I apologize for the lousy cars we make that may have killed your loved one. I apologize for the drugs that did you harm. I apologize for calling you unpublishable names. I apologize for making a mistake that could have been easily checked beforehand that caused you to suffer public approbation. I apologize for killing off your daughter in a war.
I apologize for any and all wrongs I have done to you, your family, your nation and future generations, even as I continue to do them.
The use of “I apologize” has become the misdoer’s way out of all the bad things, the horrible deaths and the awful mistakes that have befallen people, especially in recent years. These two words have become a magic incantation. Utter them after you screw someone, harm someone, destroy a reputation, a family, a nation, and all is forgiven.
It’s so easy. I wonder why we haven’t been apologizing for centuries. I apologize for keeping you waiting days without information about your loved ones lost in an air crash. I apologize for the chemicals that ruined your water supply. I’m really sorry (another form) for killing your tribe with pox-laden blankets. I’m terribly sorry (don’t you feel for the person?) for throwing all your co-religionists into a concentration camp.
I apologize for doing these bad things. Don’t know what got into me. I know you’ll forgive me now that I’ve apologized. I feel so much better now.
You can apologize till the cows come home, but it doesn’t soften the hurt, the misery, the dislocation and the terror. “I apologize” has become an empty term, 10 letters that don’t soften the blows.
Stop using “I apologize.” If you want to make good on your mistake do something. GM president, give the families of the dead drivers in cars that caught fire lots of money for their loss, take it out of your profits or the salaries of the engineers who made these awful products. Throw the apologists for war in jail. Don’t feed them too well either. Make the name callers repent by washing toilets.
I apologize for making you read this. Had to get it off my mind. I, too, feel much better now.
Art Edelstein lives in Calais.MORE IN Letters
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