyone wanted, but hammered out a consensus, seems not to enter the equation for them. It’s an us-them, and they feel they have been robbed.
I am trying to see how this is different from a child’s perception of the world, and I’m not coming up with anything but better vocabulary as a divider. Children believe that if you are not doing what they want, you must not have listened. They find it impossible to imagine that you could understand their point of view and not agree. Personality disorders, BTW, have a similar organization of reality. If you really listened, you would have to agree.
This making a statement to distance yourself from the president, or the administration, or American culture, has become quite common in the 21st C. From the “Not In Our Name” campaign to the Dixie Chicks, there has been this run on Americans going out of their way to secede from the Union. They wash their hands of this enterprise by the other Americans. They apologize to “the world” for the actions of their countrymen.
I doubt that this is brand new, but I can’t think of earlier examples. Perhaps Vietnam protest had some of this, but I can’t come up with any. Nor can I think of examples of this happening in other countries. Someone in the UK has likely done it, for much the same reasons as their American counterparts. That, I would count as the same example, not a separate example.
Do what we say or we’ll publicly disown you. It seems an odd contradiction among a people who stress our common lot in other areas. We are to care about pollution, and poverty, and education, because they “affect us all.”