The Political Apology-Sorry! “To Be or Not To Be?”

Turkey Pardon Pbama Girls- 14Recently, GOP Hill staffer Elizabeth Lauten was forced to resign after backlash over demeaning remarks she posted on Facebook about President Obama’s teen aged daughters, Sasha and Malia

In a Facebook post written by Lauten  after the White House’s annual turkey pardoning ceremony the aide criticizes the daughters.

The post read, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.”

It continued, “Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”

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As the party of family values the GOP guillotine began to descend onto Lauten’s proverbial “political neck “. She posts in Facebook she had summoned a higher power through many hours of prayer and with parental consultation sought the grace enabling her to apologize, for her vile attack on the nation’s first daughters. Hours after the earlier post had gone viral she posted her personal emotionally laden apology.

The public political apology has reached unprecedented levels during the Obama era. It is used to offer a disingenuous false regret to the individual violated as well as to the offender’s political base simultaneously. As Robert Eisenger writes in his article”The Political Non-Apology” is designed to woe constituents, even as it sometimes conceals its emotional appeal. Yet, embedded in that appeal is a legalistic framework that intentionally diffuses blame. As mere formalities—as lip-service paid to offended candidates for the sake of political expediency—political apologies allow the speaker to retract his or her words or prior statements while providing a rhetorical “wink” to constituents that these offensive words get at the heart of what I really believe, Sincerity is not the goal. The political offender instead merely aim to achieve the perfect balance between authenticity and retaining duplicity, so they can appease their opponents, while feeding their base the “red meat of political one-upsmanship. affirming they are on their side. Even if it is a politically incorrect, bigoted position. The political apology, thus, offers the offending party total control over the reception of the insult – introducing an inappropriate remark and then closing off any opportunity for the opponent to confront it head on or connect the comments to larger structural oppressions.

According to Mark Collins, blogger in his post “Sorry I’m Not Sorry”: On The Political Apology is cloaked in ambiguity or double meaning enabling it to silence any reactions that might harm the offender, for this reason the apology is effective as a political weapon. Politicians and their operatives with well-crafted apologies are at liberty to spew offensive statements in order to drum up their base. But this double-edged sword is both sharp and pointless. Sharp in it’s application as an instrument of oppression and of absolutely no moral consequence as an agent of reconciliation to the individual or group and supporters offended. Because of this precariousness, the political apology must be viewed and challenged as an instrument of oppression. Those who cloak their bigotry under the veil of the political apology must be confronted—unapologetically.