Sep
12

Admonish Joe WIlson? A Stupid Diversion

Joe Wilson isn't even a sideshow, and the looming debate about whether he should be admonished by fellow members of the United States House of Representatives is a national disgrace. So what if the South Carolina congressman called President Barack Obama a liar? Wilson was listening to a politician give a speech. President Barack Obama may have charisma, but he is no oracle. We don't elect men to become gods.
But leaders in the House of Representatives feel otherwise, so storm clouds gather about whether Wilson should be admonished by formal action of the House unless Wilson apologizes from the House floor. An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi call's Wilson's outburst a clear violation of the rules of the House.
Wilson garnered his 15 minutes of fame the other night by exclaiming loudly "You lie" during the president's address to the House. The president was making his case for national health care. Wilson just couldn't help himself, I suppose. But neither can many Americans when it comes to health care reform. People get crazy: I am still shaking my heads over the report that at one debate one senior citizen bit off the finger of another senior during a fiery exchange of views.
The true scandal is that millions of Americans lack health care. Period. End of discussion. The stethoscope lobby and its pimping payroll masters in the health insurance industry do not want all Americans to enjoy basic health care coverage. It is far better to segment the market in human suffering into profitable mouthfuls. And if those profit centers are threatened, then scream, scream, scream to the heavens about euthanized grandmothers. White-coated scum spread this swill, as do pin-striped pimps on the make.
We have decided on constitutional grounds that in a republic devoted to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, each and every American should be afforded the right to a lawyer when their liberty interest is at stake. The indigent in this county never go without a lawyer when the stakes are high enough. This is a start down a road as yet only partially travelled: each American, regardless of income, should have the right to a public defender when charged by the state with a crime. Those with means can always opt out and hire a high-end warrior. Lawyers who need to make a big buck will always find takers for their services.
So it should be with health care. The right to life is certainly no less valuable than liberty; indeed, it is more fundamental.
Illness and diseases, no less than a criminal charge, are often the result of poor life choices. But most often, illness, disease and death are a part of life's cycle. What sense does it make for a nation of unprecedented affluence to close the doors of health-care providers merely because a person cannot afford to pay a doctor?
The social compact is shredded by a government that refuses to provide equal access to a minimum level of care for all Americans. When we have seniors resorting to cannibalistic attacks on one another for fear that money might be diverted to the care of children, something is sick, twisted and in need of repair.
I understand the difference between criminal defense and an inchoate right to health care. It is the state which threatens to take liberty in the former: a well-ordered society ensures that the state can take advantage of no person.
But the state was formed to improve upon the cruel lottery of nature. We have bound together to preserve our basic right to life, among other things. A society that cannot provide for that amid our great wealth is a sick and limpid thing, scarcely deserving of unquestioning support.
Joe Wilson's outrage was unseemly. It was rude. It was, alas, impolitic! But at least it was real, passionate and a reflection of a nation in crisis over something fundamental. That the leaders of the House cannot hear the true significance of his howl, but focus instead on trifles is what truly disturbs. But, of course, we get the government we deserve. If we don't insist on something better, we'll just muddle along entranced by the same old swill.



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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis

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