This cartoon was inspired by a friend of mine in the Ernie Pyle Scholar class of 2013. At least, the part about being genuinely apologetic was. Like most of my Ernie Pyle people, he’s a liberal, so the conservative spin is all mine.
This comment made me think about remorse. It’s kind of true: how many times a day do we say “sorry” and don’t mean it? I’m not talking about minor scrapes with others. When I bump into someone by accident, I say “sorry” or “excuse me” and don’t really sweat it. Neither does the person I’ve bumped into. We both understand that it was an accident. What I’m discussing here is true remorse. I’m talking about apologizing for when we have genuinely harmed someone due to maliciousness or negligence.
Society has developed to the point where things we should really be apologetic for are legitimized or excused, and we are made to feel ashamed of things that aren’t at all heinous in the name of furthering an agenda. “Tolerance” has been held up as the epitome of morality, and the lines of what is wrong and right have been blurred as a result. After all, what is the essence of tolerance but the elimination of judgment? How are we to decide what is the right course of action when we are told that good and bad and right and wrong are all just relative?
Of course, the relativity only extends as far as it’s convenient for someone’s agenda. How many times has it been demonstrated to you that reducing your carbon footprint has higher moral standing than waiting until marriage to have sex?
I was reminded of a song by Jon Kahn, written under the pseudonym Jon David, called “American Heart”:
I’m American made
I’ve got American parts
I’ve got American faith
In America’s heart
Go on, raise the flag
I’ve got stars in my eyes
I’m in love with her
And I won’t apologize
So often we are told that we need to be ashamed of this country, as if all the bad that has happened in our history outweighs the good. How often have you been told that this is a racist country? A bigoted country? A xenophobic country? An… intolerant country?
People don’t stop to think about just how unique America really is. In all of human history, has there ever been a country that has had so many different people yet such a pervasive and proud national identity? In all of human history, has there ever been a more humanitarian country, offering aid to the oppressed and ailing around the world? In all of human history, has there ever been a more responsible and fair country, conquering territory on the battlefield and turning it back over to the rightful owners when the conflict has resolved? What “empire” does that? I’ve long maintained that the surest evidence that America is not an empirical nation is that Canada still retains its sovereignty.
I do believe in American exceptionalism, I do believe in a civil society, and I do believe there are distinctions between right and wrong that aren’t subject to the whims of someone else’s agenda. Tell me I’m wrong, but don’t justify that declaration by calling me intolerant. If that’s what it takes for you to hear me say sorry, then I can assure you that the apology wasn’t really sincere.