We Beg Your Pardon
February 22, 2006
By Nancy Greggs
I watched Harry Whittington speak last week, I was struck by his
heartfelt apology to Dick Cheney and the Cheney family for the trouble
he had caused by so thoughtlessly being severely injured. You see,
I was raised in a time, apparently now long gone, when victims
were on the receiving end of an apology - especially in those rare
instances when they had been on the receiving end of a face full
It made me realize how outdated my upbringing has become, and
how discourteous I and my fellow Americans have been in the last
few years, in light of the new polit-etiquette that is obviously
now the norm in our beloved nation.
That being said, may I offer the following apologies to our Dear
Leaders on behalf of myself and my countrymen:
We, the People, humbly apologize for your having to spy on us.
Were we not such an unruly mob, clinging to outdated notions like
freedom and democracy, this course of action, albeit illegal, would
never have been necessary. One can only imagine the vast expense
we have put you to in your efforts to keep America safe, one warrantless
wiretap at a time. In future, I would urge every citizen to whisper
a humble mea culpa at least once in each phone conversation, each
letter, each email, just to let those listening in know we have
finally seen the error of our ways.
We, the parents who have had children killed or wounded in Iraq,
beg forgiveness for their foolish inability to avoid meandering
into the line of fire, and our own infantile whining about the lack
of body armour necessary to keep them safe as they fight for this
Noble Cause. We also sincerely apologize for continuing to ask exactly
what that Noble Cause might be, and why the justifications for its
pursuit constantly change. Most importantly, we are sorry for the
financial burden we have placed on all of you by way of medical
treatment for our erstwhile offspring, as well as the cost of shipping
their remains back to us for burial.
We, the victims of Katrina, who have lost our homes, our jobs,
and our family members, humbly beg your pardon for expecting aid
when we needed it most. In the aftermath, we realize how selfish
we were to ask for assistance at a time when those in charge had
other priorities to consider. We are truly sorry that we interrupted
dinner arrangements, shopping sprees, Broadway show attendances
and vacation plans. As for the dollar value of those FEMA trailers
that have been left to rust in Arkansas, if we are ever fortunate
enough to have a home address again, I think it's only fair that
you mail us the bill.
We, the workers, who have had our jobs outsourced, are sorry to
have complained so bitterly. In our selfishness, we have failed
to consider that the CEOs and shareholders of major corporations
have a right to enjoy windfall profits, and should not be expected
to reward the hard work of the employees who made them profitable
in the first place.
Those of us still lucky enough to be part of the dwindling American
workforce should gratefully accept our unfair share of the tax burden,
instead of constantly harping on the fact that our tax dollars end
up in the pockets of the already wealthy, and instead of pointing
the finger at Big Oil and Big Business, who have somehow earned
the right to not pay any taxes at all. We are collectively ashamed
of ourselves in this regard.
We, the citizenry, who have expected ethical behaviour on the
part of our elected representatives, apologize for demanding investigations
into bribe-taking, and the occasional mis-use of public funds. We
now understand that times are tough for everyone, and a little cash-on-the-side
is sometimes necessary for our trusted officials to make ends meet.
We, the sick, who have lost our health care coverage, and the
elderly who have lost our access to prescription drugs, ask forgiveness
for our self-centered concerns. We beg the pardon of Big Pharma
for endlessly complaining about their well-deserved exorbitant profits.
We can only imagine the hell we've put their families through. How
many times have we cast an unpleasant pall on their European vacations,
their birthday celebrations on private yachts, the housewarming
parties at their newest mansion, with our constant carping about
needing life-saving medical treatment? Honestly, I don't know what
we were thinking.
We, the voters, who have expressed outrage over our elections
being manipulated, beg forgiveness from companies like Diebold,
who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the right people wind
up in office, whether we had the foresight to vote for them or not.
We, the masses, who have held on too long to outmoded ideals like
freedom of speech, who have clung too tightly to the concepts set
out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, apologize for our
stubbornness and inability to acclimate ourselves to a country finally
emancipated from such foolishness.
We, the citizens, who have protested the circumventing of our
own statutes as well as international treaties, contritely beg the
forgiveness of those who have so wisely dismissed the quaint, outdated
tradition of the rule of law.
We, the bleeding-hearts, who have demonstrated against those in
power for torturing our fellow human beings in our country's name,
beg your pardon for our misguided belief in such old fashioned ideas
as justice and the humane treatment of others, and apologize for
our failure to accept without question the wisdom of those good
Christians whom God has apparently placed above such petty concerns.
And lastly, we the People humbly beg the pardon of the President
and this Administration for questioning their inalienable right
to jeopardize national security by revealing the identity of covert
operatives for political purposes, to enrich their friends and themselves
by way of no-bid contracts to corporations in which they hold shares,
to lie to us, steal from us, mislead us into war, and to tell us
all to go to hell if we don't like it. That's the kind of leadership
we should praise, not berate.
We hope you will accept our abject apology for all of the above.
Our behaviour has been childish and inexcusable. It's enough to
make Mrs. Alito cry.