Monday, September 14, 2009

Current Comedy 9/14/09: In Praise of Joe Wilson

Suddenly the name Joe Wilson is back in the news and lots of liberals are trashing it. I have to break from the pack on this one and note that Joe Wilson was a patriot who stood up for his country and did what had to be done in the time when such a thing was a lot to ask of a guy. Joe Wilson stood bravely even when he was humiliated by the president and his goons and the lives of his family were threatened. I mean, I feel the criminality of Joe Wilson’s treatment at the hands of the administration rises to the level of impeachable offense.
Oh yeah, I wasn’t talking about the current goof, South Carolina Republican, Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson. The latest in the long line of GOP buffoons to attempt to make their name by calling the president names? No way! Addison Graves Wilson is as much a “Joe Wilson” as Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher was a plumber. I was talking about an actual American hero. Let’s face it, the GOP section’s audience reactions to Obama’s big Health Care Speech Wednesday were anything but heroic. If that was the crowd representing me, I’d hide. No wonder they keep those people in the back row. You saw the kind of behavior that gives neighborhoods a bad name.
The current politician in the news, the latest “brave patriot Republican” to do the brave patriot thing--of hurling insults from afar while in a pack of sullen buddies acting tough in the balcony--is not the kind of Joe Wilson I think we should remember. Joe Wilson is a cool name. It shouldn’t be squandered on jerks in the peanut gallery. Whether you agree that the president lied in saying that government money would pay for immigrant healthcare, or should I say continue to pay for government health care, is beside the point.
But here’s the point as to Wilson’s lie remark: Right now if a person goes into an emergency room and needs care they get it. Just to double check, do you, dear readers, prefer hospitals to deny folks service in the emergency rooms?
Think about it.
If the answer is “no,” you are not the kind of goon who would leave the sick and wounded to die in the streets. Then you have to see that currently, “yes,” the desperately poor and sick get their emergency room treatments as a government treat, citizenship or no. Again the question: leave the sick and dying to rot on street corners because of immigration paperwork?
Do we really want hospitals denying folks service and leaving them to die on the sidewalks. Imagine the fumigation bill that entails to keep downtown areas tourist friendly. If you’re down for that sort of thing, then the rest of America, the majority of Americans btw, though not the majority of Americans shown on TV these days, the majority is right to work against you. But to Wilson’s point: Are there provisions in the health care bills Obama was discussing that set up new protocols for paying for undocumented immigrants? No.
And the fellow, I shan’t call ‘gentleman,’ from South Carolina knew that. Like a herd of jocks over in the corner misbehaving at a school assembly, the Republican supposed leadership paced, taunted, and puffed themselves up, until somebody went too far. And, just like they say, everybody thinks it’s funny until someone gets caught. And now it’s freaking hilarious, right?
Again think of the kind of person who looks up to such behavior. If you’re argument’s good, you don’t have to be a jerk to make it. If you’re wrong being a jerk about it just proves it. Is that the kind of person you’d look up to: the rude jock telling fart jokes while the principal was talking about the cancer fund? It’s not the kind of image I’d want representing me.
Now the real Joe Wilson was very much not a jerk when he told his president off. Of course, back then the president was Bush, it was 2002, and he was illegally assembling fake evidence to prosecute a case for an unnecessary and illegal war. Award winning diplomat, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, was the “go to guy” on Africa, having served under numerous presidents in African postings going back to the mid 70s. When the Bush propaganda machine was ginning up the war on Iraq, Wilson was sent to verify what was already widely considered as a false accusation that Iraq was buying uranium ore from Niger, the famous false “African Yellowcake” story, the press let us ignore.
At first Wilson followed protocol and reported that the story was false through proper channels. By the way at the time, that was what the CIA was saying about Iraq and nuclear weapons as well. But some speech writer somewhere was in love with the phrase, “the smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud;” so Bush goes ahead and makes the assertion anyway with his famous “16 words” from another presidential speech delivered to the joint Houses of Congress.
After the speech and after Bush got to start his war, you know the one we’re still fighting, the real Joe Wilson also called his president a liar for all the world to see. It wasn’t just a cheap catcall from the bleacher seats either. In fact he didn’t even use the word “liar” anywhere in the text of his piece. Instead Joe Wilson proved it. In a thoroughly documented article published in the July 3, 2003 edition of the New York Times, Joe Wilson published a piece called, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” demonstrating that the Bush admin knew better when they claimed Hussein was pursuing, not even having, merely pursuing, nuclear weapons. Now in this case, since the president knew something wasn’t true and said it anyway, that makes him a … well, you get the point.
In response back then, a GOP admin to a Dem troublemaker, staffers for the vice president’s office wound up taking the fall for leaking to the press that Wilson’s wife was a CIA covert agent, one with a thoroughly blown cover these days. Though the trail led straight to Cheney’s desk, henchman, Scooter Libby, eventually stood trial and was found guilty of obstruction of justice. As many have noted, exposing the identity of a secret agent in a time of war is the kind of thing folks have faced firing squads for, Bush instead issued a partial pardon.
So we have one situation where a certain Joe Wilson, a fierce supporter of Strom Thurmond and member of a Confederate loyalist group that seeks to justify slavery, I mean, the kind of guy who makes such an ass of himself that the entire GOP ought to swap the Dems for the donkey logo, who calls out “You Lie!” when he’s lying himself. And in the other situation we have a man with a lifetime of distinguished diplomatic service (winner of three different State Department Distinguished Service Awards), who researches the issue thoroughly, risks his career and, ultimately his wife’s life, to speak out at a major untruth, not a quibbling misrepresentation.
I think it’s clear which Wilson deserves to be thought of as a regular Joe.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of Arizona

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