Power Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Eight years in the highest office in the land and George W. Bush still can’t make a decent apology.  His taunt to Iraqi militants to “Bring’em on!”, was inappropriate, he now realizes.

God.  If there’s anything I can’t bear, it’s a halfhearted, thoroughly unsatisfying apology.  I feel like Henry Alford, the guy who wrote an op-ed column recently in The New York Times about how he grew so weary of waiting for people to apologize when they bumped into him or stepped on him that he started apologizing for them.

Similarly, my feelings about George W. Bush and many others.  Do I have to draft a proper apology for you?  Yes, I guess I do.

GEORGE W. BUSH:  You know, when I talked about Bring’em on?  Well, I was an idiot.  Since I’d never been on a battlefield myself, I hadn’t realized how dangerous that kind of talk could be.  I was urging on the militants and risking others’ lives while I lived safely in the White House and rode my mountain bike in the hills.  Now that I think about it and remember all the brave soldiers who died or were wounded, I feel terrible.  Can you ever forgive me?

Yes!  You see — contrite, properly self-denigrating, a heartfelt plea for forgiveness.  How hard is that?

Well, based on the other sad-sack apologies I see or don’t see, it’s evidently pretty hard.  So I’ve drafted a few more for people who need them.

DICK CHENEY: I’ve subverted the Constitution, trampled on the Bill of Rights, tortured, manipulated, profited Halliburton, grabbed every illegitimate shred of power I could.  I guess you probably can’t forgive me, can you?  Well, I intend to spend every day of the rest of my life earning your trust back.  I’m sorry!  Mea culpa!  It was all my fault!

JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, any person who puts country first wouldn’t put Sarah Palin in second place.  My bad — and thanks to that guy who sent me the copy of Frankenstein.  I should have read it earlier.

MY DENTIST:  Gosh, I’m sorry about your root canal.  You poor thing.  Look at how brave you are!  Instead of charging you, say, $900, why don’t I just give you this one on the house?

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

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