Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The Evolution of Political Correctness
I awoke at 2AM this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I turned on C-Span and began watching England's weekly parliamentarian session. If you watch C-Span at all you might have been taken aback by the rowdiness of these sessions as the leaders of the Labor and Conservative parties debate the various worthiness of a particular national issue.
As each party leader rises to make a point he is greeted by jeers and cheers from parliamentarians. This is a bit jarring since most Americans perceive the British as extremely polite people, folks who value courtesy in the public arena, whether it is patiently waiting in line at the bank, or filing into a show on the West End.
So, when these British leaders are verbally jousted in the hallowed halls of Parliament it is something you would not expect.
Equally shocking are fist fights that break out on the floor of legislative assemblies in Asia. It is not uncommon to see Taiwanese legislators mounting the stage and pummeling a speaker who has said something that roused their ire. I've seen these violent outbreaks in the legislative halls of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and even China. They are often featured on the last minute trailers of our evening news here in America. The ancient Confucian philosophies have fostered centuries of "behavioral modeling" throughout Asia, where outward politeness is highly valued as a cultural norm. So, when we westerners see this kind of explosive violence that breaks out among a country's leaders we are a bit shocked.
These spirited physical clashes don't happen in America anymore. We've become too "civilized" and politically correct. If you turn to C-Span today you'll see polite and gentle sparring between Democrats and Republicans as they address each other as "my esteemed colleague". There is no longer room for standing up for principle and displaying real anger over an opposing view. It's kind of like that World Wrestling Federation phoniness where the combatants pretend to be killing each other but are in fact just putting on a show for the suckers willing to buy the hype.
This wasn't always so. Back in May of 1856, as the issue of slavery began to heat up, and the Senate began to debate whether Kansas (and succeeding states entering the union) should be sanctioned as a slave state, Senator Charles Sumner stood up and condemned the proposal to allow Kansas into the union as a slave state. Sumner heaped specific scorn on two southern senators who were supporting slave state status for Kansas, Stephen Douglas and Andrew Butler. A friend of Butler's, Congressman Preston Brooks waited for the Senate to adjourn for the day. He then entered the old Senate Chamber and, using a wooden cane, beat Senator Sumner to a bloody pulp, inflicting injuries that Sumner never really recovered from.
Pardon me for saying so but I think America would be far better off if our current leaders in Congress brought some of that same principled passion in fighting for our national concerns. It wouldn't bother me a bit to see Kay Hutchinson bitch slap Nancy Pelosi around the speaker's dais. Or Barney Frank having his arrogant ass handed to him by a fiery John Boehner.
That won't happen though. Hell, just three years ago we had a southern Congressman loudly proclaim Obama a liar during Obama's State of The Union Speech. It didn't matter that the Congressman was correct; Congress in nonpartisan unison rose to condemn the breach in etiquette.
We Americans would be far better off if we had more passionate and principled leaders and far less cuddling up to lobbyists and each other. Political correctness is destroying us. A good ass whooping wouldn't hurt any of these good ole boys in Washington.