March 04, 2007

Beware The Political-Apology Complex

I'm sick and tired of the "faux pas" ---> Blame ---> Demand an Apology ---> Apologize industry that passes for politics these days. I don't know about you, but I sure am sick and tired of it.

Kerry botches a joke badly but won't apologize because he didn't mean to botch the joke. Obama and McCain both botch a statement using the term "wasted" and both apologize for it. Hillary refuses to apologize for her vote, Edwards apologizes for his. Clinton apologizes to Africa, Virginia apologizes to African Americans. Hillary demands Obama apologize for something someone else said, Dean won't apologize for what Geffin said, but demands that conservatives, and Republican aspirants to the throne apologize for the comment of an acknowledged bomb thrower.

Everyone demands that their opposite in the political spectrum take responsibility for something that you may or may not agree with; may or may not have said and which may or may not reflect your beliefs. In other words, some of my political friends on the left expect me to take responsibility for, and no doubt apologize for the rantings of Ms. Coulter, only because I too am a conservative. Not too long ago, a commenter on my site demanded that I publicaly disassociate myself from a blog entry by another blogger who belongs to a group of bloggers that I belong to. How very dumb this has gotten.

Liberals, Democrats and progressives on Daily "Screw 'Em!" Kos say the nastiest things about Republicans and Republicans return the favor in far right wing blogs.

George Carlin used to do a riff on the 7 words you can't say on TV or Radio, and it was very, very funny, if somewhat ribald considering it was more than 30 years ago (no, I won't tell you what they are... this is a family blog - but you can Google them). But, today, you can use the foulest words and get a huge laugh and then immediate outrage from everyone that the word is applied to, but not from those that laughed... they thought it was funny. Coulters "Faggot" remark was laughed at, her political opponents demanded heads roll. Whoppie Goldberg told the President to keep his hands " of my bush" and the Republicans were outraged.

I'm beginning to think its a time to put a curse on both of their houses, both for being thin skinned and for demanding apologies. As if demanding, not asking for, not requesting but demanding an apology makes a dimes worth of difference. Had Mr. Dean demanded that Ann Coulter make the apology he would have still been wrong. It is John Edwards' job to demand an apology if he wants to, and I doubt very much if he wants an apology as he is using this to the max to raise funds..

Just as the Republicans got extra milage from the foul-mouthed antics of Whoopie Goldberg, so to are the Democrats getting milage from the foul-mouthed antics of Ann Coulter.

Of course, the funniest part of this whole thing (I'll be darned if I call it a controversy) is that Republicans are split over whether using the word Faggot a bad thing vs. those that want to take the high road. Those that believe homosexuality is a "choice" and an immoral one at that are saying "Bravo Ms. Coulter." those that don't think that this name calling has a place in the public arena regardless of their feelings about homosexuality are saying "Hey Coulter, shut up already." Much the same can be said for the Democrats. Some for demanding an apology, some for saying "Oh please!"

I'm not sure there was ever a day when politics was more gentle, but for darn sure it could be more appropriate than it is today. What are your thoughts?

Posted by GM Roper at March 4, 2007 05:56 PM | TrackBack

Yesterday, I wrote some reflections relating to this manufactured controversy over Anne Coulter's "f-word" bomb, but I think my title sums up my thoughts in a nutshell:

Time for the Adults to Step In

As I wrote:

One of the main reasons I’ve gravitated towards the Republican Party and conservatism in recent years is that, compared with the left and the Democratic party, these have been the adults in the room.

And in fact, our election results bear that out: people voted for the Republicans through the the 2004 election because they wanted adult leadership in this country. In 2006 the country rebelled - some because they were sick of listening to adults, and some because they felt the Republicans had shirked their adult responsibilities...

We continue more than ever to need adults running our nation and leading our political discourse. When conservatives start acting like adolescents, people turn away and our country suffers...we need to exercise discipline and stand for duty.

These apology round-robins are just a childish diversion, throwing sand at each other in the sandbox, while the Islamist wolves gather outside the fence, looking for entrance.

Posted by civil truth at March 4, 2007 07:59 PM

G.M., three different headers in three days.... Does the site have multiple personality disorder?

Posted by Woody at March 4, 2007 10:00 PM

After the Democrats had mastered the art of taking up offenses for themselves, they moved to taking up offenses for others, and then moved to taking offense for things that are not necessarily offensive.

In thinking about "taking up offenses for others," I did a web search and found very little. There are probably better search words on the topic. However, I did find this one link from a Presbyterian minister on taking up offenses, but not necessarily for those of others.

Jolly Blogger on Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov

Here are some good thoughts spoken by Father Zossima to Fyodor Pavlovitch on lying to oneself. I particularly appreciate his words about the taking up of offenses. I only have my own anecdotal experience to back this up, but it seems to me that most offenses are invented offenses, not actual offenses. In other words, we like being offended, so we take offense at things that were either not offensive, or if offensive, were not directed at us.
"Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offence, isn’t it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill — he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offence, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness."

Maybe others can find other quotes or wisdom on this issue.

Oh, yeah. That blogger is a University of Florida football fan, so I want to know when he will apologize for the way some Florida fans acted after the Auburn game.

Posted by Woody at March 5, 2007 08:17 AM

I've already given up on the Republican Party as representing conservatives in this country -- they have, with maybe a handful of exceptions, become a bunch of lazy, spineless, complacent, vote-pandering, PC politicians who differ from the Democrats only in that they purport to support opposing views.

While Republicans will probably continue to get my votes as the lesser of two evils, and only to cancel out votes from the left, they will receive no more monetary support until they straighten up and fly right. I see more good coming from making donations to groups like Move America Forward, who, unlike the Republican Party, mirror the beliefs of my fellow conservatives and myself, honor our military personnel and help increase the people's awareness of the true state of affairs re the war On Terror.

If these folks (both parties) spent 1/10th as much time and effort seeing to the needs of the nation like they are paid to do as they do playing these pedestrian political games, not only wouldn't they look as foolish and immature as they do, but they might actually deliver something along the lines of proactivity. As it now stands, we are paying them to fight among themselves while the country is reduced to being a victim of their 3 Stooges idiocy.

Posted by Seth at March 5, 2007 08:39 AM

Those that believe homosexuality is a "choice" and an immoral one at that are saying "Bravo Ms. Coulter."

And she was certainly pandering to this base. And I don't know why Howard Dean is demanding an apology. After all, Edwards *is* a trial lawyer... Heh!

Posted by e. nonee moose at March 5, 2007 10:37 AM

P.S. Woody's a faggot.

Posted by e. nonee moose at March 5, 2007 10:38 AM

Moose, I don't know why you singled me out, but calling me a faggot is like someone calling me a redneck. I just laugh. You can tell a real redneck by calling him one, and if he wants to fight about it, he probably is one. Same thing with this other name.

I really don't know about the "base" approving of the slur. Many people didn't laugh and those who did were divided between those who gave polite response to their speaker and those who had no problem with the remark--but, who are not representative of the majority of this so-called base.

If you notice problems posting comments, it's not me. The server is acting kind of queer.

Posted by Woody at March 5, 2007 12:51 PM

Chill, woody. Moose is having sport with you.

Nearly any offensive term can be put in a context that drains its offense. I don't know Coulter's context, but as no one has been arguing that, I assume she used the term as a low insult, as it has been taken. I wouldn't use the term myself.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at March 5, 2007 06:07 PM

AVI, I'm not offended by Moose's comment, and I don't want Moose to think so, either. But, isn't it funny that the Left is so silent on Bill Maher saying that it would be better if VP Dick Cheney were dead?

Posted by Woody at March 5, 2007 07:03 PM

The server is acting kind of queer.

OMG... John Edwards has infected the servers with his gay faggoty cooties. Oh noes!!!! LOLOLOL

Chill, woody. Moose is having sport with you.

Woody is the perfect straight man. (No pun intended.)

Bill Maher saying that it would be better if VP Dick Cheney were dead?

From (a name you righties can trust!) Bill's exact quote.

" But I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow"

Not quite the same thing as wishing Cheney was dead.

Posted by e. nonee moose at March 5, 2007 07:20 PM

Moose, take a look at the full reference to the quote, only part of which you gave:

What Maher did say on his show is: "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow ... I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.” [emphasis added]
Kinda changes it doesn't it?

Posted by GM at March 6, 2007 02:51 PM

"Those that [sic] believe homosexuality is a "choice..."" Those "who" is the correct useage. It's basic English.

Would be wrong factually. Everything is genetic in this regard. Allowing the ignorant to remain that way is a crime in its own right. Coulter is a media cretin devoid of original ideas except to smear.

Posted by George M. Cross at March 6, 2007 04:39 PM

"Those that believe homosexuality is a "choice" and an immoral one at that are saying "Bravo Ms. Coulter." those that don't think that this name calling has a place in the public arena regardless of their feelings about homosexuality are saying "Hey Coulter, shut up already." "

I call "false dichotomy" on you, GM. I happen to be a person who thinks that homosexual behavior is a choice and is immoral, AND I also think name calling is inappropriate in the public arena and that Ann Coulter should have kept her piehole shut if all she could think to say was that kind of drivel.

Posted by Wacky Hermit at March 8, 2007 10:08 PM

Wacky Hermit, first I guess you ought to know that a "false dichotomy" is one that is presented as an either or situation such as found in "Love it or leave it" or perhaps in describing a false dichotomy as two alternative statements as the ONLY choices. This would be like saying "Hispanics believe 'A' and Asians believe 'B,' and that says nothing about what Germans may believe or African's may believe. If I said "Only" Hispanics believe 'A'... then you might have had a case. In the case of my statement, it is not presented as a "forced choice" nor am I suggesting that there are no other people with different ideas or no idea at all. Sorry, better luck next time.

Posted by GM at March 9, 2007 06:44 AM

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