Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst during the Joint Session of Congress has nothing to do with his political disagreement with President Obama. As a congressman and as a citizen he has more than ample opportunities to express those concerns. His outburst shows a tremendous lack of respect first for himself, then for the president of the United States, then for the people of his district in South Carolina and fourth for the Congress.

            His apology was insincere. “The leadership asked me to apologize.” What a terrible example he has set for the democratic process. His comment added no light to the debate, but rather focused attention on himself and reflected badly on the people who sent him there.

            Many of us have mounted a campaign to return civility to our public discourse. Joe Wilson has become the poster person to remind us how badly such a campaign is needed. Honest debate is essential in a democracy, but disrespect for the opponent is counterproductive.