Thursday, September 10, 2009
This started as a facebook status update and is morphing into a blog post. I try to keep my facebook postings as non-controversial as possible, in an attempt to avoid potentially offending people. You know, like people I built toothpick bridges with in elementary school, or randomly met at Jewish pub crawls. You don't always get into deep ideological discussions in situations like those, so I like to keep my FB postings pretty light and easygoing--YKWIM?
This blog on the other hand, has always been intended as a place for me to say what I want, when I want--so let's get to it, shall we?
Last night, President Obama gave a speech before both houses of Congress about health care reform. During the speech, one of the people in the audience yelled out, "You lie!" as the President was making a point. Today, that outburst is being framed by the mainstream media as a sign of how contentious the health care debate has gotten; evidence of the deep political divisions that exist between the parties. I see this as a sign of something very different, and it bothers me that I'm not hearing my interpretation of the events expressed/discussed more.
I think everyone agrees that what Rep. Joe Wilson (a 62-year-old white male, born and raised in South Carolina,) said to President Obama ( a 48-year-old black male (allegedly) born in Hawaii,) was inappropriate. Disrespectful? Fewer people would agree with this, but props to John McCain for characterizing Wilson's behavior as such.
What we don't agree on, is what compelled Wilson to say such a thing. What made him think it would be okay to say, "You lie!" on live television, in front of a global audience, at a work function, to the President of the United States of America. Now, Obama is not Wilson's boss, but one of them has a plane and the nuclear codes. The other has to eat in a cafeteria.
Now, Wilson characterized the incident as a "spontaneous" event where his emotions got the best of him. If it was so spontaneous, why do we hear someone (who sounds to me a lot like Joe Wilson,) yell something else out, a few seconds before the soundbite that has become so popular? Listen below at the 1:18 mark
Also, why is it that in the 43 presidents that we've had previously, no one has ever felt compelled to yell statements that question the integrity of the Commander in Chief in the past? The Civil War, The Great Depression, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica Lewinsky, Iraq--all these extremely controversial events in our history, and none of the thousands upon thousands of congresspersons has ever yelled, "Go suck an egg, Hoover!" or "We're bout to impeach your ass, Clinton!" So peculiar...
And finally, what was the statement in that got Mr. Wilson so riled up--so out of control that he's just gotta start yelling? Oh that's right, brown people without work papers getting free health care.
"Killing grandma, I'll let you say that's not true Obama, but free care for illegals? That is where I've got to draw the line." If you're wondering why he calls them "illegals" instead of illegal immigrants: Representative Wilson is a very busy man, he can't be bothered with the extra energy it takes to add a noun to his not-even-a-word adjective. And don't even bother telling him about the term "undocumented workers,"--that would imply that they work and pay taxes.
So, my husband says that sometimes when I make my blog posts, I beat around the bush and avoid saying what I mean. I think this is true at times, because I am trying to stimulate thought and discussion amongst my readers. This is not one of those times.
Joe Wilson said what he said to the person he said it to, because he is pissed off that a black man is president. He can't believe that some black guy is trying to tell him what to do. He has never really had to treat a black man with respect at any point in his life before--why should he start now? Sure he's in the hallowed halls of Congress--but somebody has got to put this uppity negro in his place!
Strong words? Yes.
Am I in Joe Wilson's head? No.
Do you agree with my analysis? Probably not.
Do I care? Can't say that I do.
Damn...that felt good.