11/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Enough With The Apologies! When Mea Culpa Just Doesn't Cut It

It stands to reason. If we, as a nation, are going to behave like children, we should also be treated like children. And we are. And no one blinks.

There is nothing in life more meaningless than an apology, yet it's become a panacea for just about any behavior, no matter how egregious, how inappropriate, how vile, reprehensible or sickening. It's down right fashionable! Everyone is doing it! And why not? It negates all wrongdoing. My bad. Apology accepted. It's so easy I almost can't wait to do it again.

It's time to stop -- stop asking, and stop giving. I feel like I'm in an interminable semester of 4th grade. "Nelson! You hurt Harold's feelings. Now apologize!" Screw Harold. Let him get a thicker skin.

Maybe this stems from my Catholic background. In Catholicism, you have something called the confessional. That's where all your sins were absolved simply by admitting them to a man who spoke directly with God and got the okay. That seemed pretty stupid when I was 9. Forty-something years later, who knew the practice would catch on so big?

The apology has been used not only as vindication of bad behavior but also as an attack tactic. People now demand apologies whenever they attempt to discredit or belittle someone else. Al Sharpton will insist on an apology if he takes what someone says as offensive. So will Sean Hannity. They both have the same motive. If you act indignant and treat the opposition like a petulant child it provides a built-in offensive. And what amazes me is ... it works. Everyone is eager to apologize or sustain the wrath of being whatever he or she has been accused of, even if it's untrue, unfair or essentially benign. Just ask Martha Stewart or Leona Hemsley.

But what's even worse is the apology that gets adulation. Serena Williams acts like a vicious, classless thug. But oh, she apologized. Isn't that nice? Kanye West stole the spotlight at the MTV award show in the rudest manner possible. Two days later he's getting even more attention by officially apologizing. Hey, maybe they're onto something here. Wanna heckle the president? No problem. Just apologize! Van Jones calls Republicans assholes? Leave him alone! He apologized! I'm waiting for Osama Bin Laden to come along as say: "People, it's in the past. Let's move on without all the resentment, alright?"

And people will.

This is all a part of the post therapy generation where no one is responsible for their actions. It's always due to extenuating circumstances, be it a repression, oppression or obsession. Oh yeah, even that's an excuse. Cheated on your wife? It's not because you're a cheat. You have an addiction. Go to therapy. Say you're sorry. It's all good. Sweet deal, eh?

I ain't buying it.

Maybe the worst apology of all time came from Bill Clinton when he apologized for slavery. Excuse me? The worst atrocity of all time is now eradicated simply by saying, "Oops...sorry." Yeah, I'll bet every African American felt better after that one.

And besides, who was he apologizing for? Not me I hope. I never enslaved anyone, nor did my relatives. There's a better chance that my black friends' ancestors owned or sold slaves than mine, but that's not the point. No one should be responsible for the actions of others and no one should be deemed guilty by association due to their race. That's the very definition of racism. It's also incredibly stupid. It serves no purpose but to pander to the apology police, meanwhile opening wounds, insulting others and acting transparently disingenuous.

It's time to stop with this nonsense and act like responsible people. Stand by your words or shut the hell up. And if you make an ass of yourself, own it. Let's eliminate this "get out of being a jerk free" card from our culture. Here's a thought. Learn how to behave. Comprehend the term "class." Act with dignity and civility.

Is that too much to ask? Is it too demanding? Too difficult? Well, too bad. America needs to grow up and grow out of this headset of flippant contempt followed by faux contrition.

And if that sounds harsh, rigid or judgmental, well, what can I say? I'm sorry.