Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why Does Joe Wilson Matter?

When I wrote my earlier post on the President's health care speech, I had some knowledge of what Joe Wilson had done during the speech. But I ignored it. I mean, the real issue here was not about some obscure congressman but about tackling the important issue of health care, right?

Boy was I wrong.

Joe Wilson has become a poster boy of sorts. He has been blamed for taking people's attention off the important health care debate. He has been a hero to some, and a lout to others.

But why does he matter?

I know, I know: it's because he called the President a liar. I agree that it's quite boorish. Republicans have made it a habit lately in acting like children, but then so did the Democrats when they were the "out" party. The thing is, our political culture is filled with people on blogs, talk shows and books claiming that so and so politician is a liar. We seem to revel in calling people fakes; it's a good way to reveal how pure and true we are.

With such incivility everywhere in American culture these days, I don't know why we should get all into a bother because someone was uncivil on the floor of the House; Wilson was just doing what has become normal in our political life these days.

Wilson has been used by various people for various reasons. For Democrats, he is the poster boy of a Republican party gone mad, not to mention a rallying cry to raise more money. For the media, it's another trivial character they can focus on; another example of political entertainment. For Republicans, he's an example of the "common man" standing up to the liberal elites. For Joe Wilson himself, it's a nice way to raise money for his re-election campaign.

Joe Wilson in my view, doesn't matter. We should have not paid attention to him, instead, focusing on how best to solve the issue of health care. But we live in a world where politics and entertainment rules, and so we focus on some unknown representative from South Carolina.

Let's focus on what matters. There is nothing to see here. Move on.

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