No, Joe. YOU lie!

September 10, 2009

So, everyone is screaming about how Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) was rude and disrespectful and blah blah blah during Obama’s speech on Wednesday night.

OK, agreed.  Shouting “You lie!” at the president during a joint session with Congress, televised live to the whole planet, takes some nut.

But isn’t it within this guy’s right to express himself?

Personally, yes, I think the guy is a rude crude bastard.  I disagree with his politics and he’s got some nerve.  But why aren’t any of the bleeding hearts defending this guy’s right to express himself?  What about the Repugs who sat there thumbing through their Blackberries and waving bits of legislation in the air?  Sure it sucks, and it’s a bit childish and downright thuggish, but don’t they have the right to express themselves in this way?

Do I think their behavior helps in any way?  Towards Obama’s larger goal of finding common ground,  I should think not.  But, if – and that’s a big IF – these guys are properly representing their respective constituencies, then fine.  Say whatever the hell you want.  Ain’t that why we sent these bastards to Washington in the first place?  To speak for us?  If Rep. Wilson is merely expressing his district’s voice, then by all means, get the guy a friggin’ bullhorn.

And the apology?  This is the worst of it.  All this “saving face” bullshit.  He extends “sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility”.  Jesus, what a load of shit if I ever heard it.   No he doesn’t!  Are we really to believe this?  So insincere.  Now who’s lying?  I am actually more offended by the apology than by the outburst.  Yes, the outburst was shocking.  But isn’t a little honesty what we really need?  I really don’t mind the name-calling and the shouting and the heckling – hell, it makes things  a little more exciting and interesting if you ask me.  It breaks up the same old same old.  It gave us all something to talk about, didn’t it?

The Battle of Oak Hill.

November 22, 2008

What did I tell you?  This kind of thing is popping up everywhere, sparking all sorts of debate on both sides.  In Standish, Maine, the owner of a one Oak Hill General Store had a sign out front of his store, taking bets on when people might think Obama will be assassinated.

OK, is this guy despicable?  Probably.  Is he just trying to make a quick buck?  Of course.  Does he think he’s funny?  Sure.  Now.. does he have the 1st amendment right to post such a sign on his private property?  Well, now, there’s the rub.

The Standish town councilors and Maine’s Governor John Baldacci have, predictably, condemned the action, saying that “Maine will not tolerate this type of hateful…” blah blah blah.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I think this guy is a little twisted in the head.  But the sign was on his private property.  If he had hung up a sign that said “George Bush should go get fucked”, do you think, in this current political climate, that anyone would bat an eye?  (Well, sure, the religious folks would get all flustered at the F-bomb, which is their own problem.  Those type of prudish shrews will always be with us.)

Do I think clearly racist remarks are OK?  No, personally, I don’t, meaning that I don’t philosophically agree with them.  But… I believe this guy has a right to express his clearly sick sense of humor.  Could it be seen as a threat towards the president-elect?  Perhaps.  But here we are, swimming around in all of this very gray area and, now that we have elected an African-American president, the waters are going to keep getting murkier where all of these “hate speech” and “freedom of speech” issues are concerned.

I guess the ultimate question is: at what point does speech – the utterance of syllables from the throat and mouth – become something truly harmful?  Something that can incite very real violence?  Would someone who hadn’t wanted to assassinate Obama be inspired to then do so by a sign outside of a convenience store in rural Maine with the hopes of settling some bet?  What truly inspires such criminal acts?

I realize that these are not easy questions – but they are very necessary ones.  Y’all have anything that might resemble an answer?