I like that Martin Luther King slammed interventionism and warned that it would backfire, but, even more, I like King’s emotional oratorical style. Let’s consider, in honor of Martin Luther King day, a different viral video featuring similarly impassioned oratory.
In this excerpt, a 13-year-old girl, speaking at a World Hindu Council rally, slams Pakistan for being complicit in terror attacks against India and implores Indians to terrify Pakistan into changing its ways.
What irks me about the response this video has generated isn’t that many Americans label the girl a fanatic – it’s the reason they do. It’s doubtful that many of those who find her openness to nuclear retaliation abhorrent would hear the same fanaticism in the voice of Harry Truman calmly justifying the bombing of Hiroshima.
What’s more likely is that the girl’s positions are found to be fanatical because of the fiery call-and-response style with which she presents them. In our hypersensitive society, people who yell about politics are crazy. Discussing politics is discouraged in polite company precisely because reasonable people keep their opinions about such things to themselves. Those who disregard this convention, let alone passionately, run the risk of offending someone – which, in the modern West, means committing a sort of assault.
Too easily, we let passion itself tell us that a speaker is mentally unstable or his positions immoral. No American political leader today could comfortably speak in King’s style to so wide an audience. So complete is the boring, tip-toeing nature of our political discourse that we’ve been robbed even of banter befitting the UK’s House of Commons– here, yelling a mere two insulting words in Congress is racist.