Apologize? For What?
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 10:30 pm Daniel J. Summers
Here recently, there has been a spate of apologies. Now, I believe in owning up for your actions when you are wrong, and I am training my children to do the same. But these mass apologies to which I'm referring are nothing more than meaningless “I feel your pain” drivel.
First up is the recent Senate apology for not outlawing lynching. For starters, there is no one in the Senate today who was around then and didn't “outlaw” lynching at the Federal level. Besides, lynching was already illegal, under assault and murder laws - whether backwoods Southern police departments prosecuted offenders is not the domain of the Senate (legislative branch - law enforcement is a task of the executive branch). The only thing this resolution does is bring up, yet again, the terrible part of Southern history that is lynching. It reminds some Americans, now in their eighties and nineties, of a time that they've worked hard to overcome and forget. With the Senate still dragging their feet on judicial confirmations, wasting their time on this meaningless document seems ludicrous. One pundit has an interesting take on it (although his view of whether it was “good” or not differs from mine) - he says that this resolution forced Senators to make a political choice. (I'm proud to say that one my senators, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), as well as Richard Shelby (R-AL) and both Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) did not put their names on this.)
Next up is Richard Durbin's comments regarding the military, and his subsequent statement that he termed an "apology." He has used the patented “if then” apology technique - if what I said offended you, then I'm sorry. It's hard to say when this came into vogue - he's certainly not the first to try to pass something like that off as an apology. He said what he said, and offered us a window into his soul, his beliefs. If he doesn't have the spine to stick up for his conviction, well… that probably makes him like 70%+ of the elected officials in Washington, I suppose. ScrappleFace had a great parody on Sen. Durbin's apology - the “first draft” is a lot closer to an apology than what he actually said!
This apologizing can really get inane and picky - a candidate for office in New York has now apologized because, in describing her civil rights work in the 1960's, referred to a police vehicle as a "paddy wagon." This is absolutely ridiculous. I'm glad our Founding Fathers didn't have such thin skin as their progeny has now developed - they would have demanded an apology from Britain, and while they were standing there with their hands on their hips, the British would have killed them all.
Mass apologies, and apologies over trifling little issues, are meaningless. The only good thing they do is make it easy to tell who is more concerned with feelings than with accomplishment. As we go through life, things happen that either offend us, hurt us, or make us mad. When faced with these circumstances, we have two choices; we can either allow it to keep us down, and focus on our own feelings, or we can use it as motivation to make our lives better. The rugged men who founded our country chose the latter, and so do I. What will you choose?