It’s becoming a common practice by Americans (and the media) to force fake apologies. No matter what the infraction, there's a little love on the other end of an apology – heartfelt or not.
A fake apology can sometimes do a lot of good. In business or in politics, making an apology seems to be that submissive and humble moment that makes otherwise egomaniacal people like you again.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump recently began what many are calling his ‘apology tour.’
He said, "Sometimes, in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and believe it or not I regret it.” Trump added, ”I do regret it particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”
The fascination with this so-called apology exhibited the typical public-relations crisis expectations: A public figure does something that the punditry believes is wrong, the offending party is taken to task on the offense and eventually forced to use the words “I apologize for…”
Enter Ryan Lochte, part of the U.S. Olympic swimming team. He parties all night with his teammates, becomes intoxicated and damages the door and a poster at a Brazilian gas station. He is confronted by a Portuguese speaking security guard and told that if he doesn't pay for the damage he will be detained until police arrive. His initial account of the story was that he and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint by someone pretending to be a police officer.
Before most of the details were provided, the media and many Americans took a position: Convicted Liar! In an NBC interview with Matt Lauer, Lochte says “I learned my lesson.” As a result, the takeaway has been “Lochte lied about being robbed and he’s sorry for embarrassing everyone.” Every ‘offended’ story has to end with an apology from the person convicted by the media. No one bothers to mention that Lochte told Lauer he was still unclear whether he was robbed or extorted due to the language barrier.
After the apology, no one cares what the truth is. It doesn't matter. He loses a few endorsements, endures embarrassment, makes his apology and then the media can tell his comeback story for the next Olympics.
The ‘mother’ of all lies is Hillary Clinton's apology concerning her private email server while secretary of state. "Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I'm sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.”
I do not believe in apologies unless you are taking a heartfelt and full responsibility for an offensive action. She’s not sorry. She’s free of criminal conviction through clever lying.
A few years ago, a friend of mine terminated a contract with me (fired). The decision was not based on reasoning but unrealistic expectations. This was someone I had helped well beyond the scope of our contract. After pointing this out, I was told “I apologize for [terminating] the contract.” I lost it. If this ‘friend’ was truly sorry, they would be willing to reverse their decision. “Don’t patronize me,” was my response.
It's my contention that Ryan Lochte wanted to cover up his embarrassing night so he embellished the robbery story. He was a victim of extortion at gunpoint. Brazil was embarrassed by their crime-ridden Olympics and used Lochte as an ‘escape-goat.’ His apology was the real lie.
In reality, both Lochte and Clinton were reading statements from crisis management or public relations experts on how to manipulate people's reaction to their stupidity and to soften the damage to their future career aspirations.
Donald Trump didn't really apologize. He used the word ‘regret.’ When someone states that they “regret’ something, especially when the words ‘I apologize’ are expected, that means they understand and empathize with how you may have perceived their offense(s). However, they do not feel sorry for their actions or words.
This was a very clever admission by Donald Trump because it didn't give ‘the offended’ what they wanted: an admission by Trump that some of what he has said was wrong. This country is full of people who are fascinated by proving others wrong.
We have become a egomaniacal society driven by people with a smug, moral-superiority who’s personal vanity is more important than the truth. Misery loves company. Many people seek to force the destruction of others in order to distract from their own personal issues.
Scripted apologies mean nothing, and I'm sick of hearing them. Show me. Don’t Tell me!