Japanese Parliament Debate on Pacifism Devolves Into Epic Brawl
This is just the latest in a long line of political throwdowns around the world.
Contentious bills meant to lift post-World War II restrictions on the Japanese military’s ability to fight abroad set off WWE-style shenanigans in Japan’s upper house of Parliament on Thursday. As reported by the New York Times, the set of bills had been debated ad nauseam and it was late, and apparently some legislators had just had it. “Opposition politicians tried to prevent voting by piling on top of the committee chairman and wresting away his microphone,” reported the Times.
After the fracas was seen live on Japanese television, the bills were passed. The Times reported that opposition leader Tetsuro Fukuyama bemoaned the “violent way” the bills were passed and said Japan’s “democracy is dead.”
Fukuyama is probably wrong about that. There’s a great tradition of legislators the world over debating with their fists once the practice of parliamentary debate fails, and their governments keep chugging away long afterwards. It’s such a tradition in some places, there were enough videos to make a compilation.
This video, according to its YouTube page, features fights between lawmakers from Japan, South Korea, India, Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan and Macedonia. A beautifully composed photo of a fight in the Ukrainian parliament has even been used to illustrate the Golden Ratio, the sequence of numbers consisting of the sum of the two previous numbers “found in nature and has long been a standard of beauty in Western art and architecture,” according to Neatorama.
Missing from the compilation and contemporary news is any news of physical fights in the United States congress—but the US was simply ahead of the game. In 1856, Representative Preston Brooks took issue with words from Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner regarding Brooks’s relative, South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler. Brooks marched up to Sumner and said, “You’ve libeled my state and slandered my white-haired old relative, Senator Butler, and I’ve come to punish you for it.” Then Brooks beat Sumner with a can until the cane splintered into pieces. Brooks was fined $300 and he resigned from his seat. Sumner took the years to recover before he went back to the Senate.
There’s still hope for anyone who’d like to see modern American politicians straight up duke it out sometimes — members of the presidential campaign staffs for Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio allegedly went at it in a Michigan bar around the same time Japan’s parliament was mixing it up across the sea.
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