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Courtesy and Civility

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Might as well jump in here, having not read all but the earliest and latest posts to this thread. I think the following points deserve mention:


1. Wilson clearly erred in shouting out the way he did.

2. Wilson has apologized to the president.

3. The house was not in session for the speech so it is not clear that Wilson violated many rules governing debate.

4. The president himself characterized critics of the plan (or is it plans) as liars a bit earlier in his speech. Where is the civility in that?

5. Rep. Pete Stark, democrat of California, called then President George Bush a liar in the well of the house. No discipline imposed. Where is the civility in that?

6. Senate majority leader, Sen. Read of Nevada called then President George Bush a liar. Where is the civility in that?

7. The house has yet to sanction in any way the failures of Congressman Wrangel, democrat of New York and chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, to disclose various interests and pay all taxes due. His offenses are very similar to those committed by the Senator from Alaska (name escapes me) for which that Senator was convicted in a court of law. (Convictions were recently overturned on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct.)


No one can or should approve or copy Rep. Wilson's conduct. He himself has said that he should not have shouted out the way that he did. But the current moves by the house to discipline him are just more evidence against the way the house is currently led by the majority party.



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Along your line of thought Eisely, there was an opinion piece at CNN.com that comments on the long history of poor behavior in Congress - physical altercations, spitting, threats. I suppose to answer Beavah's original question. No we havent sunk so low....congress dispensed with courtesy and civility long ago.



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"I have come to the conclusion that


ONE useless man is called a disgrace;


that TWO are called a LAW FIRM;


and that THREE or more become a CONNNNNGRess!"


... John Adams as depicted in 1776



Mark Twain quotes:

Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.

- What Is Man?


...the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.

- Letter fragment, 1891


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

- Mark Twain, a Biography


Congressman is the trivialist distinction for a full grown man.

- Notebook #14, 11/1877 - 7/1878


All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity


...I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman.

- "Foster's Case", New York Tribune, 3/10/1873


Will Rogers quotes:

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?


Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.


Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.


I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.


Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.


On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.


Our constitution protects aliens, drunks and U.S. Senators.


ETA the following from Mr Rogers:

I don't make jokes -- I just watch the government and report the facts.


I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father'.


Hurray! Congress is to adjourn! Only four more days of Congressional burglary on the Treasury!


A foreigner coming here and reading the Congressional Record would say that the President of the United States was elected solely for the purpose of giving Senators somebody to call a horse thief.


The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.


If we have Senators and Congressmen there that can't protect themselves against the evil temptations of lobbyists, we don't need to change our lobbies, we need to change our representatives.


The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.


The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best.


That's what a Congressman or a Senator is for -- to see that too much money don't accumulate in the national Treasury.


There is good news from Washington today. The Congress is deadlocked and can't act.


I generally give the party in power, whether Republican or Democrat, the more digs because they are generally doing the country more damage. The party in power drawing a salary is to be knocked.


A flock of Democrats will replace a mess of Republicans. It wont mean a thing. They will go in like all the rest of em. Go in on promises and come out on alibis.


The Republicans mopped up, the Democrats gummed up, and I will now try and sum up. Things are terribly dull now. We wont have any more serious comedy until Congress meets.



And were he alive today, Mr Rogers would begin his commentary with:

"All I know is what was posted to youtube today."(This message has been edited by john-in-kc)

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Civility is not a descriptive term that I could apply to democrats today since now anyone who disagrees with Obama is a racist. This is an insult and a lie. It seems that many are fed up with liberals calling conservatives names when that are not getting their way. Conservatives have been accused of racism so often that it no longer has much of an effect. Conservatives are called names by left wing-nuts, so what is new.

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Now we have President Carter entering the fray. According to Mr. Carter a MAJORITY of the animosity toward the Health Care Plan is due to racism and hatred of President Obama because he is an African American. Please note that Mr. Carter did not say "some" of the folks opposing the plan are racist, but a "majority" are racist.


I am afraid Mr. Carter has gone way over the edge on this one. What on earth could his basis be for making that statement. Sure, we all know there are still some people out there who make decisions based on race. But I dare say they fall on both sides of the political spectrum. I would like Mr. Carter to explain how Mr. Obama came to be elected if so many of us are racists?


Now, where is the civility in Mr. Carters statement? Will there be outrage from the liberal camp?



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Carter lives here in the deep South. To get some insight into his thinking, go back and read packsaddle's comments about the South yesterday morning.


"And I can tell you after traveling and living in so many other states in the USA, when it comes to prejudice, The South doesn't have a monopoly on it. But NO ONE does hate and prejudice with the skill, subtlety, and religious fervor of The South."


The only way I can describe it is white liberal guilt.


Here in the South, just about any time you are against anything liberal, you are called a racist. Luckily, this card has been played so many times, it has lost its shine.

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This, from the representative in a neighboring district, which used to be held by nut-job Cynthia McKinney:


US Rep. Hank Johnson, Democrat, discussing his vote to rebuke Joe Wilson:


"It did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks. If I was a betting man, Id say it instigated more racist sentiment, feeling that its OK, that you dont have to bury it down, Johnson said.


I guess well probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside, intimidating people, he said. Thats the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked.


That's quite a leap. Even for a liberal.

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Jimmy Carter has forfeited any respect or credibility that might be due him as an "elder statesman" a long long time ago. He is undoubtedly the worst ex president we have ever had, and easily in the top five of worst presidents ever. Certainly the worst president of the second half of the twentieth century.

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Carter said,

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American"


"Please note that Mr. Carter did not say "some" of the folks opposing the plan are racist, but a "majority" are racist."


Did you read something that I missed? If not explain the basis for your statement.


Brent, Yes, Cynthia was disastrous, there's no denying that. So what's your point? That the rest of the country is just as wretched as the South?

In the past when I saw a pickup full of white men swerve so that they could physically assault a black man on a bicycle, or a black child walking on the side of the road, I suppose my conclusion that their crime was racially motivated did come from a bias - based on seeing similar acts before and hearing their laughter and the vile effluent of their racial slurs. And today when I hear neighbors (flying the confederate flag above the American flag) proclaim, on a Biblical basis, that black people and other minorities of color are inherently inferior, my reaction is not based on any kind of guilt. Rather it is clear to me that racism is alive and well...and submerged under a veil of polite public silence so that they are not obvious. It wasn't long ago that there were billboards at the border of these little towns that warned, "Nxxxxx, don't let the sun set on you in (name of town)" - Recently enough that most of those folks are still alive. Do you think they've changed their beliefs?

(Catholics be advised that in the 'minds' of these folks you don't fare very well either)

I wish things like the above were matters of history long past but that's just not the case.


If you feel that I've somehow accused you, I apologize. I suppose though, to you that would just be another expression of liberal guilt. ;)

As far as the South goes, I'll let the actual history speak for itself. That's pretty clear.

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Well Ex-Presidents are entitled to their opinion, but I agree given their status in society they should be judicious when they express them. However while I can find several articles that quote Carter as saying "many" of those opposed I can't find anywhere he is quoted as saying the "majority" of the opposition is due to race. If such a quote is available please post a link.


And I do think it would be very naive to think that there aren't "many" people opposed to the current President simple because of his race.



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I found President Carter's comments to be somewhat shocking if not ill-advised. Still, it is a fair statement to say that there is more than a little bit of racism floating around out there. I experienced that first-hand through my father and brothers' reaction to Obama's election. It wasn't very nice.


As for Congressman Wilson's outburst in Congress, I'm not entirely surprised. Respect for Congress has been in short supply lately. Recently, subpoenas to appear before Congress went unanswered. This was also something that, up until then, simply wasn't done. And not too long before that, our previous President asserted his own will by adding "signing statements" to over 700 bills passed by a Congress that was controlled by his own party. Given this climate, it isn't much of a surprise that a Congressman would show disrespect for the body.

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By misquoting people and passing the misquote along we further the incivility. President Carter did not say the majority and he didn't even say the majority of the the people protesting. He said the "overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity."

It will surely be pointed out that I'm wrong, but I interpret that to mean that portion of the demonstrators that seem to be just opposing Obama, not any specific policy - those folks with the witch doctor signs, Obama as a Nazi, and such. In other words, the "intensely demonstrated animosity" not the protesters as a whole. The screamers and the outrageous folks get the air time, but I've watch many of the town halls aired on C-SPAN. and while many of the people displayed anger, many more were quite reasonable and respectful - those folks didn't get the media air time though.

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Wilson's offense was three fold.

He insulted the President, the Congress and the American public.

He owes three apologies. He's only done one.

He should have taken to the floor of Congress the next morning and issued an apology to the Congress. Then issued a public statement to the press apologizing to all of us.

That would have been the right thing to do, and settled the issue. I don't expect that from anyone of his party.

For punishment, he should be required to read the rules of decorum to all members of congress. Looks like they all need a refresher course.


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Scoutingagain writes: "And I do think it would be very naive to think that there aren't "many" people opposed to the current President simple because of his race."


Where in world is the evidence for that? Oh, I grant you there are some racist nut jobs who do, but I hear Obama criticized by many people, some of whom are African-American, who do not have a racist bone in their body. I don't believe I have ever heard a racial epithet directed at him, even by people who detest his policies.

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