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You Lie Obama, and Joe Wilson is Your Pre-Existing Condition

Joe_Wilson_South_Carolina.jpgYou Lie,” Obama.
Would any congressman dare to disrespect President Bush this way, even though he
actually lied in front of congress many times? Hey guys, remember WMD? I can’t imagine so. Joe Wilson of South Carolina called the president a liar, and well, the President was actually and factually telling the truth about immigrants in his health care plan. And Lindsey Graham was not so nice either, in his quasi-something statement meant to further a destructive and distractive narrative.


Check out this rebuttal site taking the intertoobs by storm, Joe Wilson is Your Preexisting Condition.

Warning, the site certainly does not qualify as right speech. Not even close. It does, however, qualify as a snarkalicious and funny rebuttal to a tactical (Hey Joe, Thanks for the distraction from discussing Health Care Reform! You guys are really good at taking our minds off of anything that matter!) and pre-meditated version of very wrong speech.

So, for the Buddhist ethical question of the day: Is wrong speech ever right? What if you are speaking in an arena where no speech is genuine, all speech is tactical? What if you know the person you are talking to has very little interest in right speech?

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posted September 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm

If it were right, it wouldn’t be wrong.
Technically, then, wrong speech can never be right.
But this does not mean that rough, caustic, epithet-laden, even insulting speech, cannot be right sometimes. If it is skillfully said and raises consciousness, it’s right.

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posted September 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm

This reminds me of the first time I heard of the eight fold path- there was a good amount of time that went into a disclaimer about the use of the word “right”. One of my favorite analogies that I’ve heard Ethan use a few times is the “map” analogy- When you’re in New York city, no one is going to stop you from trying to find your way around with a map of Chicago, but will that really be helpful? In a situation where mindful speaking isn’t valued, “right speech” might be anything that will penetrate the veil covering a person’s mind. Maybe this would be directly outwitting the person(s). Maybe it would be taking the “absolute” perspective and not participate because there actually isn’t any actual communicating going on. I think with the goal of penetrating the veil that covers other’s mind, it would have to be tailored to the situation, just like everything. Pretty tricky topic.
@bob- Wherever there’s the duality of right and wrong there’s also the synthesis of the two- simple beingness. “If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?” (though I suppose the author of that should have clarified if you suceed at failing or succeed as in not failing. But I suppose that’s aside the point!). I think we’re hitting at a similar point.

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Your Name

posted September 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

It’s blogs like this that make me ashamed to even visit this site. This is on a religious site that has nothing to do with religion. There are places to talk about politics. Religious sites shouldn’t be one. I showed this site to a friend, they made the joke that Buddhism is nothing but ‘complaining about politics’. They went back to the past few posts on this ‘One City’ trash, they’re all the same thing.
This is the most un-Buddhist thing I’ve seen on a site about religion. This is a joke. Even the half-ass Buddhist insert at the bottom could be replaced with any other word and it’s still as generic.
“So, for the Christian ethical question of the day: Is wrong speech ever right? What if you are speaking in an arena where no speech is genuine, all speech is tactical? What if you know the person you are talking to has very little interest in right speech?”

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posted September 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm

@your name: Sorry you are offended, but we do discuss politics from a Buddhist perspective on this site.
I disagree WHOLEheartedly that discussing politics is somehow un-buddhist, as discussing activism is written into the description of the site, and our organization . We do have a lot of posts also about practice and philosophy, if that’s more to your liking. But as a teacher of Buddhism, I am also interested in putting the practice into action and discussing that. So, our blog is not about religion per se. I can’t relate to Buddhism as a religion, personally.
Thanks for stopping by, hope you keep reading.

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posted September 11, 2009 at 2:34 am

Representative Wilson was out of line. I think even when we dissagree with the man we should respect the office. The health care issue is a very hot topic emotionally, and I think Mr. Wilson let the cap off the build up of steam. Personally I think president Obama is an exceptional communicator, but a very smooth liar that I can see right through. I think that more and more of the American people can see through his flowery retoric too, especially when they are becoming more familiar with the facts of the issues. This will be a very interesting four years, as the grassroots back away from their favorite TV programs, and put aside the many luxuries that we take for granted, and start digging into the truth of this administrations policies. Not to mention his entire political team.

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Ellie Dee

posted September 11, 2009 at 6:48 am

I suppose none of you were around when President Bush was in office. I dont ever remember such hate speech expressed for any other President. But not like some, I dont believe 2 wrongs make a right. I can understand someones frustration when it comes to having to remain quite when a untruth is told. The pres said Medicare wasnt going to be effected, when we have already been told we wont be recieving our cost of living for 2 years. So just this alone says something about Joe’s frustration. However, it wasnt the place to make that remark, and its effect when watching it, was papable. And to expect government can control,waste, fraud and abuse, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you know the rest

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posted September 11, 2009 at 11:21 am

Personally, for you to claim this is a “Buddhist” take on politics is absurd. For you to drink the typical kool-aid regarding what Obama had to say about the health plan–much of which was completely facetious and, yes, lies–simply means that your notion of “right speech” needs a little adjustment.
For example, on the illegal immigrants issue–only one small part of the proposed plan mentions them–but those who are pushing the plan absolutely rejected the only meaningful ID verification that would have given some assurance that illegals would not have qualified. Thus, whether Obama “lied” or not is certainly open to interpretation.
Meanwhile, I get all the predictable political “stuff” from the mainstream media without being subjected to it on an ostensible blog about Buddhism.
As for actions and comments about President Bush–apparently you were asleep and certainly not in any kind of aware state during his time in office. Check out video footage of the Democrats at the 2005 State of the Union, for example, as well as the *many* times he was called a liar–which you have again perpetrated here.
Unfortunately, that is entirely too predictable among some in the population. Fortunately, more mature Buddhists are at least somewhat less hypocritical.

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Ethan Nichtern

posted September 11, 2009 at 11:33 am

David, could you please send along some evidence of this heckling by an elected official of Bush at the 2005 State of the Union? I’d love to see it and have never heard of such thing. I think I watched that speech so I’m not really sure what you are referring to.
Also, thank you for an alternative perspective on the reading of the immigrants portion of the health care bill. I have read many sources that disagree with you, however. Can you be more specific about the ID verification that was nixed?
Also, please don’t assume I am for Obama’s plan 100%. It is better than nothing, but I think there should ultimately be a single-payer health care system, like most other sane capitalist countries have. I am not a blind Obama supporter.
Again, this is a blog for people interested in Buddhism to discuss a whole range of topics, including politics. If you want a practice blog, those exist too. Curious that you didn’t just say “let me find another blog.” Why shouldn’t Buddhists discuss politics? Seems arbitrary. Hope you come back.

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posted September 11, 2009 at 11:34 am

As a teacher and sometimes activist for over 30 years I have always held in the highest regard those professionals who can take themselves out of situations again and again and work mentally and through “right speech” to better effect everyone involved. When a young student becomes so angry and verbally abusive that it can not be ignored I often became snarky, sarcastic, angry, and in some cases very hurtful while all the time my inner voice disparaged myself for not doing the right thing…the thing that teachers are trained to do (but very, very few have the disciplne and/or personality to do. One of Obama’s many gifts seems to be this Gandhian ability to hold back and process his thoughts through a filter of “right speech”. I often get angry at him and want him to strike back – especially during his debates, but he, so far, has not done that. Perhaps he knows that change comes from example and not lectureship.

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posted September 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Obama came to power as a supposed centrist , as sold to many in his debates . Now he turns extreme left .
Who is the greatest liar ?

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posted September 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm

In fact, it’s downright conservative compared with what other capitalist countries provide for health care. I think it’s time you Americans realize you live in a Far-Right country on the world scale. You have amazingly backwards ideas about the relationship between public and private interests. The whole “big bad government” narrative is CRAZY! Join the 21st century and get yourself some health care!
Obama is just one tiny step in the right direction. And if you call me a socialist, I’ll call you ignorant.
Dave from Ottawa.

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posted September 11, 2009 at 1:05 pm

@David: the bill language states –
H.R. 3200: Sec 246 NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
The President was telling the truth. Joe Wilson was both disrespectful and Lying.
Hopefully next year, Wilson will also be unemployed.
Health care for all! Buddhists for health care for all!

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Your Name

posted September 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Dave from Ottawa, one of the complaints I hear all the time about Canada’s healthcare is that it takes forever to be seen by a doctor. But that’s only Canada, apparently in Europe the socialist healthcare is more efficient, especially in Germany. Heck, they even subsidize women for having children to encourage their dismal birthrate. Can you imagine the U.S. doing that?
As for the immigrant question. I love illegal Mexicans. They have revealed that America is made up of a bunch of whining, lazy, self-centric asses:
I’m American therefore I deserve to make much more money than what my education warrants, i.e. a janitor makes $20 an hour in a unionized auto industry??? At least the Mexicans come over here willing to bust their asses in the orchards or landscaping industry for less than minimum wage even. They realize the wonderful opportunities this country has to offer if one is willing to work hard.
Please excuse my wrong speech, but this country is going to hell in a hand basket. In my opinion, America has become the Las Vegas of the global community.

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NDC/Arlington, Tx

posted September 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I guess what Joe Wilson is really trying to say is he’s okay with the TriCare (government insurance) that covers him and his family but not okay with any type government run insurance that might do the same for Americans that need it. I will be sure to thank you for your compassion and concern for your fellow Americans at the next election.

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posted September 11, 2009 at 6:19 pm

DAVE from Ottawa : I sorely lament that you may surely be among the very few sages in the midst of the ignorant throng. If the Canadian government is the most proficient entrepreneur in all of Canada, then the US government can easily be the same. The most proficiently run economy must therefore be that which is wholly governed by its national government. Lesen wir Das Kapital wieder!
And YOUR NAME, maybe calling yourself such, lest you be revealed :
Viva Mexico. Y vayan los Estados Unidos al infierno. In deference to the only invasive multitude collectively handicapped intectually, in contradistinction to all others who eagerly assimilate the culture and language of their host, I request that all entries herein be bilingually appropriate.

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posted September 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm

How soon we forget our roots. We are Americans! The history of our country is one of individual outspokenness. Our forefathers came from Great Britain where shouting down the House of Lords and Common were typical. Even the fisticuffs now and again were not unheard of. Let’s not speak falsely! In our government, there have been knock-down-drag-out fights, heated discussions that ran into Duels! Where do these lame comments of cowardly stance come from? Do you people understand your history? We have the mandate of the United States Constitution to live up to. We are a new country as they go and have always been admired and people have risked everything to get to these shores and EXPRESS what burns within to be uttered…LIVE FREE OR DIE TRYING! The blood that has spilled across this planet in defense of human rights cannot have been bled in vain. When I was a child, I acted as a child, but I am no longer a child. I am an adult with adult responsibilities and do not relinquish my rights to regulate my own affairs to bureaucrats within an entity known as government. Remember, governments are nothing more than other humans attempting to control all our lives unless WE, THE PEOPLE restrain that rigorous desire to enslave the rest of us. EDUCATE YOURSELF. BE NO ONE’S PATSY. You have one life and then eternity. There are no do-overs my fellow Americans.

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posted September 12, 2009 at 8:10 am

Where does common courtesy for the POSITION of Presidency come in? Don’t we teach our children to have manners? How old is Joe Wilson that he cannot remember MANNERS?. I am surprised nobody is mentioning that. Where is pure manners on how to behave in public? You don’t have to like and/or agree with President Obama’s policies; yet, he is our current President & you as an American should respect that position – Period. In public, you keep your unpleasant opinions to yourself as you would if it were something that would lead you to acting foolish. You would not “view your opinions” in public about your personal stupidity, so keep your “stupid” opinions to yourself & respect the position of the presidency of the United States. I guess being American is convenient when it comes to doing the right thing as acting as an adult in public – hmmmm.

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Anan E. Maus

posted September 12, 2009 at 11:25 pm

yup, that kind of outburst has no place in politics…unless we want the entire thing to de-evolve down into a schoolyard shouting matching.
What happened to respecting the office, even if you don’t agree with the man?

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Miss Dooniebug

posted September 13, 2009 at 8:28 am

I don’t care how many people try to justify what the Wilson guy said.It only cements the fact that people are still very racist and that just will not be tolerate d in my history I’ve never known any President who was disrespected in that way.It makes me very angry and what he does not realize is that yes, some of us took it personally It was as if you disrespected me, like It was okay, yeah I’ll pray for him but, I still believe that consequences and reprepercusions should be severe.
What next….

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Ellie Dee

posted September 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Update on Joe’s Speaking Truth to Power! It seems the Pres was half right, and Joe had the other half! Now because of Joes call out, a new add on has been made. It now would require illegals to prove residence. Not that we ever deny anyone who needs help, thats part of the costs we already pay that makes hospital costs escalate. What Joe did, even if it gets knocked down, was to defend what he knew was the truth, and because of that, I now may have someone in Congress I can trust.

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posted September 13, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Elaine you may need to brush up on History and Social Studies, as well. We are the government in the U.S.A., the people, not the people who we elect to office to lead our country. Back up to last fall and we the people of the U.S. elected President Obama to be our leader. If you can get a hold of Red Skelton’s explanation of the Pledge of the Alligence to the flag of the United States of America he might be able to help you understand about our country.

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posted September 13, 2009 at 11:43 pm

It’s true that Joe was correct about the bill not excluding illegal aliens through the loophole that did not require they provide proof of citizenship. And assuming that the Pres actually read the bill, then Joe was in fact also correct in his accusation. Bush was boo’ed by congress as well, during one of his addresses. No president is immune to it. As long as Congress is allowed to stand up, applaud, and cheer, then they must also be allowed to stand and holler in disagreement, although yelling “you lie” is just rude; which is why Joe apologized. I too, have found in Joe a congressman that I trust to speak his mind – finally!

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