The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

My Attorney Insists I Offer My Most Sincere Apology

Posted by iusbvision on September 12, 2007

I am sorry, I was wrong. Does it really seem so hard? Remember when mom used to make you apologize to your sibling. It may have been a hard thing to do but that was supposed to teach us the lesson of how to be accountable for your actions. This is a lesson that seems to have been convoluted and lost in the lives of many high profile figures to the idea of damage control or self interest. The ironic part is that if these high profile people would just be honest in the first place, the damage would be far less severe.

I am talking about Larry Craig, Trent Lott and even Bill Clinton. All of them start with denial of the wrongs they have committed, and stop at nothing to avoid the blow to their careers. The truth is the truth, but we do not even see a shred of it from many of our public officials until they have no other choice. Even when many of our officials finally apologize, many still try to deny the truth, or the idea that they did anything wrong.

Let’s start with a recent case: Larry Craig. The Senator from Idaho was caught in a Minnesota airport bathroom using foot taping and other codes to solicit sex from an undercover police officer. The police officer was there to work an undercover sex sting set up.  Oops!

My point is not to focus on whether what he did was right or wrong (it was wrong) but on how he handled it afterwards. Craig first came out trying to say the police misconstrued his actions. We also found out that he had pled guilty to a lesser charge. His response was that he acted rashly and should have sought council before pleading guilty.

It was not until almost a week later that he had no other choice but to resign. Here is the part that bothers me the most:  “To Idahoans I represent, to my staff, my Senate colleagues, but most importantly, to my wife and my family, I apologize for what I have caused. I am deeply sorry. I have little control over what people choose to believe.” (emphasis mine) WOW, this guy has the audacity that even in his apology he puts it on what “people choose to believe.” This is by far one of the worst no-apology apologies ever!

In December of 2002 Senator Lott, the incoming majority leader, was celebrating the birthday of Senator Thurmond, who ran for president as a segregationist in 1948. While speaking at this event Lott made a remark about Thurmond’s run “We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years either.” 

The same guy went from saying this to just one week later saying “I apologize for opening old wounds and hurting many Americans who feel so deeply in this area…” Obviously not talking about himself. He started to end with “I’m not about to resign for an accusation that I’m something I’m not.”

Again, this is a horrible apology. He did not apologize for anything he did, just for the effect that what he did caused.  This is very similar to what Craig did. Are we seeing a pattern here?

Finally we end with the big one…former President Bill Clinton. I am sure everyone knows this story. Let me go straight to the main point. In January 1998 President Clinton strongly denied having sexual relations with Miss Lewinski.

He then spent the majority of the next year trying to play damage control. In the end, he had to discuss the ordeal eight times publicly. On December 11th, 1998 he said the following “What I want the American people to know, what I want the Congress to know, is that I am profoundly sorry for all I have done wrong in words and deeds.”

All definitions of the word “is” aside, (or any other disputed definition by the Clinton legal team) he directly lied to everyone at one point. It was bold, and he was caught.

My point is that our public officials know they have committed wrongs, and yet their first reaction is to lie about it, or articulate their words in a way that it was not their fault. The truth is the truth. I understand damage control, but it should never be at the cost of your integrity. The only time you even get the hint of an apology is when there is no way they can get away with their wrongful deeds.

In the end I wonder if these situations would have turned out better if each person had instead come out and publicly admitted the truth. I have no doubt that they would have. If they had told the truth then at least that aspect of their personal and public integrity would still be intact. Hey…if a five year old can tell the truth and be accountable for their actions, all of us should be able to.
Marcus Vigil

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