Yes, Congressman Wilson of South Carolina, you showed some lack of civilized decorum in blurting out what you did. As a guest in your House, President Obama, should not be subjected to some crude comments by an elected official in the highest legislature in the land. You shamed the room, you shamed your party, you shamed your country, and you shamed yourself.
However it is also unfair to try and make too much political capital out of this incident. And it should be pointed out the Republican members of Congress chastised Congressman Wilson and encouraged him to apologize. He did it quickly, and the President accepted it. But this goes beyond just that.
The historical background to this flap is interesting to note. In Britain it is almost expected that the opposing members of Parliament shout out negative comments and even insults. This is true even when the Prime Minister speaks in Parliament. However it is different. We are talking about a leader who is a member of that body and not an outside guest, as is the case with the President of the U.S. speaking in Congress. The head-of-state in the U.S. is the President, in Britain it is the Queen, albeit only a figurehead in many ways. But the difference in the systems is to be noted.
What is so sad about the incident with Congressman Wilson is that he reflects the atmosphere that has contaminated the United States citizenry. Trying to defeat Obama at ALL costs, a questionable attitude for the group that calls itself patriotic, the Republicans have encouraged the outrageous behavior toward anyone speaking in favor of health care reform. The long trek to try and reform health care in America began over 100 years ago, and was led by a Republican President, Teddy Roosevelt. His cousin, FDR, tried again a couple of decades later. And it has been tried over and over. Now the sides are configured somewaht differently. But those who opposed health care reform never stooped to the uncivilized behavior that has been fostered by today's right-wing. It is not only undemocratic, it is sickening.
We must ask ourselves: how much of this is a reflection of bigoted attitudes that simply cannot abide a man of color sitting in the White House? That IS a fair question.
How much of this is brought on by those huge corporations and individuals who profit immensely from the unfair, expensive, and low-outcome health care mess we now have? That IS a fair question.
How much of this is simply right-wing extremism gone crazy? That IS a fair question.