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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Also, I’m happy to see you referring to yourself as a liberal rather than a libertarian these days.
I haven’t referred to myself as a libertarian in… gosh… maybe 6 years? I flirted with “socially liberal, economically centrist” for a while, then quit the equivocating and decided on liberal for convenience’s sake. My definition of what that means is probably a little different from yours, but our discussions have led me to believe we agree on about 95% of the things.
I love it! Now if only the conservatives would actually listen!
Pat Martin rocks. The media is a joke. Where is the outrage that the Conservatives treat Parliament like a pesky mosquito that annoys them while they try to ruin the country and shit? A fucking disgrace is right. But oh no, let’s be sure that no one says fuddle duddle out of turn. On twitter.
For those of you not familiar with Canadian politics, Ibis3 has just won infinity internets by making a “fuddle duddle” joke.
I loved the “I probably shouldn’t have told whoever that guy is to f— off.” Swearing in an apology for swearing. Teh awesome!
People just don’t get Twitter. If someone offends you, UNFOLLOW them. But on the other side of the coin, if someone harasses or heckles you, don’t tell them to f-off. Just block ’em.
Every person who confided to me that they were shocked by MP Martin’s language heard about it on the radio or read it in the newspaper. Not a single one was following him on Twitter. Ugh!! We weren’t following him before, but we’re following him now!
It’d probably be easier to say that some people just don’t get choice. If you’re offended by a tv show, movie, music, article, game, radio show etc, just do something else. It’s been an option forever and many people still don’t get it
He told those tone trolls right. Rock on.
Honestly, all governments would be better if those in power told people to fuck off more often. Both because some people need to fuck off, and because actual mature goddamn adults realize that the entire concept of “bad words” is fucking idiotic. I would like to live in a country run by mature goddamn adults.
Good for Pat Martin. He may be a bit over-the-top at times (this isn’t the first time he’s made national headlines because of something he said), but it’s good that he has a seat in Parliament.
On a personal side-note, he was my MP back when I lived in Winnipeg a few years ago. Although I don’t normally vote NDP, I did vote for him. Granted, my reasons for doing so were pretty simplistic – the Liberals didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in my riding and I didn’t want the Tories to win.