Tuesday, September 15, 2009

OK, enough is enough!

Well, I, for one, am getting a little tired of the ongoing saga of all the outrage over Rep Joe Wilson’s “You lie” outburst last week. As you can read in the story here, Wilson has just been officially rebuked by the House of Representatives for his breach of decorum and, mainly, for his refusal to apologize on the House floor.

This whole circus, in the meantime, is inspiring a lot of sanctimonious ruminations about the state of American culture and just how much of a “coarsening” of the culture is going on. Others still – Democratic others, to be sure – are shaking their dismayed heads over the Wilson outburst being just another example of how ugly and dangerous the debate over health care is turning into. This is just one more example, they say, after the nasty and loud “town hall” screaming matches going on all across the country about health care.

It’s about time – especially for the Congressional Democrats – to get over it and put a cork in all the righteous outrage over a coarse culture and the disappearing decorum.

Was Wilson out of line yelling at the president the way he did? Yes.

Should he have apologized to Obama? Sure.

Which he did and now it’s time to move on. Congress has much more important things it should be troubling itself with than the lack of decorum. As I recall, by the way, it wasn’t entirely civil and proper to start booing George W. Bush during a State of the Union address either. And other than decorum, I think a major problem this country could possibly be facing is that enormous deficit our grandkids will be paying off. That’s something to get worked up and worried about, not Wilson’s refusal to apologize yet again.

And let’s also stop romanticizing a past of perfect civility and good manners in American politics. Because it never existed!! If this was the early nineteenth century, the president just might have challenged Wilson to a duel over the public insult.

As for the anger over health care, the loud town hall debates, and the insults hurled at Obama from the right-wing…Sure, many of the charges and name calling are ridiculous and out of line. But, then again, such constitutional provisions as the right to free speech, assembly, and the right to petition the government give everyone the right to vent their anger at lawmakers. In a lot of places in the world, people would be arrested and killed if they insinuated half the things the conservative right has yelled at Obama.

And, then again, perhaps concern, fear, and anger might even be warranted with the sort of debt this country is sinking into and an administration whose health care plans have, for far too long, remained vague about how to pay for an overhaul of the system and still maintain quality health care.

For those looking for the root causes of all the anger and rancorous debate, perhaps it’s the fact that the president had one too many comic books written about him and YouTube videos made where he is portrayed as a superhero, a savior, and a messiah, and too many fluff pieces written about his wife's sleeveless dresses. Perhaps this seemingly endless public honeymoon is to blame for his vague healthcare promises and seemingly flip declarations that he was certain that the healthcare overhaul would all be done by this fall, no problems, no concerns, no disagreements, no debate. The president’s time to be a celebrity is over and it’s time to be a leader in a democracy that allows for such sticky and uncomfortable rights as debate, criticism, and the public airing of anger and mistrust of the government.

No comments:

Post a Comment