Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Without Apology

It seems the new rage in Washington is apologizing without apologizing. “I made a mistake” or “I feel terrible for saying that” should no longer be considered an apology. They can admit responsibility without being held accountable. In an environment which thrives on twisting the Christian scriptures to ones personal needs it is not too far a journey to change the meaning of language (this reminds me, sometimes when I am especially tired and someone says “good morning” I respond “compassionate conservatism, one good oxymoron deserves another”. This is not entirely fair, however as “good morning” is not a cynical perversion of the language).

General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, proclaimed the other day that homosexuality is a perversion and the military should not encourage such activity. After a loud outcry from the GBLT and progressive communities, He stated that he felt terrible for his comments, and should have kept his opinions to himself, but would not apologize. There are several interesting dilemmas here. Firstly, should he keep his opinions to himself? On one hand, putrefied decaying ugliness just gets worse when it is buried; so we all have a stake in knowing how General Pace feels, and getting it out in the open allows us all to see how small and reprehensible homophobia is. But, on the other hand, just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. One might be tempted to say “oh, a Marine General who is homophobic, no news there.” But that would be unfair and false, as I am sure there are many Marine Generals who are gay, and personally hurt and threatened by their boss’s comment. And in a religious vein, it is ironic of the General to condemn gay warriors when Jesus had nothing but high praise for the gay warrior that He encountered (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10) and to His followers that to even utter the epithet “raca” ( which alternately means “homosexual offender” or at least “sexual pervert”) was wrong (Matthew 5:22). General Pace needs to face his homophobia like a man, for the good of his men, the service, the country, and himself.

Attorney General Albert Gonzales is having quite a go of it. The FBI has admitted they misused the PATRIOT ACT (how could that be?!? I mean, it goes out if its way to protect the American people from abuse; doesn’t it?), the Justice Department’s (ironic no) own Inspector General has found numerous abuses of investigatory powers, and now he is implicated in the politically motivated firings of U.S. Attorneys. He admits that he “made mistakes” but will not step down as Attorney General, a post that is supposed to, first and foremost, protect the citizens of the U.S. I suppose it is all for the best, we progressive are big on full employment and if every Bush official who behaved in an un-American way quit their jobs, it would surely have a noticeable effect on the job market (and leave the White House empty, but that is another story). Mr. Gonzales is holding on, partly I am sure, so that when Vermont or one of the North Western states finally tips the scales and pushes through a resolution for impeachment, he can baffle a disappointingly spineless (still?!?), out of touch (still!!!) and dimwitted Congress with more of his bullshit, that the procedures outlined in the Constitution do not apply to the Bush crime family. But this kind of treason is not going to go unanswered forever. The Justice Department would be well advised to live up to its name and call for a truth and reconciliation council; as impeachment, while it would be emotionally satisfying, and prevent any further disasters authored by the present administration, would still leave the underlying flaws in our system intact. We must not only focus on who has committed the crimes but how they were allowed to do so.

So, these folks and the many others in Washington who know they have “made mistakes” and “feel terrible about it”, but not bad enough to apologize need to take some good old Biblical advice, repent, turn from your wicked ways and let the healing begin.

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