Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Larry Craig and Apologies

Some days I just don't feel like blogging.

Most of those days I spend reflecting on news I've already dedicated myself to (have you ever felt the struggle between the sickness of ending a sentence with a preposition and that sickness not quite overriding the proper desire for the awkward structure that would make it "proper" English? Kind of like that).

Let's talk about apologies.

An apology is, in a sense, asking for forgiveness for some sort of trespass ("as we forgive those who trespass against us"...totally not raised Catholic). Unfortunately, most of our public officials and just about everyone who apologizes on the television has been a horrific example of what an apology should be.

When watching Saturday's "apology" resignation of Larry Craig, I was looking for a weeping James Orsen Bakker. Instead I got the standard "apology:"
  • I did something
  • It was not wrong
  • I'm sorry if decisions and opinions hurt people
This is what an apology should be:
  • I did something wrong
  • What I did hurt people
  • I apologize for my actions and for hurting those people
In America, we've gotten used to the "I'm sorry if something hurt people."

This is not an apology. We need to recognize that.

This is the equivalent to the linguistic passive voice, object deleted: "A meeting was held and it was decided that all Americans are terrorists unless explicitly stated by an unaccountable government body."

Larry Craig did not apologize; he barely resigned; he did not cry.

Where does our accountability live, if not in America, if no longer in our language?

Why aren't we sorry anymore?

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