Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Debbie called Allen a Gentleman from Florida

Okay, I'm the first one to state, the description doesn't fit. However, in Congress there is a protocol and a book called "Robert's Rules of Order". I don't know who Robert was but I have often wanted to throttle him or her.

I used to sit with my father and watch the US Congress which is a process akin to watching paint dry. Why you ask? Procedure, my friends...infinite, slow porcedure.
"The House Chair recognises the Gentleman from Florida." No names were ever used and you had to squint at the little name tags on the desks to see who was speaking if you didn't know them. The whole process of not using names was to eliminate personal feuds and elevate the proceedings if not remind the person being recognized, or referred to, that they represented the people of that area and not themselves. It didn't matter how big or little the state, you were the representative in a formal meeting with the other representatives and you were all equal.

Thus, the proper address, which Debbie Wasserman used was: the Gentleman from Florida. If you got a few committees and terms under your belt, and there is a real number for this I just don't remember it, you become the Distinguished Gentleman.

Once you were elevated to Speaker, you became the Chair and the state was dropped because now you represented the entire Congress and your job was to maintain order and decorum not pose for the media.

I once asked my father, before I took a course in government, why they called each other by these obtuse titles and not their names. His answer was, "It takes too much time to say 'the thieving, lying, whoring son of *itch from ....'" He may have been right.

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