My best moments from the movie Lincoln (which I have now managed to see after many weeks of pining in Lagos) were the parliamentary sessions where lawmakers debated and offered their opinions on the proposed Thirteenth Amendment.
I have not yet seen the full movie Iron Lady, but the parts I have looked forward to the most (from what I’ve seen in the trailers) are the bombastic debate scenes in the British House of Parliament. It is unquantifiable, the pleasure of the spectacle: lawmakers jousting with their best verbal weapons to the loud cheers and jeers of their audience. No doubt like the Roman Senators that long ago predated them, the congressmen made language beautiful to hear, and its use (for ill or for good) pleasant to behold.
Here is one from the real life British Parliament
The example in the movie Lincoln was a little disconcerting for me to understand since the American Presidential system (as opposed to the British Parliamentary system) has made it such that debate in the House of Representatives – being deliberately representative – is now much more decorous than the movie portrayal. What happened in the intervening years? The loss of the power oratory? Political correctness after the many years of political assassinations? Laziness? What?
Here is another example from the Jamaican Parliament, sent to me by a friend:
Beautiful, isn’t it?
If I had a magic wand, I would turn all world democracies into Parliamentary systems, if only to squeeze out of their lawmakers (and thus representatives of the language and culture) the last juice of their lingual soul almost always laid bare in the moments of fiery legislative debates on the floor of the house. As per the United States, look no further to the present constitution of the Senate and the House of Reps. The last time one of them tried to interrupt the president with a two-word interjection, the whole country went into a collective apoplexy. (See Wilson, Joe).
As far as Nigeria is concerned, the last great hope for such grand language use is the former Rep. Patrick Obahiagbon (See below). Not half as flowery as the British Parliamentarians (but far more entertaining, and consistent than his fellow Reps in the Nigerian House), and sometimes wrong in the usage of the heavy words he had chosen as vessel for his bombastic performances, he carried the flag for as long as he could until he was voted out.
We should bring flowery back.
I thank Lincoln for this (however unintended) incentive.