Nancy Pelosi thanked her host, American Jewish University, proclaimed her support for Israel as a Jewish state, and then talked about the importance of women owning their power – this from the woman who upon assuming her role as Speaker of the House declared impeachment off the table, thus immediately surrendering her power to hold the Bush administration accountable for war crimes.
Midway through Pelosi’s somewhat surreal Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters book chat in Los Angeles, Peter Thottam — founder of the LA Impeachment Center — couldn’t take the small talk and platitudes anymore.
Jumping up, a few seats back from the stage, Thottam shouted, “Who gave you the right to destroy the Constitution and take impeachment off the table? Our First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Constitutional Amendments are being annihilated. 1 million Iraqis are dead. 5,000 Americans, including Cindy Sheehan’s son. We’ve spent over $1 trillion taxpayer dollars on a war that should never have been started. Our constitution is being destroyed, Nancy. Bring back our Constitution… Bring it back …”
Security moved in on Peter, took him away, arrested him and threw him in jail for the night.
Peter Thottam said later that the police officers were sympathetic and agreed about the role of big money in Congress. They agreed that Pelosi and these reps are just tools.
Seconds after Peter’s challenge, I shot up, two rows back from the stage, smack dab in the center of the audience, asking, “Nancy, were you fully briefed on torture? Were you briefed on torture?”
Then came Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, holding out a copy of the US Constitution, offering it to Pelosi, just in case she missed the repeated mentions of impeachment as a remedy for abuse of power.
Security moved in on Jodie, too, whisking her out of the auditorium at American Jewish University, high atop Sepulveda, just past the 50 protestors who came to greet Pelosi with Impeachment is on Our Table and Out of Iraq Now! and No Attack on Iran! signs and banners.
During Pelosi’s entire book talk, some of us — Sara Nichols, Jodie Evans, Linda Milazzo (shown here), Tighe Barry and I – held up our Nancy books with messages we scrawled in big black letters on the inside cover: “Protect Iran,” “Honor Your Oath,” Impeach!” Hold Bolton and Rove in Contempt,” “Nancy, Torture? Torture? Torture?,” and more about specific articles of the Constitution which called for impeachment. Security personnel whispered, watched us, seemingly unsure of how to respond to this act of subtle, yet distracting resistance.
At one point during her talk, Pelosi, visibly nervous, looked right at us, those of us sitting two rows back, front and center, and told us, almost apologetically, “I was an activist too, I am a progressive, I want the war to end, too. I want to get out of Iraq,” and then, “We need to move our troops into Afghanistan, not Iraq.”
When Pelosi finished, no questions taken, no dialogue allowed, several of us shouted at her, “Use your power, Nancy, to impeach these war criminals. Use your power! Do not be complicit!”
Meanwhile, PDLA Cochair Michael Jay reports that activists from PDLA, Code Pink, The National Impeachment Network, Neighbors for Peace and Justice, and several other groups implemented the Outside strategy, ringing Mulholland Drive and several approaches to last night’s event, beginning long before its start time.
Shadowed by an unusually large police presence and infiltrated by extremely clean-cut fellows claiming to be local “film makers,” activists persevered through the entire book signing with the goal of getting their message in front of the Speaker: The night shot here shows the huge “Impeachment is on OUR table!” banner just moments before Pelosi’s limo was obliged to exit right past it.
by Marcy Winograd
Photos by Linda Sutton, Vice-Chair of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
Marcy Winograd is President of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles and an Executive Board representative to the California Democratic Party.
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