“You lie!”

. . . two words that will live in infamy – at least for Joe Wilson, the congressman who shouted the phrase at the president during his address to congress last week. I’ve heard other comments on the subject, which seem to be of two camps: one side saying it was rude and inappropriate, and he should apologize (which he did immediately after the event), the other side praising him for taking on Obama’s “misinformation.”

I’m going to stand with the former camp on this one. Some conservatives may hesitate to reprimand the congressman in fear of scoring one for the Obama team, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps we should be more concerned with honor and integrity than partisan sports. People want leadership that is honest, not self-serving. He who does not show respect doesn’t deserve it either.

Yes, I’m sure Rep. Wilson was very passionate and emotional because he felt that Obama was lying to the American people about whether the Health care bill would cover illegal aliens, but learning to control passion and emotion is part of becoming a mature adult. There are appropriate times to make your opinions known, and then there are times to yield them.

I’ve heard people say that the townhall meetings had plenty of yelling. Okay, but they were being put on by representatives who are directly accountable to the people of the district, for the sole purpose of getting feedback. You are expected to show your opinions. This was a presidential address to the congress. Furthermore, the president was speaking as an invited guest to the chamber.

Barack Obama is the president of the United States. If you live here he is your president. It doesn’t matter how you voted, or whether you approve of his job, he will be behind the resolute desk until at least January of 2013. If we are going to disagree with him on policy, let’s do it with strong reasoning and respectful discourse. Shouting is for people who have nothing legitimate to say – our argument is sound and our principles proven. I worry that antics like this do more harm than good for a movement that is otherwise worth listening to. It simply provides a subject of ridicule for those on the left that wish to paint any anti-big government speech as radical and out of touch.

As to whether or not the president did in fact lie, well that’s up for debate. Some reports point to section 246 of the House Bill, which prohibits “Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the Unites States” to show that the president was not lying. However, we should consider a couple of points.

#1) Obama didn’t specifically refer to the “house” bill. He said “our reform efforts” and since we are left with this vague idea as to what constitutes “our” and “reform” we can do little but speculate.

#2) The wording doesn’t exactly prevent illegal aliens from the “public option” – just “affordability credits” – and even then, the process through which people become proven eligible is so filled with loopholes and complex language that the likely hood of those individuals receiving benefits from this program is high. I strongly doubt that a party with such close commitments to the hispanic base, and so opposed to any initiative to reduce the number of current or future illegal aliens in the U.S. would leave them out of a dream bill that democrats have been cooking up for decades. This is not reform – it is a complete overhaul, and considering that illegals make up at least half of the uninsured in America it seems odd that they would push for any bill that did not serve that explicit purpose.

UPDATE:

It seems the answer evaded us in the days immediately after the address. Obama’s claim that no illegal immigrants will receive health care benefits may have been true after all… because we will simply make them all legal citizens.

New York Times reported it in April, and the Washington Times reported this week.

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