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Odd Wisconsin Archive

The Political Dustbin

Dateline: Madison, sometime in the early '90's (1890's, that is). This past week we've witnessed more than the usual amount of partisan nastiness here in Madison, as legislators, lobbyists, and editorial writers went after one another at the Capitol and in the press. A century ago things were just as bad, as this reminiscence reveals. In those days, when the opposition spoke too sharply - - or just too long -- a cascade of dust and debris could be released on a legislator's head from the ceiling of the chamber. This apparently helped to restrain the self-righteous pontificating that prevailed back then among politicians. In ancient times, dumping ashes on one's own head was even a sign of humility and contrition. If the political partisanship that marked this year's elections continues to increase, perhaps voters (or the Capitol staff?) will want to resurrect the practice described here.
:: Posted in Bizarre Events on November 19, 2004
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