Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joe Wilson and My Naivety

I know it's a little late to talk about this goob, but he continues to make headlines. For those of you unfamiliar with him, this is Joe Wilson, a Republican Congressman from South Carolina. He's the man who shouted "you lie!" at President Obama during the POTUS's healthcare address to congress.

This post really isn't about Joe Wilson, however. It's more about my naivety. When I witnessed his outburst I didn't know anything about him. I didn't know his name. I didn't know where he was from. I didn't know his history. Hell, I didn't even know what he looked like because the TV cameras weren't fast enough to catch him in the act. I remember thinking, "Jeez... whoever that Republican is really doesn't like Obama's bill." It didn't even cross my mind that his quick rant could be racially motivated.

After the President's speach, my wife worked her magic on Google and found out this guy's story. We learned his name and what state he represented. After learning he was from South Carolina, I still gave the guy the benefit of the doubt. I thought, "South Carolina, eh? Nahhhhh..." Over the next couple of weeks eye-opening details have emreged about him. Joe Wilson is a member of the "Magnificent 7." Meaning he's one of seven lawmakers in South Carolina who voted to continue flying the Confederate Flag over the states federal courthouse (yeah, that's really frickin' "magnificent"). This man is also a member of the "Sons of Confederate Veterans." This organization's goal (taken from their website):

The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.

Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.

I counted a total of nine eye-rolling portions from this excerpt. Listen... I'm all for preserving history, but to call these people heroes and say they fought for the best qualities of America is absurd. While there were numerous reasons for the Civil War, the undeniable primary cause was the south's "need" for slavery. Sugarcoating your past doesn't make it ok. It merely makes you more likely to repeat it. I'm not saying slavery will ever happen in the United State's future. I am, however, saying that racism is more likely to continue when you don't realize just how wrong your past has been. Joe Wilson apparently doesn't realize this.

Many liberals are going as far as to say that when Joe said, "you lie," that he almost said, "you lie, boy." Which has extreme racial connotations. 2 weeks ago I wouldn't have believed it. Now, I don't see why he wouldn't.

Joe Wilson has opened my eyes to racial prejudice in the South and all over the United States. I knew it existed, but I never realized to what extent. I'm hoping that Wilson's outburst will continue to open the eyes of Americans and finally help to end these types of behaviours.

Thanks for your outburst, Joe.