An Open Letter to Diane Berry and Rick Really:
I was disgusted after watching your TV show last week previewing the U.S. Diving Championships. You so-called experts batted around the names of numerous title contenders, and completely failed to mention John Conyers, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee! That is like covering baseball without mentioning Barry Bonds! Or dog fighting without Michael Vick!
Already this year, Conyers has pulled off one of the most difficult dives in congressional history. It was immediately recognized as one of the ten most spectacular dives ever taken, and has been replayed over and over again on ESPN.
By now everyone has seen the video clip. YouTube reports more than two million hits. Conyers poses on the diving tower when Republicans control the House, screaming for impeachment of the president and vice president. He bounces on the board, and springs into the air. He launches a petition drive where citizens can add their names to the impeachment cause, and establishes a website devoted to the administration’s crimes and the case for impeachment. He sends out e-mails to those who signed the petition, urging them to greater effort on behalf of impeachment.
Then, in a stunning upset, Democrats win control of the House of Representatives, and Conyers becomes chair of the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment proceedings are supposed to begin.
With breathtaking aplomb, he goes into a sensational back flip, announcing his decision that the committee he chairs will not take up impeachment. The audacity of this move alone would insure him a place in the Divers’ Hall of Fame!
But that was only the beginning! It is the next stage of the dive that has made this an instant classic: A group of pro-impeachment citizens who have signed Conyers’ petition, who have joined with him in his impeachment effort, and who have supported his campaign for office show up to protest his action. In a maneuver that still draws oohs and ahs, he has them arrested and hauled off to jail!
As a combination of showmanship and technical mastery, Conyers’ dive may never be equaled. Only a few divers are capable of Conyers’ contortions; none can match the betrayal at the end. That twist, with its marvelous screwing effect, is political poetry in motion.
And this is the man whom you fail to even mention in your broadcast. How can you begin to account for such a glaring omission? John Conyers has been to impeachment what Paul Wolfowitz was to Iraq—theoretician, cheerleader, advocate, and architect. He deserved the spotlight, and you left him in the darkness. You owe him and all the other divers he represents an enormous apology. I will continue to champion Mr. Conyers’ cause until he gets the recognition he so richly deserves.
© Tony Russell, 2007