The 2009 Civies

Guest Post by Alan Gibson—

Somebody’s got to recognize conspicuously civilized behavior, decided civility advocate Alan Gibson, author of the twelfth annual list. And the 2009 CIVIES go to:

ERNIE HARWELL — The Washington, Georgia, native broadcast Detroit Tiger baseball for 42 years with such gentlemanliness that he actually befriended the grimly efficient Ty Cobb.

GENERAL STANLEY McCHRYSTAL — The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, tasked with suppressing the Taliban, observed that his job is to “convince people, not kill them.” A thinking man’s soldier if you ask us.

THE BEER SUMMIT — Harvard prof. and Cambridge cop hash out differences at White House. Now that the format’s established, try it out on health care.

CATHLEEN FALSANI— The Chicago Sun-Times columnist roams the globe in search off grace—”gracespotting” she calls it—and thus becomes its avatar.

TIMOTHY KELLER — Civility among competing faiths—in Manhattan? Minister Keller takes a pastoral tack, advocating quiet, respectful dialogue.

CAPTAIN “SULLY’ SULLENBERGER — After landing on the Hudson, he handled heroism as smoothly as he’d handled his aircraft.

THE CITIZENS OF TEL AVIV — The Israeli city’s sophisticated ambiance embraces cafés where Arabs and Israelis can meet and talk. Left to tolerant Tel Aviv, there could be hope.

CHRISTOPHER PORTER —  Operating near Palm Springs but world’s away, the California activist, 55, found Hidden Harvest, feeding hundreds with crops left unharvested.

THOMAS ARE — the courtly Georgia theologian posits that we can best neutralize the Taliban by sending phalanxes of teachers to Afghanistan. Wouldn’t it be nice to think so.

CAMERON BROWN and BRAD WESTCOTT — The Purdue University sophomores advertise “Free Compliments” and toss verbal bouquets to campus passersby. Sophomoric? Yeah, in the best sense.

Gibson is co-found of Americans for More Civility and a columnist for the Pickens County (Georgia) Progress as well as hosting TV’s Civility Hour on Comcast Atlanta. His phone contact: 770-893-2578.

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