Our public figures provide a seemingly non-stop demonstration of how not to apologize. Take John Edwards, John McCain, and now Charlie Rangel. We need to create an “Apology Hall of Shame” for people whose apologies only make matters worse.
Edwards was classic wasn’t he? “I had developed a narcissistic, inflated sense of myself.” Yes, outstanding start! Keep up the self-flagellation, we want more.
Then, like Lolo, he slams into a hurdle, “But the affair was when Elizabeth was in remission.” Please tell me he didn’t just say that. How does someone that stupid ever pass a bar exam let alone win a series of mega-cases?
Right, intellect and personal integrity aren’t the same thing.
I watched the Obama and McCain documentaries on CNN recently. I thought they were balanced and well done.
Midway through McCain’s they turned to the breakup of his first marriage. After detailing his infidelity, the reporter asked, “How do you explain that?” To which John replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” Huge smile, then, “But I take full responsibility.” Instead of asking “For what?” the reporter gave him a pass. The smile said, “I’ve had years to think through an evasive answer that half-ass listeners will nod in agreement with.”
John, you only get points for taking full responsibility if people are clear on what it is you think you did wrong.
And then, today, Rangel takes his turn. I like Charlie so I was disappointed when he too insulted my intelligence. Rangel claims “cultural and language barriers” kept him from understanding the finances of his house in the Dominican Republic. Bad start, but he recovered by calling his failure to report the income on his taxes “irresponsible.” Then, right when Chuck develops a little mo, he too goes Lolo and says, “I personally feel I have done nothing morally wrong.”
CR also said he doesn’t believe someone should lose their job because of a mistake. Any reasonable person would agree with one caveat, if they honestly and unequivocally come clean on what the mistake or mistakes were.
If you’re unable to adopt my approach of being perfect and never making a mistake, I suggest the following approach: 1) detail the mistake; 2) genuinely express remorse; 3) sit down and shut up.