Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rep. Joe Wilson's Angry Outburst

Inspired by my own visceral reaction to the Congressman who screamed at the President last night during his address to a Joint Session of Congress and a post on Chicago Mom's blog, I wrote a letter to Rep. Joe Wilson.

I worked on Capitol Hill in the 1990s. There were some very polarizing figures there at the time: President Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Jesse Helms. Yet I never recall an incident -- particularly at the Capitol -- where anyone heckled or screamed "YOU LIE!" in a snarling rage at these men while they made a speech. How times have changed. Civil discourse, anyone?

Here is my letter:

Dear Representative Wilson, Your angry outburst at last night's Joint Session of Congress was unwarranted and disrespectful. I used to work for a United States Senator -- a mere 15 years ago -- and back then, no one behaved that way in Congress. Now that I have young children and am teaching them to be respectful, to not interrupt and to not practice name-calling, I would hope that our elected leaders might set a good example for school kids. Some do. I think President Obama's thoughtful remarks to school children the other day, in which he urged them to work hard and stay in school was a good example. Your behavior last night was the opposite. I understand that you have apologized. That is a good first step. However, you really need to reconsider your core values, your ethics and how to behave in public. You did a disservice to all Americans by screaming "YOU LIE!" at our President in the middle of a speech. Shame on you. Sincerely, Erica Cosgrove