A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Disturbance in the House

President Barack Obama assembled the full Congress this week to discuss the details of his health care reform plan. His intention when the movement started was to put forth a few general ideas about his goals for reform and then let Congress negotiate a final package. Unfortunately, the idea backfired, and instead of a healthy debate about the pros and cons about the myriad ideas to achieve Obama’s goal, the nation witnessed a rebellious attitude serving up misinformation by a group of supposedly intelligent people who should have known better.

However, since I already ripped new assholes for conservative Republicans in my last entry, I will cut them a break today. Well, actually, I’ll give them all a break, except one. That one is the Honorable Joe Wilson (R) of South Carolina.

The use of the word “Honorable” in that last paragraph is an example of decorum, or the proper way to address a member of Congress. It is part of the protocol of what is considered good and proper behavior in the House and/or Senate chambers. I’m defining all this now, because Congressman Wilson seriously violated protocol during the President’s address.

During the course of his speech, Obama reiterated his main goals of reform and struck down one-by-one the misconceptions about his plan that have dominated town hall meetings and conservative talk radio shows across the country. One of these misconceptions was the idea that illegal immigrants would benefit from the public plan Obama is favoring. The President stated that that was a lie; the Honorable Joe Wilson exercised his First Amendment right, but totally forgot about protocol, when he shouted back, “That’s a lie.”

His reaction stopped Obama’s speech momentarily. He smiled, and then proceeded as if nothing happened. On the other hand, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi glared at the Congressman. News reports also state that Michelle Obama “pursed her lips and shook her head” at the interruption.

Now you’re in trouble, Congressman Wilson! Not only may you face some sort of punishment from your House colleagues, but it seems that you’ve pissed off the First Lady! Fortunately for you, House protocol will prevent her from putting on her high heel shoes, coming down to the House floor, and opening up a can of whoop ass! On the other hand, you might not be so lucky with Nancy Pelosi.

Keep in mind that whoop ass hasn’t been opened since Preston Brooks (another South Carolinian) beat the crap out of Charles Sumner with a cane in 1856. The attack crippled Sumner for several years, and (some historians believe) strengthened the resolve of the then struggling Republican Party. Undoubtedly, Congress has sought to maintain a high level of decorum ever since to avoid a repeat of such assaults.

As far as suitable punishment for your actions, Congressman, the House has several options. Since we don’t live in a totalitarian regime (like, say, Libya), then you won’t face crucifixion or a firing squad. Besides, that would set a bad precedent. After all, you are human, like many other of your colleagues across the aisle and prone to make mistakes.

There is the Congressional tradition of censure, but I’m not really sure what that entails. Does that mean the other Congressional delegation refuses to speak to you? Would you get shunned like some religious sects do with their outcast members? Would you be suspended from Congressional committees temporarily? Would you lose the right to use the Congressional subway? Does this go on your permanent record? Will the Speaker of the House be obligated to send a note home to your parents? Or does censure mean nothing more than the entire Congress gathers together just for the purpose of wagging a scolding finger at you? I really don’t know, but whatever I’m sure the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Perhaps we should take pity on you, Honorable Mr. Wilson. After all, the people in your state have had a rough time of it in recent years. Your hospitality industry suffered a boycott a few years ago when your state legislature insisted on flying the Confederate flag — a recognized symbol of racism — over the state capitol building. Then, more recently, your governor abandons the entire state to commune with nature “along the Appalachian trail” (wink wink nudge nudge!).

We realize that you have apologized to the President, which he accepted graciously according to more recent news reports. Still, I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson. Remember, you shouldn’t call the President a liar when he is a guest in the House. There is a time and a place for such behavior, and that place is talk radio, where the rest of us won’t have to hear your rude behavior.

(Thank you for reading. Please remember Congresspeople should be seen and not heard, especially when the President is a guest speaker in their House.)


Post a Comment

<< Home