Jimmy Carter was right to say Joe Wilson’s outburst was base on racism. It was based on ignorance, fear, and an anger deeply rooted in racism. What would drive a man to disrespect the President, while he was giving a speech on a very critical issue for our nation?
Carter said that he is from the south and said he understood the racism that lives on in the region. His basic statement was, that a good deal of animosity against Obama was based on racism, and that Wilson’s outburst was part of that animosity.
Wilson’s background gives some insight into why he would break the laws of common decency and disrespect a president. He is a disciple of the most notorious racist politician of the modern era, Strom Thurmond and worked as an aide for him.
Thurmond was a man who said,
I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.
He also held the longest filibuster in U.S. history in opposition to the Civil Rights act.
When Essie Mae Washington came forth to reveal that she was Strom Thurmond’s daughter from a relationship with a Black woman, Joe Wilson said,
“It’s a smear on the image that has as a person of high integrity who has been so loyal to the people of South Carolina.”
Was it a smear to say that Thurmond had a daughter out of wedlock? He surely wasn’t the first politician to have a child outside of marriage. Or was Essie Mae Washington smearing Thurmond by letting the world know that the voice for segregation and southern white supremacy tainted himself by having a child with a Black woman? Wilson said that stories of Thomas Jefferson and Thurmond’s illegitimate Black children “diminish their contributions to our country’s existence.”
Joe Wilson was also one, of only seven republicans, to vote to keep the confederate flag flying over the South Carolina capitol.
The most glaring example of Wilson’s racism is his membership in the Sons Of Confederate Veterans. This group is described as a southern heritage group that is dominated by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Members believe that slavery was ordained by god and that racial mixing is ungodly.
Many could imagine that Wilson’s hero, Strom Thrumond, would be rolling in his grave when Barack Obama was elected. Wilson’s group, SCV, must’ve been highly upset that a man from “ungodly” race mixing was now the President of the United States.
Carter was right. Wilson’s outburst was based on racism. Joe Wilson is an heir to the legacy of southern racism, passed on from the confederate veterans he honors to the racist politician he worked for. Obama’s election was a slap in the face to the rich tradition of southern white racism. Wilson’s outburst came from that anger.