I can still hear my mother.
“Say you’re sorry,” she’d order after I’d swiped my kid brother’s cookie or said a bad word, “apologize.”
If I knew what was good for me, I did just that.
Learning to make secular acts of contrition are a critical part of growing up. We all know adults who never say they’re sorry. Without a pile of excuses, that is. Infuriating.
Just as there are times when apologies are warranted, there are plenty of occasions when no apology is needed. Yet spineless folks often offer them anyway if they’re confronted by seething social justice warriors.
Remember the ridiculous mea culpa offered by Smith College President Kathleen McCartney in 2014?
It all started when she sent a campus-wide email in support of students who were protesting the shooting of unarmed black men by police officers in New York and Missouri.
Her subject line was “All Lives Matter.”
“We are united in our insistence that all lives matter,” began her email, which noted that grand jury decisions in these cases, “led to a shared fury… We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest.”
No good deed goes unpunished, of course. McCartney’s message of praise for students triggered even more protests because she dared to say that all lives mattered. Apparently pro-police groups were also using the phrase “all lives matter” with a hashtag to protest the protests.
At that point, the college president should have told the kids to go back to class and stop acting like babies.
Instead, she quickly sent out an extremely awkward email apologizing for her use of those three little words.
We saw something similar this past weekend when the newest show pony in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was forced to apologize for saying - truthfully - that his wife was mainly responsible for rearing their children.
Here’s Beto O’Rourke’s apology, from CNN:
Beto O'Rourke said…that he had been wrong for joking at several events in his first two days campaigning in Iowa that his wife has been raising their three children "sometimes with my help.”
The former congressman from Texas… addressed the remarks during a recording of the podcast Political Party LIVE! in Cedar Rapids. The comments triggered complaints from Democratic operatives and activists, many of them women, that female candidates could never similarly joke about their roles raising their children.
"Not only will I not say that again, but I'll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage, and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege," he said.
Good Lord. What a load of cheesy gibberish. This man wants to lead the Free World?
O’Rourke's original statement was a good-natured quip that praised his wife for performing the toughest job in the world - child rearing - while he was running for office or serving in Congress. Yet it sparked a nasty backlash by a bunch of grievance groupies.
There is no doubt that O’Rourke hasn’t been a hands-on dad. How could he be? Rep. O’Rourke spent six years in Congress, beginning in 2011. His kids are 12, 10 and 8. Do the math. The man was commuting between Washington and Texas for chunks of their childhoods.
Fact is, the national outrage mob is out of control. Time for public figures to stand up to these bullies who parse every sentence, every phrase, every word, looking for something - no matter how obscure - that might cause injury to some fragile soul.
America’s just getting to know Mr. O’Rourke. Some of us would like him a lot more if he’d told the sniveling “operatives and activists” who accused him of sexism to shove it.