Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Joe Wilson is a Racist and Republicans Who Object to Obama's Health Care Plan are Patriots

I created quite a ruckus on my Facebook page this morning with the following posting:

"Two observations from last nights speech. First, President Obama's oratory skills will be what sells American's on the need for national health care. Second, there is still a strong undercurrent of racism at the highest level of media and politics."

While not mentioning Joe Wilson by name, I received over 15 comments(more than my biting commentary on who should have won last year's American Idol), some arguing that Joe Wilson's outburst showed the existence of overt racism, and some arguing vehemently that objection to Barack Obama's admittedly liberal agenda does not make them a racist. I agree completely with both of these statements, and they are anything but mutually exclusive.

First, with regard to Joe Wilson, I don't see how his outburst can be seen as anything but overt racism. The only question is who he is prejudiced against; African-Americans or Latinos. If the outburst was merely an uncontrollable reaction by a Southern white congressman who seemed to wake up after a 8 month slumber to find the country he loved taken over by an African American President, his hatred is focused against African Americans. In contrast, if his outburst is directed at the the phantom benefit of health coverage (god forbid) to the hard working undocumented members of out society, this uncontrollable anger against a group of people who can't vote and have no Constitutional rights, it is squarely directed at Latinos.

I don't know what is worse, anger at an African American in a position of power, or anger at 12 million nameless, faceless individuals who are currently handling the least desirable jobs in our immigrant nation (at the encouragement of corporate America) without full benefits of citizenship. Personally, I think that later, as Obama has proven to have shoulders broader than the city that birthed his political career. Regardless, this is a man unsuitable to public life, who should resign, or hopefully will be voted out by his constituents.

Now, getting to the fact that opponents to Obama's health care plan are patriots. I was amazed at how many of my conservative friends were concerned, I believe sincerely, that their opposition to the President creates the inference they are racism. Obama is a politician, a Democratic politician, who is the leader of a liberal progressive movement. Obama's race provides him no special status. In fact, Obama has argued for a post-racial look at our world; one in which he would be subject to the same standards of any of the previous 43 Presidents. As such, he should be subject to all the criticism, disdain, jeers, anger, etc. that any President would be. For conservatives and Republicans to exercise their right to dissent is patriotism, pure and simple. More than that, it is the responsible conduct of a minority party. Now I could argue that conservatives labeled any dissent from our march to war in Iraq as treason (Ann Coulter even wrote a book on that), but that really isn't the point.

I believe that guaranteeing health care for all American's is a moral imperative. That being said, I don't have an answer to how that goal should be accomplished. Applying the best that free market has to offer, while removing inappropriate and market-destroying profiteering, should be a part of the final plan. Conservatives have much to offer in formulating this solution. I believe that Obama's speech was an attempt to engage them in the process. A rogue Republicans inappropriate outburst with regard to a point which really isn't central to the debate distracted us from the real arguments. That is generally what racists do.


  1. You want racism? How could you miss the most obvious:

    "In 2003, following Essie Mae Washington-Williams' revelation that she was the illegitimate daughter of Wilson's former employer, the late Senator Strom Thurmond, Wilson was among those who publicly doubted her claim. Wilson said even if her story was true, she should not have revealed it because "it's a smear" on Thurmond's image was a way to "diminish" Thurmond's legacy. After Thurmond's family acknowledged the truth of Washington-Williams' revelation, Wilson apologized but said that he still thought that she should not have revealed that Thurmond was her father."

  2. The guy is from South Carolina - too small to be a country and too big to be an insane asylum, Or something like that. Sorry, I am reading Jon Meecham's book on Jackson.

    I think even before we got after racists, it is even more clear that the Republican legislators are a collective bunch of canting humbuggers. It is to Obama's credit that he left to the legislature the writing of the details of the health care reform. He laid out what he wants to see generally. Hinting at where he will veto the thing. So it is Congressman Wilson's peers who created anything that allowed illegals to get free healthcare. So if there was a liar, then it is Congress and not the President.

    I doubt that it was quite the accident that he made it out to be but I cannot prove it. He may have oeverestimated how much his fellow Republicans would back him on such rudeness. Again, he is from South Carolina.

    Just as about as stupid were the death panels. Anyone really beleive that Congress would want to eliminate one possible voter? Idiots.

    Free market would be nice but it will not work with a monopolistic system. Just because it is in private hands does not mean it is a free enterprise. Thnat distinction seems lost to these Republicans. Maybe they read too much Ayn Rand in college? Sorry, it is late and I need to finish the last bits of work before tomorrow night.

  3. But it isn't just the rogue outburst. Ten minutes after Obama said that those who told lies about the plan would be called out, the Republican responder got up and told lies about the plan. If the Republicans really had anything constructive to offer, wouldn't they be laying it out rather than engaging in fearmongering?

  4. Couldn't agree more that those fighting against the health care initiative are patriots. As Voltaire believed "I may not agree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Those labeling it Un-American are mistaken, because it is just about the most American thing one can do. In a democratically controlled congress and with a democratic President steamrolling a massive health care initiative. Health care reform, if it wasn't for the public opposition, would have flown through. Those opposed are using the only tool they have (the democratic process)to slow things down.