Must we now prove that we are in favor of civility?

Well, I am, of course.

I expect gentlemen to rise when a lady enters the room. I always give me seat on the bus to older ladies, though I of late I can see them thinking, “What is this grizzled old bat doing giving me her seat? Do I look that awful?”

 Still, I hope I have sufficiently demonstrated civility bona fides because now I am going to tell you that I think the current Civility Crusade is a crock. “Oh, do shut up,” is its message.  And this message, Sisters and Brothers, is directed, at us, dissenters from the liberal dominance.

Victor Davis Hanson had a great piece (all his pieces are great!) on the theme last week:

…the calls for a general toning down of rhetoric translate far more into a toning down of both an effective media opposition and a rising political obstruction to the Obama agenda. “Can’t we all get along?” in essence means, “Can’t we all just keep quiet and keep going on with the big-government, agreed-on politics of the last fifty years?” 

Stanley Kurtz has a piece on National Review’s The Corner that talks about how the Tucson tragedy is being exploited to silence conservatives. The latest twist is the claim appears to attempt to get Glenn Beck off the air by blaming him for threats on a leftist academic featured on his show. Kurtz notes:

It is extraordinary that conservatives should be charged with stirring up violence at a moment when Piven, in an editorial in The Nation, has called for an American movement of “strikes and riots” on the model of the one recently seen in Greece. The anonymous threats against Piven are reprehensible. I condemn them in the strongest terms. Yet it is not conservatives but Piven and The Nation who advocate violence. Neither Piven nor The Nation should be forcibly silenced, but they certainly ought to be criticized. Instead, The Nation is leading the effort to silence those who have rightly condemned Piven’s call for rioting in America.  

Nobody decent wants name calling and vitriol in politics. But don’t confuse vitriol (a favorite word of the New York Times of late) and justifiably heated political debate. We have always had a tradition of raucous politics in the United States. Be nice, but don’t fall for the Civility Crusade.