CARRBORO, N.C. - A local group trying to temporarily change Carrboro's nickname may get a boost today when activist Cindy Sheehan comes to town.
The 100-member Grassroots Impeachment Movement, (GRIM), wants the town to replace "Paris of the Piedmont" with "The Cradle of Impeachment" until the 2008 presidential election. Members will be selling T-shirts at Weaver Street Market at noon, when Sheehan will have lunch with Mayor Mark Chilton.
"Carrboro is where the impeachment movement started in North Carolina and maybe in the South," said civil rights lawyer Al McSurely, who co-founded the group with John Heuer, Wes Hare and members of the Orange County Peace Coalition.
Sheehan, best-known for camping outside President Bush's ranch following the death of her son in Iraq, is on her way to Washington. Last week, she announced she will run against Nancy Pelosi next year if the House Speaker doesn't move to impeach Bush by Monday, the day she should reach Washington.
GRIM has been working to have President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney impeached since the discovery of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of American citizens in late 2005.
Changing the town's nickname would bring the impeachment movement "into a higher profile with greater focus," Heuer said.
"Right now, the Democratic congressional leadership is stuck with a kind of septic pessimism," he said.
State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, who was mayor when Carrboro adopted "Paris of the Piedmont," laughed when told about the campaign for a new moniker.
"I think impeachment is something that is much too serious for a quick quote or a quick nickname," she said.
Erik Engstrom, an assistant professor of political science at UNC-Chapel Hill, said he would be shocked if the calls for impeachment went anywhere.
"It's just such a time-consuming and dramatic step that could eventually backfire on the (Democratic) Party very easily," he said.
But Heuer said the name could at least add humor to a tense issue. "Every movement needs some relief," he said.