Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It's Wednesday. The election is over, but not the counting. The House goes Democratic, the Senate is still unclear. With apologies (and more on that subject later) to Abe Lincoln, it seems you can't scare all the people, all of the time, though gosh knows the Republicans tried. If the Democrats can take a little power without gloating (the worst sin not considered amoung the seven deadly) or creating their own ethics mess, then the country will be better off. I think.
Some cruel things get said, or at least implied in political campaigns. But then, it has always been amazing to me how fast all that's just forgotten, at least by the public and the winners. Hard to know what the losers are thinking since they usually are good soldiers who bite their lips and wish the winners well.
But it shouldn't be that way between people normally. Politics notwithstanding, the words "I'm sorry." and "I forgive you." are said too seldom. I don't know about the whole world, but Americans too often see it as a sign of weakness to EVER admit error. The most Nixon, a guy who really needed to apologize, could force out of his lips were the words, "mistakes were made". That's a pretty poor apology, though it's more than we're liable to hear from guys like Tom DeLay.
Here's an idea. We can combine this need with another one, a shortage of meaningful holidays in this country, and create - Forgiveness Day. Sure, you can do that any day, but we have a day for romance (Valentine's Day) and for gratitude (Thanksgiving), both of which could/should be in our daily routine, so why not forgiveness?
I predict the following societal benefits from this little suggestion: Higher workplace productivity, fewer divorces, better parent child relationships, and less time spent in soul-sucking legal pursuit and defense.
But you need rules, too, right? First, no DEMANDING an apology, the way the right piled on John Kerry last week after his little botched joke. You can either ask forgiveness or grant apology, but neither can be forced. The apology must be in such a way as to make clear that the offender knows the damage. No qualified apologies that start with the word "IF". Once forgiveness is granted, the offense, however bad, can never again be mentioned by the forgiver. Phone apologies are OK only if unavoidable. E-mail or written communication just won't get it done, even if the parties are on different planets. And we really shouldn't apologize for things we had nothing to do with, like slavery or a football game played in bad weather.
So, when should we celebrate? We could mark it from Lincoln's second inaugural (..malice toward none and charity for all..). That would be in March, which is short of holidays, but a poor time of year to be outside in much of the country. Or we could simply make it the day after Election Day, though that might get confusing in off-election years. August needs a holiday, and we could mark the day of Nixon's leaving office in this way, though our GOP friends would soon demand an apology for dissing one of their own and would want to substitute the anniversary of some misdeed involving Bill Clinton.
Private enterprise, always looking to turn a buck, would sieze the opportunity for this holiday in ways we can't forsee. I favor sending things of ample weight (or at least symbolic weight, like stones) to signify emotional loads removed, but there is right now some graduate student in Marketing with a better idea just waiting for the occasion to arise. Hey, I don't have all the good ideas.
So there you have it. A reason, an excuse, a motivator to do what you already know should be done. We just need somone or something to get the ball rolling. What about you, Mr. President? Got anything to say to the American public? Anything about WMD's? Or Katrina? Anything you wish you hadn't said about Nancy Pelosi? Joe Wilson? Al Gore and his movie? John Murtha? John McCain? The NSA warrantless wiretaps? John Kerry? Any regrets about Cheney? Condi? Trent Lott? Hip Hop? ANYTHING? Anything? Nothing. Just thought I'd ask.


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