Friday, January 21, 2011

CIVILITY

There is the old saying, “Vanity, vanity, thy name is woman.” One invites universal condemnation from women and liberals when dredging up something as politically incorrect as that but the phrase didn’t originate here. Some have attributed it to Shakespeare but actually he seems to have used “frailty” instead of “vanity,” which would put him in even greater risk of life and limb today, when the fair sex is threatening the loopy Congress if it or the prexy or maybe even Biden doesn’t put the gals into combat. Defense Secretary Gates would probably go for it since he came to his job from the halls of academia, where common sense is nonexistent.

All of that as an intro to the new saying: “Civility, civility, thy name is democrat!” President Obama’s approval ratings have been a problem lately, meaning that he needed for a crisis not to be wasted in behalf of improving his image, translated “chances of success in 2012.” It’s never too early to start on the campaign trail, and…well, the prexy actually has never left the campaign trail started in 2006, but that’s a whole other story. He himself has indicated a new push and has already been stationing the campaign lapdogs in their proper environs, with fund-raising the main priority, as proven by the guest list at the huge state dinner for China’s Hu the other evening. It was “black tie,” so Hu showed his deep respect for the prexy by wearing a blue tie sans a tuxedo, opting for a business suit instead.

The rescuing crisis not to be wasted, of course, was the “Tucson Massacre,” created by Jared Loughner. Starting with or perhaps by the remarks by the on-scene sheriff before he even knew anything much about what happened, the consensus developed among the prexy’s pals was that Loughner was driven to slaughter by mean-spirited republicans like Limbaugh and Beck and (gasp) Palin, so the whole gang came up with the notion of civility as the cure-all for everything from rape to murder to even mean-spiritedly insisting that policemen act stupidly…then quietly discarded the latter for obvious reasons.

Homeland Security Boss Napolitano actually had already set the tone when she erased gruesome-sounding “terrorism” from department verbiage last year and replaced it with the gentler “man-caused disaster.” Murder is recognizably bad but a disaster can be just any old harmless thing like a flood, for instance. Who gets exercised about a flood, especially when it’s in the next state? The prexy’s guys didn’t pick up on that then – bailouts and TARPs being on everyone’s mind – but then, of course, there was no crisis connected to her stroke of genius at that time, so the opportunity actually was not wasted.

As it turned out, Loughner apparently was neither a conservative nor a listener to talk radio. He just happened to be crazy or mean or both, and the sheriff with the big mouth admitted later that the law enforcement folks were quite familiar with Loughner, as were the policepersons on the college campus from which he had been expelled during the fall semester for doing scary things and told not to attempt a return until he’d been confirmed by the proper authority as not being crazy.

That didn’t stop the campaigning for a return of civility, however, as if there had ever been much, to start with. A bit of research into political language back in the days of the founders and even through the nineteenth century (a little milder in the 20th, perhaps) reveals that political speech today amounts to a church-sermon by comparison. Indeed, not long ago, Senate Majority Leader Reid declared publicly that then President Bush was both a loser and a liar. Nobody thought about civility then – especially the democrats – and just figured “business as usual.”

One should take the opportunity, if possible, to bet that President Obama will make civility the foundation of his state-of-the-union address (hopefully three-fourths shorter than last year’s). One shouldn’t be surprised if his campaign slogan becomes REMEMBER TUCSON…sorta like remembering the Alamo and Pearl Harbor. To exhibit its collective silliness, some members of Congress have agreed to sit side-by-side with their opposite numbers (instead of on opposite sides of the aisle) in a sort of Rodney King “can’t we all just get along” attitude. There will for sure be warm-fuzzy hugs all around as the solons express their conviction that the hoi polloi is too dumb to figure out this charade.

Ah…CIVILITY…democrat is thy name. You have become the rallying cry against all those meanies who insist upon driving the Loughners of this cruel world into spasms of murderous chaos, usually by just telling the truth. Just like at the Tucson memorial service that the prez turned into a campaign event, there might even be free T-shirts for those who are ready to fight and scream and holler and whoop for CIVILITY!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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