The president has made much of civility lately, mostly in the area of speech. Even though he publicly sought “asses to kick” in the BP mess last summer and has affirmed that some policemen (in this case a white policeman, particularly) act stupidly, he has seen the need for other people, at least, to observe civility, defined as “civilized conduct.” Civilized is defined as “characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint.” Civility, then, is conduct characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint.
Speech, as affected by civility, would not involve remarks that are crude, racist, demeaning, vulgar, profane, etc., since such attributes, at least as judged by most folks, would not indicate civility, never mind the president’s description of the Pennsylvanians in 2008 as sort of gun-toting bible-thumpers on the lookout for illegal immigrants, and felt the need in Philadelphia to identify the “typical white person.” One waits with bated breath for him, in fairness to all, to identify the “typical black person” or the “typical person of any other color,” but so far he has demurred…civility, doncha know?
The president’s taste and refinement were exhibited recently during the Egyptian uprising when he phoned President Mubarak and simply told him to get out of Dodge and even sent a personal emissary over to tell him the same thing (not armed, of course, Wyatt Earp style). Said emissary went over, had the conversation, then told the world that Mubarak should stay the course, sort of fight it out at the OK Corral. The crowds won the fight and celebrated by raping the nearest typical white girl (CBS reporter), proving their taste and refinement to be beyond excellent since Prexy Bush had said he was with the people all the way.
Earlier, Obama was also with the Tunisian people all the way but probably didn’t phone up ben Ali, the Tunisian ruler, and tell him to take a hike…though there’s no way to know that. Ben Ali wound up in Saudi Arabia, where Obama did a spine-threatening 90-degree genuflection before the Saudi head honcho on his famous “apology tour” of 2009. Maybe he persuaded the Arabs to take in poor ben Ali, but in exhibiting restraint, civility-wise, the prez hasn’t requested, along with the “people,” that ben Ali be extradited back to the scene of his crimes…or has he? Who knows?
To his credit, Obama doesn’t seem to get into the Iranian affairs much, exhibiting the penultimate in civil grace and restraint, notwithstanding that he should be expected to be with the Iranian protesters all the way, especially since they die by the sword for just…well, protesting. Presumably, he hasn’t phoned Iranian President Ahmadinejad and advised him that the sands of Cancun are nice at this time of year and that there are plenty of mosques there…an exhibition of taste and refinement, sort of reaching out to maybe the “typical beheader.”
After all, Obama’s said he’s with the protesters of Wisconsin in their fight with their governor, though he hasn’t phoned the governor and suggested a new line of work that doesn’t involve capital gains taxes. During the campaign, he said he would march with the union folks but so far has probably had schedule conflicts…or maybe a game of HORSE with the guys. Anyway, who wants to march in Madison in the wintertime? Civility involves restraint, after all.
One would expect an uncouth, unrefined president to phone-up Qaddafi and tell him to either flee or the marines are coming to the Barbary Coast. In a dazzling display of civility, Obama has not meddled and suggested to that butcher that he avoid a “Little Big Horn,” where the “people,” with whom Obama identifies, are being slaughtered in the streets. Back in the day, President Reagan showed his civil restraint by bombing Qaddafi”s bedroom. Earlier in the 80s, Calypso Louie Farrakhan and his sidekick, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, had visited Qadaffi’s harems, so maybe that influenced Barack Hussein. Or, maybe it was the ghost of Jimmy Carter’s brother, Beer Barrel Billy, who visited Libya in the 70s and actually weaseled a loan from Qaddafi.
On the home front, Obama has shown his civility by completely reversing himself from campaign mode (called deceit by some un-civil folks, citing taste and refinement vis-à-vis lying) and reckoning that…yep…marriage is not just a “one-woman-one-man” thing after all, never mind the DOM Act of the 90s. Taste and refinement now condone two men or two women “getting it on” in strange ways, using their body parts for other than their intended uses for intake and exhaust, not to mention finagling governmental freebies. He claimed this to be his personal interpretation of the un-civil Constitution but has shied away since November from his post-inaugural comment regarding disagreements by saying, “We won.”
Some say the prez couldn’t pressure Qaddafi too much lest Americans be taken hostage but that didn’t seem to matter concerning Mubarak. This is what Qaddafi said in his famous (infamous) speech at the UN in 2009, “We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of the United States.” That might apply to the present situation…or not but, thankfully, term limits are in place.