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Jenice Armstrong: Needn't be obnoxious to be effective

OUTBURSTS of temper and displays of anger might not solve a dang thing, but as Americans we still expect a good flare-up every so often.

OUTBURSTS of temper and displays of anger might not solve a dang thing, but as Americans we still expect a good flare-up every so often.

I'm not saying that it's right when people lose control and flip out when they're mad about something but that it's a behavior we've come to expect. You see it all the time in athletics and on reality TV as people seemingly don't even try to suppress their outrage. Something strikes them wrong, then bam! they're all up in the other person's grill, so to speak.

And when the offended party doesn't react that way, something feels off. Again, I'm not saying it's right, just that's how it is. Take the disastrous Gulf oil spill which now we're being told could possibly drag on into the fall. Both critics and supporters of President Obama have taken him to task for keeping his trademark cool demeanor in response to the situation almost as much as his administration's handling of it.

Despite cries from the right as well as the left for the president to demonstrate more emotion, he has remained his usual restrained, no-drama-Obama self.

Personally, I'd like to see Obama ball up his fist and punch out the CEO of British Petroleum and then go after the other highfalutin BP screwups, not that it would do a thing to plug the leak.

It sure would feel good, though. But this is real life - not MTV's "Jersey Shore," on which people think they can and do get away with that kind of behavior.

Still, Obama's detached intellectual image has been hurting him in the polls - a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 69 percent rate the federal response to the crisis negatively.

As millions of gallons of oil pollute the Gulf of Mexico, destroying countless people's livelihoods and coating wildlife and beaches with oil, the fact that Obama hasn't unleashed a flood of fiery emotion unnerves some of us. How can he behave so calmly? Couldn't he at least curse someone or even punch a hole or two into the Oval Office plaster? Or maybe he could call another news conference and this time rage and carry on until he's red in the face.

We expect, even crave, visceral reactions when emotions run high.

That's why we were so taken aback by that Detroit Tigers pitcher who was pitching a perfect game, only to be denied by a bad call. To his credit, Armando Galarraga didn't throw a major hissy fit out there on the field the way many players in his situation would have. He didn't jump up in the umpire's face. He didn't let loose with a string of expletives. He didn't try to slug somebody. He didn't even flip umpire Jim Joyce the finger, which the ump probably deserved after bungling the call.

Even though Galarraga had just missed getting a rare place in baseball history through no fault of his own, all he did was flash a smile before returning to the mound to resume the game. He knew Joyce had goofed, but in the spirit of good sportsmanship and common sense, he stayed focused on what he was supposed to do.

It was an inspiring moment and a teachable moment. It wasn't lost on us, either.

We applauded Galarraga loudly for not giving in to his feelings, which I'm sure he had plenty of. We respect that kind of emotional control on the athletic field and we really should in other matters, including the political field, as well.

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