“YOU LIE!”

JOE WILSON AND THE AMERICAN WAY

I want to talk to you about Joe Wilson, the guy who heckled Barak Obama by yelling “you lie!” when the president was addressing a joint session of congress.

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He looks retarded, but he is more than that.

He looks retarded, but he is more than that.

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The liberal media has expressed extreme outrage over this incident, accusing Wilson of being everything from a boorish idiot to a racist.

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Victim of the liberal media

Victim of the liberal media

Don’t let that outrage fool you. What Wilson did is no big deal – especially when viewed through the lens of American history.  A congressman yelling “you lie!” at the president during a presentation to congress is not only a trivial event, the event itself fits well within the American traditions of political free speech.

The American Way

The American Way

To begin with, allow me to remind you what it means to be an American.  More than anything else, being an American means having the constitutional right to speak your mind.  Many Americans take this important freedom for granted.  But those outside our great nation know how special and precious it is. During the great wave of immigration that took place near the beginning of the 20th Century – the time my Greek ancestors came to this country – immigrants wrote home saying that the streets of American cities were “paved with gold.”


In a literal sense this wasn’t true.  But to people escaping tyranny, oppression and poverty, the freedoms and opportunities that came with merely walking on American soil were priceless.  Where they came from, no matter how hard they worked they could never hope for a better life for their children.  In America, men and women who are willing to work hard can shape their own futures.  In their homelands, these immigrants could be arrested and imprisoned for saying the wrong thing.  But in America they could argue in the streets and express their opinions freely.


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What the liberal media wants us to forget is that the right of free speech includes the right to get angry.  When Joe Wilson interrupted the President of the United States by shouting “you lie!” Citizen Joe was merely exercising his rights as an American and was taking part in a tradition that spans our nation’s noble history.

The American Founding Fathers were notoriously cranky, rude, angry men who openly hated each other.  Benjamin Franklin hated Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine hated George Washington. George Washington hated all French intellectuals – who, in a very real sense, gave birth to the American Revolution.


Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr hated each other so much they fought a duel – and Burr killed Hamilton with a bullet that pierced Hamilton’s liver.  Thomas Jefferson – the man given credit with drafting the American Declaration of Independence – made loud, unmistakable noises simulating flatulence – often using his hand and armpit – every time he encountered his political rival John Adams.  Adams never hesitated to accuse Jefferson of “preferring the company of young boys” and of stealing the design for the swivel chair from Nathaniel Swivel, a Boston furniture maker and brewer.

Nathanial Swivel

Nathaniel Swivel

As our republic grew and matured, so did the salty nature of American political discourse.  Martin Van Buren – our 8th president – and the first American president born in the United States – won the 1832 election in a landslide.  But the Whig Party (now defunct) despised Van Buren and refused to recognize his legitimacy.  They spread rumors that he was born in Holland and that he was secretly a Quaker.

Quaker

Quaker

In conjunction with this rumor campaign, the Whigs engaged in a rhetorical attack utilizing misleading vocabulary. For example, Winfield Scott – a Whig Party organizer – gave a speech in Buffalo, New York accusing Van Buren of vague charges that no one understood but everyone believed.  Scott is quoted as saying:

“In addition to the many crimes Martin Van Buren has committed against the American people as a whole – nay humanity – perhaps most disturbing, if not revolting, is the indisputable fact that Van Buren is a notorious masticator.   Reliable sources close to Van Buren – if that is his real name – confirm that he masticates at least three times a day, often in the presence of his wife. As monstrous as this may seem, Van Buren has also been known to vacillate on numerous occasions.  I put it to you that, not only is Van Buren a vacillator AND a masticator, he vacillates WHILE he masticates! The man has practiced vacillation and chronic mastication ever since he was a small child in Holland!”

These Whig tactics worked: the public turned against Van Buren, with many refusing to shake his hand for fear of where it may have been.  Whig congressmen and senators began pelting Van Buren with rotten vegetables whenever he spoke publically. The threat of violence became so pronounced that Van Buren would carry two loaded pistols whenever he addressed congress.

Packing heat

More recently, Republicans unhappy with Franklin Delano Roosevelt – a polio victim confined to a wheel chair – accused Roosevelt of being born in Norway and of secretly being a Free Mason. They would yell “cripple!” and “gimp!” during Roosevelt’s State of the Union addresses, pretending that they were sneezing.

He killed and ate this child.

He killed and ate this child.

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So, when seen through the lens of history, Joe Wilson’s yelling, “you lie!” at Obama during the the President’s State of the Union Address, or Arizona Governor Jan Brewer jabbing her finger into the President’s face while yelling at him, or even a reporter heckling Obama during a press conference, it really isn’t very important.

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Maybe it was tourettes.

This never happened when a white president was giving a speech.

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This would never happen to a white president, and never has.

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Perhaps they feel free to disrespect him because he isn’t white, so he can’t really be the president, so they don’t owe him any respect.

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 It is just part of the American way.

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9 Responses to ““YOU LIE!””

  1. I like how youse all defend the ‘right’ to be able to kill your neighbour if they wander on your property looking >grumpy with weapons only found anywhere else in the world in war zones. That’s great.

    Like

  2. Moko, why do you hate America?

    Like

  3. “made loud, unmistakable noises simulating flatulence”, that old story.

    Historians long ago disproved this, pointing out his medical records that say he had a diagnosed condition of explosive flatulence but was embarrassed and so tried to conceal it by pretending to make the noise with his hands.

    I am suprised that a man of calibre would propagate such scurrilous rumors.

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  4. Barnes – I did not know that. I shall add it to my collection of spurious historical facts.

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  5. I remeber once readinhg in the economist how capitol hill ran in a quite colliegate atmosphere. However it is only now I realise what they were trying to say was College frat house atmosphere, one that even the shirking violets from Delta House would have difficulty keeping up with.

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  6. “Freedom Fries” did it for me.

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  7. What fun. Lets give a shout out to all those who have practiced vacillation and chronic mastication. But child eating? really, pnb, picking on a cripple.

    Speaking of children, I can just see the middle school president and constitutional convention reports getting a little more interesting. On behalf of the poor teachers trying to teach these young-uns not believe everything you read on the net, please also file under Semi-Fake news or It’s not what you think.

    That Wilson should go back to England, where this sort of thing is tolerated. Here, we think shouting “you lie” in congress is akin to shouting “fire” in a movie theater; it could start a dangerous stampede.

    Moko, me too. But self hate is dangerous, so I tell myself I’m morified.

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  8. I am avoiding the self hatred risk flowing from my disaffection with my nation’s political structure by focusing on my disgust. “Freedom Fries” was a sad jingoistic joke that is no longer funny.

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  9. I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

    Like

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