…sometimes sorry isn’t good enough…

“I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts.  The approbation implied by your suffrage is a great consolation to me for the past, and my future solicitude will be to retain the good opinion of those who have bestowed it in advance, to conciliate that of others by doing them all the good in my power, and to be instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 04 March 1801


Apologies are fantastic.  They make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy-wuzzy inside and take the sting out of whatever preceded them.  But an apology without action to rectify the mistake made is meaningless.  It’s the kind of forced apology naughty children automatically recite with a roll of the eyes when told to say “I’m sorry.”  No one is perfect.  Certainly, none of us expect perfection from our elected officials, honestly we barely expect competence (but that’s another topic entirely).  But we do have the right to expect that when they mess up, they will own up to it and then work twice as hard to FIX the error.  Because it’s not about who agrees or disagrees with a course of action once it has already happened, its about getting that action right going forward.

The Founding Fathers certainly made their share of errors.  The Articles of Confederation were replaced by the Constitution because the Founding Fathers vastly miscalculated during their first attempt at bringing to life a new government.  In fact, our history is a case study in getting it wrong and having to make corrections later.  But make corrections, we do.  And that really is where we as a nation excel.  When we correct the deficiencies we know exist.  Whether they be in a single piece of legislation or in the way our system operates on the whole.  We know we have a great deal to fix.  We know because we constantly bemoan how broken the system is.  And we can start now, one apology can lead to one fix of one problem.  Because once you have the guts to tackle the first problem, the next one and the one after that don’t seem nearly so hard.

Res Publica

Documentation without Representation:

Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 04 March 1801


Electronic Text Courtesy of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School

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