Letters to the Editor

Who’s lying now? And what’s next?

US Rep. Joe Wilson arrives with Rep. Virginia Foxx other GOP lawmakers for a closed-door strategy session in February.
US Rep. Joe Wilson arrives with Rep. Virginia Foxx other GOP lawmakers for a closed-door strategy session in February. AP

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson finally got a dose of his own medicine. After he said he supported domestic violence laws, constituents at his April 10 town hall in Aiken began chanting “You lie!”

The rebuke referred to Wilson’s 2013 vote against the Violence Against Women Act, a federal law that provides funding to states and local governments to prosecute rapists and abusers. It also harkens to 2009, when Wilson interrupted President Obama during a congressional address, shouting “You lie!” after the president said the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t cover undocumented immigrants.

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Crowd shouts ‘You Lie’ at Joe Wilson, who shouted at Obama

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After months of requests, Wilson finally agreed to a town hall — his first in six years — yet scheduled it during spring break. In Granitevile — the corner of District 2. The video of the rebuke went viral. As in 2009, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Huffington Post and The Hill all published stories.

Wilson’s constituents are justifiably angry. Wilson consistently votes against workers, women and minorities, usually supporting his corporate donors. He also votes against government transparency and in favor of soft-money contributions — a precedent affirmed by the Supreme Court with its notorious 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In 2006, Wilson voted to deny $84 million in grants for black and Hispanic colleges. He voted against the expansion of Medicare, against cash for clunkers and against paid parental leave for federal employees. He insists that climate change “is not man made” and voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse emissions. Earlier this month, he voted along party lines to repeal Obama-era privacy protections that banned internet service providers from selling user data without permission.

After the town hall, Wilson turned on his constituents. He accused them of coming from “throughout the Southeast … just to make trouble.” Before the event, however, he required all attendees to provide him with their names, addresses, telephone numbers and written questions. Many, he even knew personally.

An idiom holds that “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” At that town hall meeting, constituents served Joe Wilson with an ice-cold dinner. If the congressman continues to vote against them, he may get dessert in 2018.

Annabelle Robertson

Founder, Indivisible South Carolina

Columbia

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