Monday, March 5, 2012

Let's Talk About Apologies or How Rush Limbaugh Blew It . . . Again

You may have recently heard that Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke "a slut" and many other even more vile things because she had the audacity to attempt to testify before Congress about how birth control for women isn't always about preventing pregnancy, how it is often used to treat real medical issues quite successfully, and how women desperately need birth control to be covered by all insurance plans. In short, birth control is a women's health matter.

You can imagine how repulsed I am that anyone would attack a woman in this way. It's vile, misogynistic, and shows Rush Limbaugh's ignorance. The damage of Rush's words went far beyond Ms. Fluke. (Read that, trust me.) What appalls me even more is that none of the GOP candidates for president could bring themselves to truly speak out against Rush. Instead, they all spoke around it. Clear Channel hasn't seen clear (pun intended) to do the right thing and suspend Rush. If they didn't own almost every single radio station, I would never listen to one of their stations again.

But I digress.

A number of days later, after digging himself further into the hole and losing seven (now at least nine) of his advertisers, Rush finally issued a statement "apologizing." Here's his apology:

A Statement From Rush

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

Because I didn't want to mess it up and I didn't want any commentary, I got that straight from Rush's website.

In my opinion, that is one of the worst apologies I've ever seen or heard.

First of all, notice the title "A Statement From Rush." WTF? Real apologies don't take 187 words of a 196 word statement to use the word "apologize."Second, Rush was being humorous? Please raise your hand if you think calling a woman a "slut" or a "prostitute" is funny. Anyone? Okay, so I see zero hands raised. We'll just all agree that calling a woman a "slut" or a "prostitute" is not funny. Ever. Third, he didn't mean to attack Ms. Fluke personally? Why did he carry on about her for days on end? Finally, what is that paragraph in the middle? Yes, we're living in serious times and we've got serious issues, but an apology isn't the time to try to divert people's attention.

When I was a kid, believe it or not, I misbehaved sometimes. Usually, it had to do with fighting with my brother, but once in awhile, I blatantly broke a rule or misbehaved in a way that required both punishment and an apology. Apologies were taken seriously in my house and we were drilled in them.

According to my parents, apologies required three things: (1) you must take personal responsibility and own your wrongdoing (apologies never contain "if, then" statements); (2) you must be remorseful and sincere; and (3) you must make reparations.

Based on these requirements, here's what I'll accept from Rush as an apology. Anything less is just more blowhardedness:

"I am genuinely and sincerely sorry to Ms. Fluke, all women, and all of my listeners for my vile and out-of-line slander of Ms. Fluke. Ms. Fluke did nothing to call for my personal attacks on her character and I should never have used the words "slut" and "prostitute" to describe her or any woman or girl. Attacking someone personally is the coward's way out. In no way does being on birth control reflect on anyone's moral character and my accusations were misogynist and just mean. To help undo some of the damage my reprehensible words have caused, I am immediately removing myself from the tv and radio airwaves without pay for one week and donating $1 million of my personal money each to NARAL, NOW and Planned Parenthood. Again, I sincerely apologize for my cowardliness not only to Ms. Fluke, but to all Americans."

I'm guessing he won't take my advice and issue the apology I've just created for him, but because I think this is such a big deal, I'll even let Rush use my words without giving me credit for them.

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