09 September 2009

Boorish Behavior in the House

Tonight while President Obama was giving his health care speech, we witnessed something truly appalling. When Obama got to the place where he declared that his health care reform policy did not provide for health care for illegal aliens, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted, “You lie.” I don’t recall any other president being heckled that way during an address to Congress. Even at his lowest ebb, no one treated George W. Bush that way. Even Bill Clinton at the worst of his tenure was not heckled and insulted like this.

I have been trying to get on www.joewilson.house.gov with no success. Apparently, there are a couple of other folks who are outraged by the representative’s behavior. The intemperate representative quickly issued an apology, saying that “I let my emotions get the best of me…” Sorry, Joe, but that’s not good enough. Barak Obama is our president. He is President of the United States of America. His office and his person demand our respect, regardless of whether we agree with him on policy points or not. An insult to the president is an insult to us all, regardless of our politics or affiliations. I would suggest that Rep. Wilson resign since he is obviously incompetent to hold the office of a United States Representative.

Our culture and society depend upon respect for our traditions and institutions. There is a basic level of respect and civility that we extend to our institutions and representatives, not because of the personalities involved, but because we have recognized that these institutions of society and government are necessary and valuable. I’m not terribly wild about Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor. I think she’s a racist and sexist, but by golly, she’s also a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and I’m going to treat the lady with respect regardless of whether I like her positions or not.

When our elected leaders fail to model the respect and decorum required by the institutions of our society, how can we possibly hope to solve the difficult problems facing us? Representative Joe Wilson has brought shame on his party and his state. His behavior was uncivilized to the extent of being barbaric. We can only hope that in the next election, South Carolina will produce a better quality of representation.

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2 comments:

Julie Schuler said...

agreed.

Michelle "Rusty" Cate said...

Oddly enough yelling things about lies and breaking decorum is a "tradition" with South Carolinian Senators and Representatives alike...

http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senate_Fistfight.htm

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