UnNews:United States abandons handshakes
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27 March 2011
The late radio commentator Paul Harvey first proposed, decades ago, that Americans exchange salutes rather than germs. It never caught on as, in the 1990s, communicable diseases were minor and loathing of the military was major. Now, formerly unthinkable diseases stream across the nation's open borders, and occasional exotic germs such as SARS are frequently in the headlines.
Still reluctant to express open support for the military, however, Mr. Obama is proposing not that Americans adopt the military salute, but that they raise a middle finger in greeting. He explained, through a TelePrompTer, that it was perfectly apt that Americans, to better protect themselves against the bird flu, switch over to giving one another "the bird."
In Congress, Speaker John Boehner signaled that the move would win bipartisan support. "Frankly," he said, "it is the first Obama initiative that has come in under $10 billion and doesn't involve hiring new IRS auditors."
He stated that the new gesture, which lets people greet one another without risking contagion, is the crowning result of the "new era of civility" following the shooting of a Congresswoman in January in Tucson, Arizona. He illustrated the new social custom by using it on passing colleagues, as he said he wanted to be one of the first in Congress to try it out. Reactions were mixed.
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