This morning on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) appeared to discuss a possible repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Wilson is the top Republican for personnel matters on the House Armed Services Committee, and is a leading opponent of repealing DADT, saying “it is a policy that appears to be working.”
Wilson received a number of passionate calls on the issue, including one from a self-described “heterosexual 72-year-old Christan woman” who had been married for 49 years, who said she must “speak up” to Wilson, and offered a passionate defense of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach and Lt. Dan Choi, who were both discharged under DADT. Wilson dismissed her pleas and moved onto the next caller, who went on an offensive anti-gay tirade, saying that no homosexuals are “great” and “all can be replaced in America.” Wilson did not rebuke the caller for the hateful comments, and actually thanked him:
CALLER: Good Morning. Mr Wilson thank you. I try to hear your opening remarks on the floor every day, and I thank God we have someone that stood up to the establishment in Washington and called the lie a liar. Thank you. Now another thing. I can’t believe we’re talking about people — they’re not even one percent of our population, and we’re so worried about their sexual activities. Why are we talking — these people don’t even represent one percentage, not even one percent. And all can be replaced in America. None are great. None are number one. All can be replaced. Mr. Wilson, thank you from a third generation union member in Detroit, Michigan, where people do not want to get off unemployment. REP. WILSON: Well, thank you for your comments. I truly believe the system we have is working, but we need to have hearings. I’m happy to have hearings on any issue we’ve raised this morning. And that’s why I appreciate the incoming chairman Buck McKeon. Chairman McKeon will be having hearings this coming year, and we can go over this issue in a very calm way, but this should not be done in a lame duck session.
While Wilson is not responsible for what C-SPAN callers say, surely this man’s outrageous remarks disparaging gays as less than equal deserved rebuke, as did the caller’s ominous statement that “all can be replaced in America.” (The caller’s demographic data is also incorrect, for the record). One wonders if Wilson, a key voice in the DADT debate, actually found the comments offensive. He certainly hasn’t hesitated to call out things he hasn’t liked hearing in the past.