Most people are content to mutter and complain as they wait out the final years of the Bush regime. Not John Nirenberg, a 60-year-old professor of organizational behavior from Brattleboro, Vermont, who says, “Justice can’t wait.” Nirenberg is walking 485 miles from Boston to Washington, DC, carrying a yellow sign that reads: “Save the Constitution Impeach Bush/Cheney.”
Nirenberg spent December 5, 6, and 7 in Rhode Island, marching along Route 1 from Pawtucket to Westerly. He walks alone, but is often joined by one or more like-minded pedestrians, usually local impeachment or peace activists, who trek a few miles (or more) with him. Nirenberg is documenting the trip at marchinmyname.org.
Last Thursday, I walked two chilly miles of Route 1 (the stretch where Warwick meets East Greenwich) with Nirenberg and David Floyd, a member of the South Kingstown Justice & Peace Action Group. Nirenberg’s supporters are passionate, but hardly constitute a traffic-disrupting throng. “I’m hoping he’s flanked by several hundred going into the Congressional Building and Nancy Pelosi’s office,” said Floyd, looking ahead.
During the course of our 40 minutes together, a couple of cars honked and a leaf blower-wielding man waved, but that was about it for spontaneous displays of support for impeachment. The road can be a lonely place for the bespectacled, mustachioed Nirenberg, but he remains undaunted.
“When people come out to march with me,” he says, “it indicates many more are out there.” You get the feeling, however, that regardless of how many people join him, visit his Web site, or pick up the impeachment baton in general, Nirenberg would do it anyway.
He simply cannot accept how, despite the Bush administration’s numerous violations of the Constitution, the Democrats are not pressing impeachment. Nirenberg argues that violating the Constitution is much more than bad governance, and should be treated accordingly. “Nancy Pelosi is Chamberlain,” he asserts.
Moreover, Nirenberg believes that the public at large is taking its cue from the Democrats, and that this explains the ho-hum support that impeachment has generated, even from those bitterly opposed to the Bush regime.
“I’m not expecting everyone to do this,” says Nirenberg of his trek (which started on December 3 at Faneuil Hall and should wind up in DC sometime in January), “but before dinner, call Nancy Pelosi.”
Winter is an odd time to walk the Northeast Corridor, but Nirenberg says now was the earliest time he could manage, and he felt he simply had to do it.
He describes the very physicality of walking from place to place as “empowering,” and believes that despite the utility of the Internet as an organizational tool, it’s beginning to lose its luster, since it can isolate people rather than bringing them together.
The march is also a long haul, and David Floyd says he is attracted to it for that reason. According to Floyd, peace demonstrations are typically held on weekends and even when highly successful, “everyone goes home and nothing changes.”
Nirenberg is at it day after day, mile after mile, trying to get citizens, the media and legislators passionate about a cause that he says represents the very fabric of the country.
: This Just In
, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Lehnert, David Floyd