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Michelle Gets Into the Civility Act

The new call for civility by President Obama, who waged a throughly uncivil and demeaning 2010 campaign against Republicans, is now becoming the new White House brand.

It seems Michelle is joining in, counseling all of us to use the Tucson shootings as a touchstone for changing our behavior, being nice to each other, and offering out children “some valuable lessons.” Here is a quote from an “An open letter to parents following the tragedy in Tucson,” which she produced yesterday

As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard.  It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones.  It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter. And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.

We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis.  And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.

We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us.  We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.

We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families.  We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

These lessons in civility are all a little much from the man who told Hispanics to vote against their “enemies” and the woman who became proud of her country in 2008.

I hope the lecturing is going to stop. “Anyone who enters public life” does so for a variety of reasons. Service may be one, a quest for power another. I don’t know about you, but I’m not training my children to trust politicians. I want them to be respectful, but with a healthy dose of skepticism.

This nation is a raucous bunch who like to argue, and sometimes feelings get hurt. We shouldn’t threaten each other, we should try not to take it way too far, but I’m not for neutering debate. We should be passionate, clever, and lob a few stinging barbs at out opponents.

In some ways, our debate is too polite. Just find some video, if you will, of the House of Commons, with its witty back and forth, and compare it to the droning and pontificating in our House of Representatives.

Conservatives dominate talk radio and are probably more prevalent on the blogs, where the toughest rhetoric comes into play. My grave concern is that the new “civility” is a stalking horse for shutting up the right. Conservatives are not naturally more stinging the liberals. But they have been more aggressive about getting into media that are forums for assailing the platitudes of the polite.

So what fits with the new civility? PBS. What doesn’t? Rush Limbaugh.

So let’s leave speech alone, and not use these horrible events to start a national lecture that could be used to clip the right wing.

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15 Responses to Michelle Gets Into the Civility Act

  1. Who asked her opinion, on anything? and where does she get off lecturing parents about anything?
    If she believes the drivel she writes, perhaps she might send it to the NYT, MSNBC pundits, CBS/NBC/ABC, WashPo, HuffPo, et al, and ask them to more tolerant.

  2. Good piece, Keith. Come December when the media gins up “the biggest stories of 2011,” how many outlets that don’t have a conservative bent will say the 4th estate’s reaction to events in Tuscon was dead wrong?

  3. “We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.”

    The event is Arizona occurred partly because we are too tolerant of the threats of the mentally ill — we let them exercise their “right” to impose their disease on their families and the rest of us, until some one or more of us die at their hands.

    This is not a matter of hugs, tolerance, or gun laws. It is the result of ending long-term residential care for the mentally and making it impossible to commit persons against their will.

    Figures that MOO would make this situation into a pc bedtime moment with hugging the kiddies.

  4. Let’s see, MO is an expert gardener, dietician,and child psychologist. Now she is the new Emily Post, maybe even Mother Theresa’s successor !
    Between the Botox sessions, shopping, and time with her hair stylist, makeup artist, and manicurist, however does she find the time ? She probably studies hard while on vacation.
    I guess she must have passed the “mom in chief” baton to Granny.
    All that sacrificin’ is sure exhaustin’.

    • Remember when she said “the butlers are sweatin'”? Oh, now I am just mean. Still, our paper printed her little essay–so now everyone in Phoenix knows how to tell their children they won’t be killed at the store this morning.

      • Ever wonder why the Newspaper business in AZ is heading toward the end of the line? Liberal views in a conservative state could be one of the answers. Yesterday’s political cartoon showing MrsPalin with the barrel of a gun pointing out of her mouth was just plain evil.

        • Good old Benson. I complain about him everyday to the editor (we’re pen pals). Apparently this is free speech or something. I think Benson just hates women–and I know he hates Palin.

  5. I reread this little piece of “Wisdom by Michelle” (can a life-style book be in the offing) and JUST realized the meaning on this line: “We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families.”

    I had wondered why she was suddenly talking about military families — now, I see that she is talking about POLITICIANS!!!! She’s talking about BOO and Malia, and Sasha and of course HERSELF and the “tremendous sacrifices” made by the good Obamas to save our nations.

    I think I a migraine coming on — toxic exposure to NARCISSISM!