Beware of sudden and apparently reasonable “calls for civility.” That pathetic mantra is usually voiced by a liberal administration and its supporters when criticism mounts that they are taking the country too far to the Left — like the Clinton implosion in 1993 or Obama today. I fear “civility” does not mean one should not write novels or produce movies contemplating murdering George Bush — that’s sort of an understandable agitprop art. “Civility” does not mean the New York Times should not give discounts to run ads in wartime like “General Betray Us.” That’s needed dissidence. Civility does not suggest that a Sen. Durbin, or Sen. Kerry, or Sen. Kennedy not use inflammatory language that compares our own troops or personnel to terrorists, Nazis, Pol Pot, Stalinists, or Saddam Hussein’s torturers; that most certainly is not uncivil. And it was certainly not impolite for Rep. Stark to call President Bush a “liar.”
“Civility” does not mean that we should not spew hate at anti-war protests; that’s grassroots popular protest. It doesn’t mean that we should not employ Nazi and fascistic labels to tar the President of the United States like John Glenn or Al Gore or Robert Byrd did. “Civility” does not mean that a shrill Hillary Clinton should not scream that the Bush administration is trying to silence critics, or suggest that the commanding general of an entire theater was lying to Congress in ways that require a “suspension of disbelief.” That’s needed pushback.