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Say it ain't so, Joe

Merciful Heavens, as my great aunt used to say. And she knew her business. Her kids, as I recall, were quite a handful indeed, and so she had good reason to hope the heavens, and the neighbors, were merciful.

So does Joe Wilson. He's the South Carolina Republican congressman who called the president of the United States a liar during President Obama's health-care speech to Congress Wednesday night. From where I sat, it appeared Wilson was rather like the kid who's with a bunch of other kids who are stealing apples off trees, and when the owner comes up, one kid inevitably can't get over the fence.

Yes, Wilson set himself up by shouting. But other Republicans were booing like people in a ballpark jeering the umpire. One couldn't help but wonder how they might have reacted if the president were a Republican and the, shall we say, outspoken critics had been Democrats. 

It's bothersome. Barack Obama is the president of the United States and thus is a target of comedians and blabbing radioheads and what'all, but in the halls of Congress the man deserves respect. The campaign's over, he won, and now his speeches aren't those of a candidate on the stump. They're from the leader of the free world.

Let's just hope that Wilson's apology, offered to and accepted by the president, is the end of all this, and that Wilson doesn't become some sort of folk hero to those who'd love to bash the president all day every day. 

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