Sep 11, 2009
Joe "You Lie" Wilson (R-South Cackalacky)
Respect. A novel concept these days, at least as it pertains to the President. Or perhaps lack of respect would be more appropriate. When South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson--a former staffer for the late senator and Dixiecrat Presidential candidate Strom Thurmond and a man who voted to continue flying the Confederate flag in his home state--uttered his disrespectful outburst during President Obama's recent address it was but the latest in a series of acts purposely designed to undermine every aspect of authority that comes with the highest political office in the land.
We should not be surprised though. The momentum has been building up for this all summer. I'm certain that there is more to come. Yes indeed, the haters all got the same memo. It's on! Disrespect the President at every turn. In spite of his authority, in spite of showing class or exhibiting decorum, it's on. Act like he's not the President, even though he is. Come up with every possible diss that you can think of. Question his citizenship, his political affiliation, his motives, his true religion, and his very being. Call him a hater of white people, even though he was raised by white people. Call him a socialist even though he is bending over backwards to show you that he is really just a remixed Reagan Democrat. That's right, do everything possible to ignore the fact that the majority of voters last November elected him to the office of President. And in all your efforts don't forget what Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger Taney said during the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857, that a black person has "no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
Again there is nothing necessarily surprising about this. When the grass is cut the snakes will show. As population and demographic changes point to a new day in America, rest assured that the old guard won't go away without a fight. The haters are emboldened. And now they smell blood. That's right, to paraphrase Jay-Z, the haters wanna test you when your gun goes warm!
That being said, respect is something that one must demand, not assume or expect. If people think they can disrespect you and get away with it, they will. I have grown real tired now of waiting for the President to respond in kind to his many disrespectful critics. At this point his overly conciliatory response to such disrespect is becoming as frustrating as the disrespect itself.
What kind of leader allows someone to call him a "lie" and then turns around and thanks the offending party for offering a forced, insincere apology? Sir, you are disrespecting yourself with this naive, nice guy act. There is a time for bipartisanship and a time to stand up for yourself on "GP," as they say. We elected Barack Obama to the presidency on a platform of hope and change, yet it's starting to look like we elected Rodney King and the "can't we all get along" campaign.
I have tried to give this man the benefit of the doubt, but the grace period is over. I cannot stand to watch these people diss the President and then watch him repeatedly absolve them of their crimes, however egregious. What next, is Joe Wilson going to get an invitation to the White House to have a beer?
If a Democratic congressman from an urban city--as opposed to a Republican congressman from the rural south--had yelled out that GWB was lying during a joint session of congress, though the urban congressman would have been telling the truth, he might have been charged with treason, sent to Gitmo, been waterboarded, and eventually forgotten about. There would be no acceptance of an apology because Dude would have been cuffed before the words were out of his mouth. He would have never had a chance to apologize.
The tactics that the haters have used to disrespect the President are deplorable. Post-racial my ass! But until Mr. President stands up for himself and his party by directly confronting this vile rhetoric then it will only continue to gain steam. At this point, it's fair game on Obama. As Charles Dutton famously said in Menace II Society, "the hunt is on and the black man is the prey!" While Obama's election has served to expose some of the latent racism still vibrant in this country, his lack of a proper response is serving to enable its malicious spread.
Yes, we know you're a nice guy by now. We know that you don't like partisan bickering. We know that you favor a level headed approach to problem solving. But there comes a time when it is necessary to put people in check. There is a time when in spite of the political argument of the day that one must demand respect. That time is now. And that's not partisan, that's real!