The Disgruntled Dylanologist

All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.

‘Shot of Love’: Joe Wilson or Barack Obama— who’s the real Judas in this Dylanesque smack down?


Don’t need a shot of heroin to kill my disease,
Don’t need a shot of turpentine, only bring me to my knees,
Don’t need a shot of codeine to help me to repent,
Don’t need a shot of whiskey, help me be president.

It’s been a brutal summer for health care. Yet despite the barrage of lawyers, guns and money that have been thrown atop this increasingly combustible pyre, the debate rages on.

At the center of that debate is Barack Obama, the man whose central campaign plank in the recent presidential election was to bring affordable health care to all Americans. Judging from amount of animosity the discussion has engendered, if anyone needs a shot of love right now it’s Barack Obama.

Appearing before a joint session of Congress last Wednesday, President Obama laid out his case for universal health care. It was the first time the country has had an opportunity to hear the president get into the nuts and bolts of his proposal. And considering it very well may be his last, there’s little question Obama chose his words with infinite precision.

The same, however, cannot be said for Joe Wilson, the Republican Congressman from South Carolina, who impetuously yelled “You Lie!” when Obama said extending health care to all Americans would exclude the insuring of illegal immigrants.

And while Wilson’s contempt for Obama may have caught America by surprise, those diligent Dylan fans in observance were struck by something else entirely— the eerie resemblance to the infamous 1966 concert in Manchester, England, at which a disgruntled folk fan called Dylan, “Judas!” for ‘betraying’ the movement.

And while Keith Butler’s comment certainly struck a chord in the otherwise unflappable singer, Dylan’s indignant, ireful response was pitch perfect— “I don’t believe you. You’re a LIAR!!” he snarled before quickly turning to The Hawks and defiantly instructed them to “Play fucking loud!”

It was in that moment that the folk singer became a rock icon.

In the aftermath of last Wednesday’s incident, the press has had a field day. Sadly, however, the debate over health care has gotten lost in the weeds.

Perhaps this was Wilson’s plan all along. As a former immigration lawyer, Wilson knows all too well that while the president’s bill expressly forbids insuring those who are in this country illegally, just because illegal aliens don’t have a health care option available to them doesn’t preclude their employers from purchasing it for them—driving up the costs for all Americans.

But by vilifying Wilson in the press—effectively casting the South Carolina congressman as Judas—we have all been misled.

In the end, it just may be Obama—not Joe Wilson—who ends up playing the role Judas as a result of this unfortunate incident.

Our 9-month love affair with the poised 44th President of the United States has made us susceptible, vulnerable and over-trusting, not only of him personally, but it has forced us to turn a blind eye to the lurking, malevolent agenda of those who will soon be an integral part of the larger health care debate.

Obama very well may have the best interest of the millions of uninsured Americans in this country. The vultures, however, are circling. And the moment we give Barack Obama the unconditional love he so desperately craves by passing his legislation without thoroughly vetting it, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies and the malpractice lawyers will descend on us like the Roman guards in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Joe Wilson may no longer have a place at the table as a result of his ruefully inappropriate comment. His ‘betrayal’ of the president, however, has taught us all a valuable lesson:

It’s one thing to admire the men and women who lead us; falling in love with them is, however, the kiss of death…

Doctor, can you hear me? I need some Medicaid.

I seen the kingdoms of the world and it’s makin’ me feel afraid.
What I got ain’t painful, it’s just bound to kill me dead
Like the men that followed Jesus when they put a price upon His head.
I need a shot of love, I need a shot of love.

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September 13, 2009 Posted by | Disgruntled, Dylanologist | , , , , , , | Leave a comment