September 14, 2009
When Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina gets harangued by his colleagues (Republican and Democrat alike) for yelling "That's a lie!" During President Obama's 38th health care speech, much of America is cheering him on—or are at least sympathetic to the legislator and the frustration that led to his outburst.
In that same spirit of profound indignation, thousands have been showing up at tea parties and town halls across the nation, creating their own passionate slogans and making impassioned speeches to legislators who can't handle the truth about health care—or anything else—because they're saturated in a culture that has made obfuscation of truth routine behavior.
For years the Senate has sworn in judicial candidates with an oath to tell the truth while—all too frequently—proceeding themselves to smear the candidate with distortions and outright lies.
While the "gentleman from Vermont" or the late Senator from Massachusetts made sport of slander and smear, the "gentlemen" on the other side of the aisle are too polite to use such terms as "liar" so that the lies stand and reputations are destroyed and Senators strut and take their pay and prestige and violate their trust with the people they have been elected to represent. But decorum is maintained.
The same thing applies in the House. Congressmen cheat on their taxes, steal taxpayer money to spend on themselves and constituents who will in turn re-elect them, and no one cries out "Liar!" "Cheat!" or "Scoundrel!" as the charade of deceit continues.
"Totally disrespectful. No place for it in that setting or in any other. He should apologize immediately," decried the Senator John McCain, who survived a presidential campaign with his "genteelness" intact … losing the election because he was unwilling to point out the danger his opponent presented to the nation. "Fight for us!" a citizen in Wisconsin cried out during the campaign to McCain who, in turn, greeted him with indignation and a phony grin, seemingly clueless to recognize that the fate of the nation was at stake. Unwilling to reveal Obama's dangerous connections, chiding others to be quiet and assuring them Obama was a "patriot," his gentility cost us more than the election.
"That's a lie!" Congressman Wilson exclaimed Wednesday night last week to a president who laid out once again the false claim that HR 3200 would not cover illegal immigrants.
The real outrage is that there was silence on the other lies Obama told. Where was the outburst when he promised his plan wouldn't cover abortion? Didn't anyone remember the Democrats rejected eight different amendments to HR 3200 protecting the unborn? Didn't anyone recall Obama's campaign speech to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, promising they would be front and center in his new health care plan and that "family planning" (abortion rights) would be at the heart of it all. "No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions," claimed Obama in his health care speech. "That's a lie!" Someone should have shouted. Why didn't they? It was the only opportunity for many observers to have heard the truth.
"The plan will not add to our deficit," Obama proclaimed. "That's a lie!" lots of Congressmen should have shouted, knowing the Congressional Budget Office estimated the short term cost at one trillion dollars. The Democrats openly admit they don't know how to pay for this bill and Massachusetts, on whose state-run health care plan the current one is fashioned, is costing 18 times what experts had predicted.
"I won't stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what's in this plan, we will call you out!" warned Obama.
Fair enough. And if that's the case, we ought to do the same for you, Mr. President.
Joe Wilson just did and even if you and his genteel comrades intimidate him into silence, it won't do for the rest of us.
In all due respect, Congressman Joe Wilson was right. President Obama was lying.
Joe was right, agreed some, but it just wasn't the right setting. It was embarrassing. "It makes us look bad," said others.
If the chamber of the Congress of the United States of America isn't the right place to fight for the future of the Republic, then where is that place? Consider the British Parliament—or the Canadian—where they fight it out regularly in their sessions. They get angry and shout because they actually care.
I wonder if the Founding Fathers would have shared Senator McCain's sense of outrage? I don't know if they called King George a liar, but they called him a tyrant, several times—in the Declaration of Independence. The King of England (and, at that point, America) a tyrant. Pretty strong words, spoken and declared in writing one by one within those sacred chambers.
Strong words emanate from strong convictions. Oh, for the passion of the Founding Fathers to sweep across the Congress. And if the current Congress is so offended by honest concern and passion, perhaps 57 percent of the people are right, let's replace them all and fill the chambers with those willing to fight to preserve the nation—representatives less concerned about their political futures and reputations and more concerned about the future of the country.