Let me make this clear up front: Joe Wilson, U.S. Representative of South Carolina’s 2nd District, is an asshole. He’s been an asshole for a long time. I’d be willing to bet a good many of the voters who elected him are assholes, too, because how in the hell do you vote for such an asshole without being one yourself? Wilson was an asshole long before he interrupted President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress last week by calling him a liar. Maybe he was born an asshole. For all I know, Addison Graves “Joe” “Joey Joe-Joe” Wilson “Jr.” Sr. is descended from a long line of assholes going all the way back to the first two proto-assholes that crawled up out of the primordial soup onto the shore of South Carolina untold eons ago and fell in love the moment they turned and locked their beady, wide-set asshole eyes on each other, and promptly got to work making the first of many new asshole generations that have carried on the asshole tradition and preserved it intact unto this very day.
Wilson has voted in favor of flying the rebel flag over the South Carolina state house, he’s explicitly questioned the loyalty and love of country of political opponents, and he once criticized the daughter of Strom Thurmond and Thurmond’s African-American maid for revealing her father’s identity publicly, claiming it was only done to tarnish the sterling legacy of the racist, segregationist Thurmond.
Like I said, he’s an asshole. He’s also a moron. If you’re going to call the President of the United States a liar on national television, by shouting at him from the floor of the House of Representatives, while he’s in the middle of a major speech, at least have your facts right. When the president assured Congress that the proposed healthcare reforms would not result in taxpayer-sponsored insurance coverage for illegal immigrants, Wilson shouted “You lie!” But according to a reading of the proposed legislation by the non-partisan website FactCheck.Org, Obama was telling the truth:
[T]he House bill expressly forbids giving subsidies to those who are in the country illegally. [Emphasis mine.] Conservative critics complain that the bill lacks an enforcement mechanism, but that hardly makes the president a liar.
So yeah, like I said, Joe Wilson is a stupid asshole. After his outburst, he owed the president an apology, for his lack of civility if nothing else.
After the speech, Wilson gave a statement to the media in which he made the following apology:
While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.
President Obama accepted the apology. So that’s that, right?
Well . . . Some House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are demanding Wilson make a formal apology to his fellow members of Congress.
What would be the point? Like I said, Wilson is an asshole, and an idiot. Just look at him in that picture up there, pointing, his big self-righteous mouth open wide as he bellows at Obama. God, what a fucking jackass. But he apologized. And Obama accepted the apology. So maybe Pelosi and everyone else who thinks that isn’t good enough should just, you know, fuck off.
I’ll tell you what really bothers me about this call for another apology. It’s that the people demanding the apology were not directly involved in the original offense. Yes, they’re fellow members of the body, yes there was a breach of decorum. But congresspeople and senators have been reacting vocally to presidential speeches since the very beginning, booing at lines they don’t like, cheering and clapping for lines they do. Wilson was just more articulate about his disapproval. And obnoxious. And wrong. That’s why he owed President Obama an apology. The apology shouldn’t have to apply to everyone else who was in the room, because the act that got him in trouble in the first place wasn’t directed at them.
This smacks faintly of Christianity, too, which I admit is another reason I don’t like it. Christians are taught that they must debase themselves before God and ask him to forgive their sins. But why? None of their sins can possibly have been against God, and therefore God, whether he’s omnipotent or not, has no right to forgive them. If I hit a baseball through my neighbor’s window, I owe an apology to him, not to the rest of the neighborhood, and not to the guy who founded the town. If I say I’m sorry, only my neighbor has the right to forgive me. Everyone else can go fuck themselves for all I care. The matter doesn’t concern them.
Ah, but it does concern God, Christians say, since the entire universe, including ourselves, is his divine creation, and sin is an affront to him. But if that makes sense, why is it that only relations between humans and the Christian God operate that way? If we applied Christian logic to the broken window scenario, I would owe an apology first and foremost not to the person whose window I actually broke, but to the glazier who installed the window — or perhaps even the various manufacturing employees involved in the several stages of actually creating the glass from raw materials — people I have almost certainly never even met. It’s stupid, and it makes God (and Pelosi and the Congressional Democrats demanding a second apology) out to be a presumptuous asshole . . .
. . . not unlike Joe Wilson. See? It all comes together.