Bare Knuckle Politics: More Than a Metaphor
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:
At Calderon's inauguration yesterday, Mexican Congress members shouted each other down, pummeled each other with fists, and even clocked each other with chairs. But these were certainly not the first lawmakers to fall prey to their passions. In 2004, after a close presidential race, member of Taiwan's legislature came to blows over an election recount law. In 2005, Russia's flamboyant politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, started a fisticuffs in the DUMA after spitting at another member.
And lest we think Americans are above this kind of thing, we remind you of the caning of Charles Sumner, the abolitionist senator from Massachusetts back in 1856. Sumner had called for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, and he denounced one of its authors, Andrew Butler of South Carolina, as a pimp whose harlot was slavery. Butler's nephew, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks, confronted Sumner in the Senate chamber when it was nearly empty and beat him over the head with a cane.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.