Somewhere along the line, being a liberal meant abandoning assertiveness. Liberal became synonymous with indecisive and weak. Part of that association, I’m sure, comes from the fact that liberals recognize that complex problems seldom have easy answers, and that the truth requires complex weighing of ideas that are often contradictory. That being said, liberals have values, and yet “values voters” are conservative. Liberals have families, and yet “family values” are conservative ones. Liberals love their countries enough to work hard to improve them, and yet “patriotism” has been reduced to the most banal flag-waving support of whatever conservative leader is in power.
Which is why, whenever I see someone take a spirited defense of liberalism, it makes me cheer a little. Especially when it is delivered so… directly:
New Democrat MP Pat Martin aired his frustrations with the Conservatives — and one online critic — with an expletive-filled tantrum on Twitter while he was sitting in the House of Commons.
“This is a f—ing disgrace . . . closure again. And on the Budget! There’s not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot s—,” Martin tweeted Wednesday night when Conservative MPs shut down parliamentary debate on the bill implementing the spring federal budget.
“F— you,” Martin (Winnipeg Centre) then replied to someone on Twitter who called him a socialist with a foul mouth.
The curse words travelled quickly through the Twitterverse on Wednesday night — making Martin’s name a trending topic for Canada on the social media site — but the MP told the Star on Thursday he would not delete or apologize for tweeting about his troubled feelings.
“I don’t apologize for that. I don’t retract it. It is a f—ing disgrace, what they’re doing,” Martin said of the multiple times Conservatives have limited debate on bills this fall. “They’re running roughshod over everything that is good and decent about our parliamentary democracy and Canadians should be outraged and their elected representatives on their behalf should be outraged.”
So yes, it’s a little undignified for a sitting member of Parliament to swear at trolls on the internet. Naughty man. What fuels Mr. Martin’s (justifiable) rage, however, should be the thing that we are actually focussing on. The whole point of having a Parliamentary system is to provide debate and speak truth to power. It allows us to pass the kind of bills I was praising this morning – tempered with the best of all possible arguments. By shortcutting debate, as the Republican North Party has been doing on a regular basis, we move away from a parliamentary system and into rule by fiat. It turns Parliament into an expensive, noisy sham institution, where the appearance of democracy trumps the actual spirit of democracy.
But because we are polite Canadians, we can’t tolerate rude language, right? Surely he will get disciplined by his party leadership for his actions?
Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel called his language inappropriate, but backed up his message. “His language was not appropriate and could have been offensive to some,” Turmel said in a statement emailed by her spokesman, Karl Bélanger. “That said, the Conservatives’ actions are not appropriate in a democracy and offensive to all Canadians.”
Boom! Oh yeah, you’re concerned about a little cussing, eh? When’s the last time cussing tried to download a multi-billion dollar boondoggle onto provinces that don’t want it, with the likely outcome of increasing crime – the very thing it claims to prevent? Maybe we should be focussed on things that matter instead of who said a bad word on the internet? By the way – did you hear that there are nekkid ladies on there too? Travesty!
Hit me with another blast of the good stuff, MP Martin!
“Yeah, you’re right,” Martin sighed when asked the question. “But I could (tell) from the tone this was some religious right activist kind of activist who are hounding me quite regularly and I was just in no mood to take any guff, I guess, but no, you’re right, I probably shouldn’t have told whoever that guy is to f— off.”
Religious trolls – providing blog fodder since 10,000 BC.
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