Though it’s old news now, I thought I’d mention it anyway. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina got himself into hot water last night by being a turd. His outburst was uncalled for, and totally based on falsehoods as far as I can tell. I have been getting more and more frustrated with the lack of respect for the office of the President as of late. More recently, with the decision of school districts to restrict or even ban students from seeing a benign speech by Pres. Obama, I’ve wondered what is the driving force behind this progressive decay of respect for the government, and especially the president. I’m sure it is a very complicated issue, but I think the two main causes lie in a total fractionation in ideology among the two parties. With the onset of the so-called ‘neo-conservative’, and I believe a very intentional effort by those like Karl Rove, we are a nation – and thus congress divided, at odds with each other on the most basic level. I also hate to think it, but I am wondering if this apparent change in respect has anything to do with race. Maybe all of these things were present in the last administration, but it seems less so then than now. This morning I found myself asking, where did it all go? I remember in school, we took our national image seriously, perhaps through indoctrination, but in some ways genuinely. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning. Do they still do that? We had mock elections, and even debates. We were actually excited to come to age and vote (at least I was). Now, as the current administration seriously tries and push a reform that requires the American citizen to care about our vulnerables and under-represented citizens – neighbors, to the point of actually committing resources, a lot of people are barking. Why? Aren’t the two purposes of government to provide security, and public order? Health coverage is security.
As you might have guessed, I was appalled last night, so much so that I wrote a letter to Rep. Wilson, and I encourage you to do the same. Here is mine if you want a little reading:
Hon. Representative Joe Wilson:
Your actions in last night’s presidential address to Congress about Health Care reform are unacceptable. You have disrespected the highest office in the land, disobeyed decorum in the House, and worst of all hurt our national image. You should be ashamed.
I sense a deepening trend amongst Pres. Obama’s opponents recently, of which you are an exemplary case study. The outward respect for the office of the president is dwindling amongst you all. It does not matter who is in the office, but that they are the president. The office deserves the highest respect, regardless of political stance or personal opinion. Your direct slander of the president in a formal setting such as last night indicates that you lack the civility to control your emotions and your tongue. Thus, if I were a resident of South Carolina, I would be forced to question whether or not you are capable of properly representing your constituency in a fair, ethical, and just manner. Perhaps you will discover this in the next election?
Regarding the content of your outburst, I do not see from where you are deriving these non-truths. Please enlighten me. A cursory search on my part as an ordinary citizen indicates the following regarding H.R. 3200 and providing care to illegal immigrants (quotes from H.R. 3200 http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3200ih.txt.pdf):
- SEC. 152, pp 50 does mention that, “health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.” This is a non-discrimination clause, and to my understanding says nothing explicit about illegal immigrants.
- Furthermore, exclusion of illegal aliens is explicitly stated on pp. 143: “SEC 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS. Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
Thus, unless there is an undisclosed, secret section stating something to the contrary, I do not see how H.R. 3200 would give care to illegal immigrants. As far as I can discern, Rep. Wilson, you are the liar in this case. In my opinion, your strong desire to see this bill fail regardless of cost is the reason you are perpetrating these lies and misinformation.
In closing, I am personally disgusted by your actions last night, and by your intentional efforts to spread falsehoods and misinformation, in order that you might get your way. A truly honorable person would choose more appropriate means of ethical persuasion and debate. You sir, have tarnished your name, the image of your state, and our national image.
Frank L. Engel