Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rep. Wilson, Meet Aretha Franklin... She gon' SANG for you— "R-E-S-P-E-C-T!"

In case you've been under a rock or perhaps locked in the trunk of a car by a fictional black man (that means you were at Disneyworld with your daughter), here is Rep. Joe Wilson in his finest hour.

Now, let's analyze this a bit, shall we? So, you have no political track record to speak of and you decide to make a name for yourself on the international stage (you know other countries watch our political proceedings) by calling the president of the United States a liar... Mmm'kay? Perhaps if he had said something like "Orange juice comes from cows and cows come from outer space" — then I might be able to understand your feeling that the president is being less than honest. However, I was raised with "home training" and thus taught that there are certain things you just don't do. You don't put your elbows on the table, you don't chew with your mouth open and you certainly don't call someone a liar in the midst of a crowded room unless you really want to come to blows.

First off, it was just bad form. I'm not saying that one cannot disagree with the president or even question him, but Wilson picked the wrong time and venue. Period. It was almost funny when it happened because I saw that split second of Chicago swagger à la "ya'll don't know me up in here" that flashed in President Obama's eyes. He caught and composed himself quickly, but it definitely appeared to me that had that happened in private, Wilson would've been en route to a proctologist to remove one of the president's wingtips from his behind (and then he'd have made a fortune selling that shoe on eBay).

Now, in my humble opinion, President Obama would have been well within his rights to light-up Wilson at that moment, but he didn't. And that is one of the reasons that Barack Obama is our president—THE President of the United States of America. President Obama maintained a level of dignity and decorum and kept his legendary cool.

I also felt that Wilson's outburst proved President Obama's point perfectly. He said there were people making false claims and spreading misinformation about his health care plan and that those people were being irrational. Wilson stepped up to the plate —almost on cue— and shined the light on the aforementioned ignorance.

Ironically, the president had warned the misinformers, "We'll call you out." Well now it would seem that Joe Wilson is being called out because folks are calling and emailing his office en masse to express their displeasure with his behavior.

Going back to that thing about home training, I knew by age five that it was disrespectful to call someone—anyone a liar. Shortly thereafter, I knew that if I was going to call a person wrong, I had better be right. I also learned that if someone did misspeak or stretch the truth, or even if I simply disagreed with their view or opinion, it was best addressed in a private setting, if at all.

So, Barack needs to call Re-Re & have her wear that hat she wore on Inauguration Day. He needs to have a private concert in the Capital Building so that everyone understands the idea of respect and how to be respectful. Something else my mother taught me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Yeah, Wilson should have kept his pie hole shut.

Point blank and keeping it real, we all know that Bush and Cheney lied plenty of times. Bill Clinton may have even stretched the truth regarding his dalliances with women. But nobody yelled out in the middle of one of their speeches, "You lie!" Nobody.

One of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans is, in fact, free speech. But just like wearing spandex shorts when you weigh 917 pounds, just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. Discretion is the better part of valor.

A doctor was on the Today Show this morning talking about medical myths and she said, "Education trumps race; education trumps everything." Obviously, in this case it doesn't. Wilson graduated from law school, he is accustomed to deferring to judges and does so purportedly out of respect. One might say that the president's Harvard Law degree trumps Wilson's from the University of South Carolina. And we know for sure that the highest office in the free world trumps the congressman's office. Sadly, to all too many people—Wilson included, his white skin trumps everything.

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