As you've likely heard, Rush Limbaugh said some really offensive stuff last week about a woman wanting to appear before Congress to discuss the necessity of birth control. This is pretty typical behavior for Mr. Limbaugh, but he clearly went too far this time, causing at least seven of his major sponsors to pull their ads and money from his show.
In a clearly pandering move, he made a rare "apology" to the woman he named in his insults (I think it's fair to say he insulted an awful lot of women and men with his comments). Here is the problem. His apology... wasn't one.
Mr. Limbaugh said, "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." This was after two long paragraphs lambasting the cause for which she spoke and a claim that he "did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke." It is hard to imagine a more personal attack than his, calling her a slut and asking for her to post recordings of her sexual exploits on the internet.
As any mom or dad can tell you, an apology has three parts. You have to:
1. Recognize that you actually did something wrong. He doesn't seem to.
2. Apologize to the person -- he didn't, he apologized to news cameras -- for what you actually did. Again, I think not so much.
3. Not do it again. Anybody want to take bets?
Mr. Limbaugh didn't make an apology, he issued a political statement. I don't know what he is running for, but he wouldn't even get the Good Citizenship sticker in a kindergarten.
We need to notice the hypocrisy of people who intentionally place themselves in a media spotlight. Being aware of this kind of hypocrisy makes us better parents, better citizens, better people.
When we wrong someone, we need to actually apologize. When our kids wrong someone they need to learn to actually apologize. Apologizing is hard, but it's the right thing to do. Often, we actually feel better afterwards.
By learning this skill, kids will go further in the world while at the same time creating a better one.