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KADNER: I am deeply offended that you would apologize

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens at a committee hearing

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has said he's 'ashamed' by past groping allegations but insisted a recent accusation that he tried to kiss a congressional aide is "categorically not true." | AP file photo

I watched U.S. Sen. Al Franken apologize for groping women and thought he did a pretty good job of sounding as if he is truly remorseful.

Still, I couldn’t help thinking, “Yep, he’s sorry for getting caught.”

Many Americans seem to feel that people ought to apologize if they say something offensive or do something wrong. I used to be one of those.

Not anymore.

OPINION

I have heard too many fake apologies like Cam Newton’s in recent years. Newton, a quarterback for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, insulted a woman sports reporter when he said it was “funny” to hear a female talk about the routes wide receivers run during games.

“If you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you,” Newton said during a news conference.

That is a non-apology apology. He may as well have said, “If you’re so sensitive that my honest remarks offended you, I apologize, although I feel I said nothing wrong.”

I apologize for singling out Newton.

That type of statement, indicating that the person making the apology blames others for taking offense, is common among politicians, musicians and movie stars.

Part of the problem is that these public apologies always come after the person has said something so disgusting that it created a news event that jeopardizes their careers, or commercial endorsement deals.

Franken sounded sincere. But the woman he groped on a USO tour noted that he could have apologized to her privately years ago, before she went public with her allegation. He never did.

Franken is now back at work and vows to fight for women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner made a really great apology for making “terrible mistakes” when he texted a photograph of his genitals to a woman. He even choked back tears as he talked about embarrassing his wife, who worked for Hillary Clinton. And then he did it again. And apologized again.

Maybe he meant it both times. My impression each time was that he was really sorry for getting caught, not sending the photographs.

President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is known for saying things that offend people and refusing to apologize. Just this week, while honoring Native Americans who served as code talkers during W.W. II, he referred to his political rival U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas.

While Trump’s critics always demand an apology for his behavior, his supporters like the fact that he speaks his mind. He refuses to be politically correct.

Trump says what he thinks and gives us some great insights into who he is as a man and national leader. To make his apology genuine he would have to say something like, “I apologize to all the losers out there who are not rich, powerful and handsome. I’m sorry you’re not as great as I am but, hey, I am way smarter than the rest of you.”

I have heard many apologies in federal and Cook County courtrooms. I think all of them are heartfelt. They just lack the key words that would have made them genuine.

“I am so sorry I’m going to prison. I wish I had not been caught and could have continued stealing.”

I suppose most of us at some point were told to apologize by our mothers. As children, we mouthed the words, “I’m sorry,” while hanging our heads and thinking, “I’m really sorry my mother is making me do this.”

To all those people who have given apologies a bad name, I would like to say one thing.

“I am sorry, but your pathetic attempt at an apology is not accepted.”

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

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