Joe Wilson’s explosive comment during President Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress was inappropriate. He apologized, end of story. Right? Wrong.
His two words have caused an uproar on the internet, the television and the radio, diverting attention away from the real issue; Healthcare. One blogpost writes Wilson’s comments off as poor “civility” and claims such a virtue is not one at all:
Civility is one of our favorite fake virtues. Real virtues like kindness, charity, or honesty ask something of us—but civility is satisfied so long as we speak in a certain tone and refrain from using certain words. We might spread lies that lead to unnecessary war—but we do so politely. If we grind the faces of the poor into the dust—at least we do it with well-polished boots. We are a nation of wealth and taste.
Sure, it sounds like a decent argument on the surface, but the tactic here is to add language that again, distracts from the argument. Lies are lies are lies, no matter who spreads them. The disturbing part is the recent revelation that the two examples of where healthcare failed used by the President in his speech were embellished. Ok, so he didn’t tell the whole truth, but wait, that sounds familiar if you listen to the rhetoric on Bush’s Iraq policies.
It is just more proof that neither side is better than the other and they both have their share of crooks, liars, and whackjobs. Trying to claim moral high ground on the basis of political ideology is about as dumb as looking into a gas can with a lighter. Your politics may be shaped by your morals but loose blanket statements on issues doesn’t pass the muster test. If you believe in virtues, then you have to abide by all. It’s not some moral buffet where virtues can be cherry picked when they suit a purpose.
So maybe it’s time to forget civility and try kindness, humility, temperance, charity, patience, diligence, chastity, and justice. I’m sure that out of those eight civility will become a given.