Tag Archives: Truth

A View

I inadvertently stumbled on the television show known as “The View” the other day.  I am clearly not the target audience of “The View,” so I generally don’t watch it.

During the three minutes I watched, host Whoopi Goldberg quoted candidate Donald Trump as saying that all Mexicans are murderers and rapists.  Trump says a lot of intemperate things, of course, and would benefit greatly from a lengthy bout of laryngitis, but I was remembering the speech in question, and I didn’t remember it that way, so I looked it up.

It turns out that what “The Donald” said was this: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

So, what he said isn’t what Whoopi said he said.  It was not very kind, nor was it diplomatic.  But he didn’t say anything about “all Mexicans.”

Just for the sake of clarity, let’s break down what he said.  First, he asserts that Mexico is sending people.  While it is true that the Mexican government has supported the emigration of people from there to here, partly because of the many millions of dollars that those emigrants send back to their relatives in Mexico, it isn’t officially “sending” anyone.

Are the Mexicans who come here Mexico’s best people?  Good question. By definition they can be considered law breakers, but our country’s immigration policies have not been strong, and many Mexicans have taken advantage to find a better life.

The people who come over the border can also be said to be motivated, risk-takers, driven, and entrepreneurial.  Those are good things.  But, some of them are also motivated by the criminal gains they can make, or by gaming the system.

And, unlike legal immigrants, people coming over our southern border aren’t vetted for criminal records.  So, yes, some are bringing drugs and crime.  And, if you read the paper you’ll know that some are rapists and murderers.

Trump’s biggest error was in saying that he assumes “some” are good people.  He might better have said that while “most” are good people, it is probably not the wealthy or well- educated Mexicans who are escaping Mexico, and some are dangerous criminals.

So, Trump said what he said, for better or worse.  Whoopi and others mis-remember his quote as being much more extreme than it was in reality.  I don’t think that helps anything.

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The Hardest Word

Elton John sang a great, sad song about how “sorry seems to be the hardest word.”  I think there is a lot of truth in that song, and in the difficulty of making a sincere, heart-felt apology.

The last few weeks, and really the years before, there have been a lot of apologies from many well-known people.  As a true cynic once said, it’s hard to be sure if they were saying they were sorry for what they did, or that they were caught doing it.  Since nobody can see into their souls, I guess we’ll never know.

The Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, has made a lot of apologies in the past few weeks.  His apologies seem to be laced with excuses, like how he only used crack cocaine because he was really drunk.  Oh, well that explains it.  No problem!

Our president apologized for people having misunderstood him when he made promises about the Affordable Care Act.  He didn’t apologize for lying, and in reality, it’s possible he didn’t know the law well enough to know what he was saying wasn’t true.   After all, then House Speaker Pelosi said we’d have to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it.  THAT was a rare moment of Washington honesty.    

CNN’s Martin Bashir, ostensibly a journalist, observed that someone should defecate on Sarah Palin in response to a comment she made which, by the way, was one a person could take issue with, but Bashir’s comment was a bit rude.  He apologized unequivocally, to his credit.

Alec Baldwin lost his fledgling TV show after another explosion at a photographer.  It was another gay slur, apparently.  He is sorry.

Republican Congressman Trey Radel of Florida made the mistake of buying cocaine from a federal agent.  Whoops!  He apologized to everyone, and said he was ready to face the consequences for his actions.

Comedian Dimitri Martin says that “I’m sorry” and “I apologize” mean the same thing, except in the receiving line at a funeral home visitation.  That typifies the range of what saying you’re sorry means.  Many apologies are conditional and either say, or suggest, that we’re sorry that the other person is unhappy, and not so much for what we did.  A true apology is about what you’ve done.

Newt Gingrich and John Edwards both “stepped out” on ailing wives.  That’s pretty bad, and both apologized.  Bill Clinton apologized after denying his guilt.   Ditto for Lance Armstrong.  I’m not sure that Charlie Sheen ever really apologized for his behavior, which is kind of refreshing.

The best apology I ever got was from a Jewish acquaintance on the Day of Atonement.  She called me from out of state to apologize for a wrong that I wasn’t really aware of, or at least didn’t remember.  I gained a lot of respect for her, and I imagine her conscience was cleared as well.

Here’s what makes an apology mean something: whatever you did, stop it!  Don’t do it again!  Take responsibility and take the punishment.  If you did something stupid when you were drunk, don’t get drunk again.  If you did something wrong because you need help, get help!

Despite Elton John’s song, sorry is really a pretty easy word to say.  It’s altogether a different word, though, if you actually mean it.

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