It’s been over a week since Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute (and said a whole bunch of other things over the course of days…), and while many people hope for the utter collapse of the Rush Limbaugh edifice (which started when people found out that he had been receiving pre-formatted calls since all the female “I’m a Liberal but you’re right about this…” calls that conveniently flooded his phone lines when his radio show was growing its audience in the early nineties) there are folks hoping for Rush to survive and turn out stronger than before. Rush is one of them – he has already gone on the apology path, having apologized once on Saturday and again on the Monday show.
The first thing that came to mind when hearing this was: “What is Rush expecting?”
If I’m guessing right, he expected that “I’m sorry” would call off the attack gods of the Liberals whom he had been immune to for nearly twenty years, get him back in the good graces of a goodly proportion of the advertisers who had started bolting away from him the moment Liberals actually got pissed off over something he said, and allow him to go back to his Liberal-butchering/Conservative-talking ways.
In short, Rush (like most of the United States) doesn’t know what’s involved in a true apology.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Probably the first thing about the apology is that:
The apology is not for the “wronged person,” it’s for the apologizer.
Simply put, here’s what happens when a person apologizes: that person has worked out in his head that MAYBE it would be good to tell the “wronged other” that he/she is sorry. There’s no sign of whether the other person is wronged, whether that person would accept the apology, whether that person would WANT an apology – just a sign that the person apologizing felt the need to apologize.
This doesn’t mean you should look at every apology with a world-destroying cynicism, but it’s something one should keep in mind. If nothing else, it should balance out the liberal tendency to forgive upon hearing an apology.
The second thing about apologies is that:
The person being apologized to is not required to forgive…or forget.
The person on the receiving end of “an apology” does not have to blindly forgive the apologizer. I can think of quite a few good reasons for not forgiving the apologizer:
- the apologizee may be waiting for more proof of sorrow
- the apologizee may not trust said person to follow through on what the apology promises
- the apologizee may be too scarred or remember too much to ever accept the person giving the apology
- the apologizee may have suffered something just TOO heinous to be apologized for
- the apologizee may judge the apology as wanting or incomplete
- the apologizee has been apologized to before, with no change in actions (or a change to the worse)
- the apologizee has absolutely decided against forgiving the apologizer – EVER
- the apologizee just would rather not have to deal with the person ever again
Indeed, if a wrong is heinous enough for the wrongdoer to apologize for, it is possibly heinous enough to be unable to be apologized for. And there are indeed some wrongs for which forgiveness is DETRIMENTAL to the person doing the forgiving. And I have seen a case where a forgiving led to some severe problems for the forgivee – so severe that the person who forgave the person who wronged her died. They say she died from Cancer, but I believe she died from forgiving something that shouldn’t have been forgiven.
Now on to the third thing about apologies:
They must be followed by actions in proof of sorrow by the apologizer.
Quite simply, the person apologized to also have the right to see proof of a changed heart before they decide to forgive.
This comes from a simple observation: apologies too often are but requests for carte-blanche from the person proffering the apology:
- “I’m sorry I bet on baseball, now let me sell baseballs and books based on this apology (Pete Rose).”
- “I’m sorry I called you a Slut, now tape yourself so we can see our birth control dollars at work (Rush Limbaugh).”
- “I’m sorry I beat you black and blue, Rhianna, now do a couple duets with me (Chris Brown).”
Those are the most obvious and well-known, you could probably pile on a bunch of your own, both given to you and given BY you…but you get the point.
This third point gets to a bigger issue: To apologize, you must be ready to repent. And to repent, part of it is you need to show penitence. And often that penitence includes punishment. And you may never get over the punishment if your apology is true (which is why many people NEVER apologize – why repent when no one else will allow you to benefit from the penitence?), but people will make sure you STAY punished if your apology is fake.
Another way to look at it:
- The apology is for the person, and more to the point, the soul.
- The penitence acts as proof to the world.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
In the time since Rush got called out for what had turned out to be a long-term fixation on Ms. Fluke’s possible sex life, he has lost [one hundred forty] sponsors. It’s gotten so bad that some folks given free space in the show called to cancel. There’s also been a couple lawsuits over music played over Rush’s fixation over the Fluke’s possible sex life.
He has also gone on to strike out at women a bit more over the past few days. A sign that his apology was more a move to shore up his position than anything that could be construed as approaching real.
(Of course, maybe the apologies may be unnecessary. Problem is, those angry at Rush and those who listen are two different audiences. If Rush holds onto that audience, we may see him come back stronger than ever, having gone through a storm and survived it.)