Tag Archives: Rep. Joe Wilson

Is Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” Worth a Reprimand?

Before this day is done, we’ll know if the House of Representatives cares as much about decorum as the US Tennis Association.

Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress is the issue at hand. Wilson apologized, just like Serena Williams did for her outburst at the US Open. Question is, are apologies good enough?

serenawilliams

House Democrats apparently don’t think so, at least not some of them. Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement last Thursday that it was time to move on, there are those who think stronger action is needed. Wilson’s colleague from South Carolina, Rep. Jim Clyburn is one of them. He believes that Wilson’s outburst is part of a larger agenda. That is, to delegitimize Obama as President.

JoeWilson.youlie

The congressman has a point. After all, if you can shout at a president during a speech, doesn’t that legitimize the tea parties, the birthers, the people who call Obama a Nazi?

Wasn’t Joe Wilson speaking for them? In less than a week since Wilson’s outburst, “You Lie!” t-shirts are turning up. Right wing gasbags on television and radio have turned handstands trying to kiss up to this guy.

Why? Because, like the fake controversy over Obama’s speech to school kids, Joe Wilson is the wind beneath the right’s wings. Whether he apologizes on the house floor is irrelevant to them. He’s the poster boy for all they believe about this President. Most of them wouldn’t agree with Barack Obama if he was giving the Congressional Medal of Freedom to their mama. By way of nuance, I don’t agree with everything Barack Obama does or says. Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s recent trip to New York City reminded me that his position on health care reform is a lot closer to mine than the President’s is. Ramping up troop strength in Afghanistan isn’t what I’d do if I were in his shoes. I could go on, but here’s the important part. I respect the office of the President of the United States. I did when GW Bush held it, and I do now.

The Joe Wilsons of the world apparently do not. Not at least when someone they disagree with is the most powerful person in the world. Wilson himself says one apology is enough, and that he won’t apologize a second time on the House floor. For that, a resolution of disapproval is certainly in order.

Hey, congressman, you said it in front of your colleagues, now say sorry in front of the same group. As they say in the Bronx, “Act like ya got some respect!”

What do you think? Should the House pass a resolution of disapproval against Joe Wilson?

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Hating on Obama- Is it Racial?

One thing is for sure. You’ll never hear President Obama himself say so.

For him to do so would simply feed a frenzied media cycle that would last at least a week. “Obama Plays the Race Card,” the headlines would scream. Yet more and more black folks I talk to are starting to believe a good deal of the opposition to this President is based on the inability of some Americans to get used to a black man in the White House.

People will point to everything from Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” during Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress, to likening him to Hitler, to that oft repeated phrase “I want my country back”.

Rep. Joe Wilson
Rep. Joe Wilson

And they have a point. Of course, no one who makes these statements would admit to hating black people. They say they’re judging Obama on his merits (or lack of same).

Still, their language, and the slavish devotion to the agendas of the Glenn Becks of the world give some people pause.

glenn-beck

What’s troubling is more black folks want Obama to call out his opponents for their perceived racism. In fact, some are taking him to task for not doing so. And these are not “militant nationalists”, who often get dismissed even inside the black community. No, these are the people in the barber shops, the hair salons, and yes, some folks in the political establishment as well.

However, consider the impact if the President did speak out and call out some of his opposition on racism.

Here in New York, Gov. David Paterson, in a radio interview, hinted that some of the media coverage of his tenure was tinged with racism. The media had a field day. There were more stories using the media’s favorite crutch words, the “race card” than had been written in a year.

All this speaks to the central role race still plays in American political discourse. The election of Barack Obama, post racial though it may have seemed, didn’t change that. President Obama knows this. That’s why his references to race are usually talking to black people about responsibility rather than the nation as a whole about dealing with race prejudice.

Those who want him to strike out at the Joe Wilsons, the Glenn Becks, the Jim DeMints of the world are bound to be disappointed.

jim_demint
Jim DeMint

Justified or not, it’s not going to happen. That leaves a stark choice for black America. Should we do that heavy lifting for the President? Or should we — of all races — simply keep discussing it among ourselves?

You tell me.

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