When Ethics and Etiquette Matter
Do you remember an incident on the floor of the House of Representatives in September 2009 when then President Barack Obama gave a speech to Congress concerning the healthcare bill that became The Affordable Healthcare Act. As the president was speaking and said his health care overhaul “would not insure illegal immigrants”, Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted from his seat “You Lie!”
This infuriated House Democrats who wanted to sanction him, and Speaker Pelosi restrained herself from gaveling him down. Wilson apologized to the president and all was forgiven, right? Pelosi said they should “talk about health care, not Mr. Wilson”. The concern was not about what was in the bill, but what was left out – a means of enforcing the no-illegals rule.
The outburst was characterized by then Vice President Joe Biden as being “embarrassed for the chamber and for a Congress that I love.” On a morning talk show Biden said “It demeaned the institution.” It would appear that Democrats had a sense of civility and a sense of honor back then. But that was before the House Speaker called a special session with Democrats inside and locked the chamber door barring Republicans from entering during the voting for “Obamacare”.
Now look at the spectacle we have in Congress today 10 years later under House Speaker Pelosi and what appears to be the chamber run amok. You have many instances of members of Congress attacking President Trump openly in the chamber and on television; call for his impeachment; and even encourage the harassment and violence against the president, his family and his administration.
There are no calls for censure; no gaveling down unruly members; no denouncing conduct unbecoming when one of their Democratic team calls for disobedience for US immigration laws or encourages unlawful entry of illegals.
But when President Trump tweets for those who are verbally opposed to life as we know it in the USA, to take their ideas back to where they came from and try to fix things there, then come back and tell us how that worked out – he is mocked, heckled and called a racist for expressing his opinion in a tweet that wasn’t buffered through numerous levels of correction before going out.
There was a time when ethics and etiquette really mattered in an institution structured in protocol and procedures. There was a time when Democrats, Republicans and Independents actually worked things out for the good of the nation. Yes there was a time……….. – I am the Real Truckmaster!