The President of the United States spoke to a joint session of Congress last night.
It was, all in all, a great speech and outlined his points for why we need universal health coverage in America. In case you missed it, here it is in a nutshell: you cannot call yourself the greatest country in the world if you don’t have it.
While the President spoke with facts and with passion, most of those in the hall listened with respectful attention.
And then there were the Republicans.
You can easily spot them in a crowd. They are white, old, angry and rude. Some held up sheets of paper as the President spoke. It is probably their version of the detailed health plan promised almost 50 days ago by Rep. John “I sleep under a tanning lap” Boehner. At that time, he claimed they were simply putting the finishing touches on their master work. If Thomas Jefferson had taken as long to write the Declaration of Independence as Republicans have in coming up with a comprehensive health plan we would all be wearing powdered wigs, sipping tea and would have had such a plan in place for a few centuries now.
And just imagine how handsome Boehner would look wearing a powdered wig along with that orange flush he calls skin?
Rep. Eric Kantor wasn’t listening to the President much, either. He was clicking away on his Blackberry, probably coming up with some other cute little catch phrase like one he used on a video he posted where he coined the word DemocRATS. Get it? Why work up a health care plan when you can play with letters and impress the folks back home?
Then there was Rep. Addison Graves Wilson, Sr. Joe Wilson to his old southern friends. He called The President of the United States a liar and sat back pasty-skinned and smug. Two hours later, he apologized. It is a pattern he has followed in his less than distinguished Congressional career. In September, 2002 during a debate over the possiblity of a war in Iraq (which he heavily favored), Old Joe called Congressman Bob Filner “viserally anti-American” and said he bore a “hatred for America” (sound familiar, boys and girls?). Wilson later said he did not intend to insult Filner.
Wilson’s most notable accomplishment in the Congress? He co-sponsored H.R. 4411, which federally prohibits online poker. Thank the Lord somebody was on that top-of-the-deck issue that is bringing ruin to our economy and terrorists to our shores. Way to go, Mr. Wilson. No five-card stud in this House.
Rep. Joe Wilson is an ass and the people in his district of South Carolina should hang their heads in shame that he is the slog they sent to represent them in the Congress. All that was missing from his little routine last night was a white hood and a robe.
Today, the President did accept this clown’s apology.
I don’t and neither should any member of the House and Senate. Sen. John McCain said it best calling the act “totally disresptful. There is no place for that in that setting or any other.”
Now why was Joe Wilson calling the President of the United States a liar? The President said that his current plan does not include coverage for illegal immigrants. Wilson, who clearly has not read the bill, thinks it does, thus the insulting shout-out. Here’s my question to Rep. Wilson–what if it did? Why shouldn’t EVERYONE in the country get universal health coverage? Is there any one group–other than oil and insurance executives–that your crew tolerates? Must you hate EVERYONE that doesn’t look like you? Except for Boehner who passed George Hamilton a few months back and is now working in a zip code all his own.
I was sick many times while living in Italy. Not once was I asked if I was a citizen when I went for treatment. I was asked what was wrong. When my son got hurt and needed medical care in Pisa, they treated him at a nearby hospital, stitched him up and gave him an ice cream cone on the way out. They did not ask to see his birth certificate.
We can toot that greatest country horn pretty loud and often, but actions speak volumes and the greatest country acts and takes care of sick people on their turf because it goes beyond any laws or rights. It is a simple act of human decency, nothing more. It does not make us special. It makes us who as a nation we say we are–caring, concerned human beings.
As angry as I was over Mr. Wilson’s little temper tantrum, there was another moment that was as clear an example of the GOP indifference to universal health coverage and lack of concern over the most basic right of the poorest among us that you could ever hope to find. A moment when the Grand OLD Party truly deserve the scorn that should justifiably be aimed their way. It happened when President Obama said that there were still significant details to be worked out before the health plan was ready to pass muster.
This brought out a chorus of loud, booming laughter from the GOP side of the aisle.
They DO think it’s funny, one big joke to be rehased at the country club over a second round of drinks. They agree with Karl “I’ll have another donut” Rove who said he found Joe Wilson’s disrespectful act worth a chuckle. But hey, Rove was part of the crowd that high-fived each other over going to war and then joked on a Washington D.C. stage about no WMD’s being found. Now if you can laugh about young men sent off to fight in a war of your choosing and coming back home in coffins covered with flags, you can pretty much laugh at anything.
So they all shared a belly laugh about universal health coverage and the plan to pay for it.
That’s because they can afford to laugh. They have the best health coverage our money can buy. They are well-stocked and well-armed to weather any storm, so why should they not laugh at those who do not?
But while the President spoke and while the GOP laughed, or twittered or called him a liar, somewhere out there in this greatest country on earth there were thousands of our very own citizens facing financial ruin over a disease or a death in the family that was caused by their inability to afford health coverage.
The GOP laughs while Americans suffer.
They twitter while people live with pain.
And they call a decent man a liar while hard-working men and women face a death that arrives much too soon and at a price too great for them to ward off its assault.
And they are too stupid and too vain and too corrupt to even care.
They never have and they never will.