[Letters] Decorum missing in Assembly

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[Letters] Decorum missing in Assembly



Courtesy is the most important etiquette to maintain in the political scene. It has been a given for centuries to give one’s utmost respect even to opponents.

In today’s political world, however, courtesy seems to be the last thing on politicians’ minds.

Since it is so easy for a debate to turn horribly violent, people have for ages emphasized manners in public discussions.

Ancient Greeks prevented speakers from directly attacking opponents. Officials of the Chinese imperial courts never overtly attacked their adversaries, at least not during formal discussions. British Parliament emphasizes decorum over everything else.

By keeping discussions civil, politicians have stopped overt displays of hostility and have kept violence from breaking out in tense situations.

It seems as if today’s politicians are starting to stray from this tradition. Many outrageous incidents have occurred in the last few years to suggest that decorum in the political arena is deteriorating.

Take for instance the outburst of South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, a Republican, on Sept. 9 last year. In a joint session of Congress, Rep. Wilson shouted out “You lie!” during President Obama’s speech on health care reform.

Any way one looks at this incident, it is plainly unacceptable and distasteful. It is one thing to insult one’s fellows, but it is a completely different thing to insult one’s own commander in chief. If it is any consolation, Rep. Wilson was soundly rebuked by both parties of Congress and was required to submit a formal apology.

Another example would be the near constant violence in the Korean National Assembly. Whenever a major bill is being discussed, there is bound to be a fistfight or two happening in the building. This type of behavior is so rare and unreasonable that it was reported on the BBC News.

Sadly, it seems as if the politicians have learned nothing. Even while the country suffers from numerous problems, namely the economic depression, National Assembly members cannot work out a budget proposal that should have been completed weeks ago.

The name-calling and brawls that are happening at the capitol seem to have ignored basic courtesies.

It is sad that politics have sunk so low. It is necessary for one to show respect to one’s peers, and it is simply disgraceful to insult and assault a peer. Someone who dares to do anything that even resembles disrespect in a political stage must be thrown to the lions.

Andrew Song, Seoul International School
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