I want everyone to hear loud and clear that I'm going to be the president of everybody, whether they voted for me or not.
George W. Bush, January 2001
The unity of a nations spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual.
Adolph Hitler, March 1933
So, what moved you the most about Selects inaugural? Was it the compassion and the character, or the unity and civility?
Id answer the question myself, only I wasnt watching. So far cross your fingers Ive managed never to hear Selects voice or see his lips moving. This is an art I developed under his father, and I mean to perfect it in the next four years, if we live that long. At the first sight or sound of that smirking ape, the remote does its job.
A reader writes in to say that Im frantically bilious and bitter on this subject, and that I dont know the meaning of coup détat. I can only answer that Education Week is right around the corner Select and the boys will be fixing it in no time. Just hang on long enough and no words will have any meaning.
Take civility please! The dictionary defines it simply as courtesy or politeness, neither of which, historically, have had anything to do with American politics. You can look this up: The Continental Congress wasnt the love-fest its made out to be. The Founding Fathers were more like Founding Brickbats great big babies and sulkers, huge egos, everyone yelling and stomping off in a huff. I dont expect folks to know this anymore, so bamboozled have they been by multicultural claptrap and business-management blather. But when a Bush fundraiser says, The president-elect is an extraordinarily good unifier, she is not echoing an American political tradition.
In its current usage, civility was foisted upon us by corporate protocol and adopted as Goddess-given by social workers, educators and the Idiot Left. All groups use it for the same purpose: to stifle dissent. In the boardroom, civility means that, ultimately, no one challenges the leader, the system or the team. Thats exactly what it means in the schoolroom, too, and at the doctors office, on the telephone, and in the banking and insurance industries. Its more than your life is worth these days to be marked as having or being a personality conflict. It assumes you have a personality to start with a big liability to the bottom line. Character in a nation, sí! Character in a person, no!
Note that if you raise your voice or appear upset for any reason, however legitimate, no one in a civil society will speak with you or deal with you at all. Not until youve examined your anger, anyhow. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment, Select insists. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to share accomplishment. The New York Times gets all poetic about Selects alliteration community, chaos, commitment, accomplishment as if hed actually written his speech himself, which we all know he didnt. Heres how Select really speaks:
The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants, and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants. (New York Times, January 14.)
I would have to ask the questioner. I havent had a chance to ask the questioners the question theyve been questioning. (Press conference, January 8.)
I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure. (Associated Press, January 18. My thanks to Jacob Weisberg of Slate, who keeps a running list of Bushisms for the incredulous.)
Remember that civility applies only in actual human encounters meetings, say, or complaints where accurate information, a decision or even an opinion might make a difference. You wont see civility on the screen, for example on any of your screens or, for that matter, on the streets and roads. Road rage and air rage are morphing into cubicle-rage at the office, according to the Wall Street Journal, but lets not spoil the party. This is my culture for you! Ricky Martin shrieks from the Lincoln Memorial, letting fly two lies at once.
Note also how quickly the corporate media, in recent weeks, have adopted two articles of faith. This first is that the economy is tanking, which it may or may not be. The second and more insidious is that America is now a divided nation. There is a cultural divide. We are bitterly divided, two nations, etc. Note, finally, that the call is not to bridge this gap, if it even exists, but to put it behind us, to put it aside to erase it, in fact. This is a day to suspend political passions, Peter Jennings intones on ABC News, apart from absolute cynics. There are to be no Gaps in Amerika outside the mall.
My own brother called here last week to ask if I was serious about this fascism thing, and I answered: No one ever is. Select was sworn in by the same Supreme Court justice who handed him the presidency, so when he says, Sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent but not a country. We do not accept this, and will not allow it who can argue with him?