Save Your Sorries

One of the voices in Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” has a popular monologue that begins, “Save your “sorry.” One thing I don’t need are any more apologies. I got sorry greeting me at the front door. You can keep yours. I don’t know what to do with them………..I’m not even sorry about you being sorry.”

Richard Cebull, Chief US District Judge for Montana apologized to President Obama for emailing a disgusting, racist joke to a few of his closest friends from his courthouse office and Rush Limbaugh apologized to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who testified before a Congressional Committee about group healthcare birth control coverage, for calling her names I won’t repeat here. This is not a political or partisan controversy. This is an issue about human dignity and civility gone awry in a political environment that assumes saying you’re sorry is enough. “Save your sorry.”

Judge Cebull has publicly shared his disdain for the president and swears he is not a “racist” but he has the privilege of serving on the bench and exercising judicious legal opinions grounded in fairness and objectivity. How can that be? Many of us realize that judges are appointed and elected so we are not naïve enough to believe that politics are absent in our courtrooms.  We just hope that racism is restrained at the hands of those responsible for executing the letter of the law. I know that Judge Cebull has asked for an internal review by the Judicial Council to determine if he committed any ethics violations by his actions. It doesn’t matter what they find, his actions and his denial of wrongdoing reflect a man who doesn’t yet understand the gravity of his insensitivity. I am sure the President will either not respond or respond with the humility and decorum befitting his title. I however on the other hand, say “Save your Sorry”.

Then there is the vitriolic conservative shock jock Rush Limbaugh who crossed the line again. The fact that he crosses the line so often is another story entirely. Limbaugh called out Sandra Fluke who shared her views on Capitol Hill about why health care plans should include birth control coverage. Limbaugh’s insults drew some strange and bizarre correlation to prostitution. Even the president weighed in on the public insults. But it wasn’t until sponsors started dropping his show that he made some meager attempt at an apology. He said, ‘my choice of words was not the best’. Really? By our deadline, the number of sponsors that had dropped his show was up to seven. Save your feeble sorry.

We have mentioned before on this blog about the quickly moving line in the sand when it comes to civil and respectful public discourse. To say you’re sorry after you publicly insult the president or a young woman advocating for expanded healthcare coverage—just isn’t enough.  These two incidents are far too serious. Claiming to be apologetic has become a cavalier and hollow gesture. But if there are no consequences for racist and sexist diatribes—it is not likely they will stop. As we have seen lately, the line just keeps moving. Save your sorries!



  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    Since fairness is a key blue principle, you should call out Bill Maher as well.