Out of Order

I wish I had known about this association and others like it when I was in college. I was student senate parliamentarian for a year; as someone who enjoys rules, protocol and the ins-and-outs of procedures, and who is interested in politics, these seminars and publications would have neat to experience.

In light of Rep. Wilson’s outburst last week during the president’s address, I’ve been watching some videos and reading reports about incidents in parliamentary bodies in other countries. Compared with some of the goings-on in these other bodies, Wilson’s behavior seems quite tame. Now, all the coverage and commentary on his outburst and subsequent apology have distracted from the substance of President Obama’s address. I swear, we have the national attention span of a fruit fly.

This is not to defend Wilson, however. Cultural expectations are the key here; if he were a British or Australian MP, his comment might have been within the bounds of protocol–even if not quite factually accurate. However, the rules of decorum generally understood in the US Congress made his comments disrespectful, and he was right to apologize.

Ever heard of this incident on the Senate floor?

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, transplanted to Pennsylvania...lived and taught in Eastern Europe for six years…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
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2 Responses to Out of Order

  1. thinkhardthinkwell says:

    Oh, and who can forget the best example of legislative obstruction in the Bible: Paul before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23:6-8).

  2. Thom says:

    Wow! We could have hired a parliamentarian consultant. That would have been fantastic for PBU!

    Anyway, since I can’t find your email address, I wanted to just leave a comment about Front Porch Republic (http://frontporchrepublic.com). It is a site I frequent and I think you’d enjoy it.

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