I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters,* that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.I have not been in a Catholic Church as other than a tourist since my father died in 1988. But strangely I found myself drawn back to this prayer after my diary last weekend, The War on Straight White Men, blew up terribly in my face. The wrath the diary provoked at Daily Kos was...well, it was Biblical. The most acute reaction, however, was from a very old and valued friend who has been a loyal supporter of both me and my writing for many years. Her silence on the piece was the loudest condemnation of all.
I want to apologize to everyone I offended. But that is actually the easy part. The hard part is apologizing without making excuses for myself. It is tempting sometimes to turn apology into a Trojan horse. You offer it as a gift to those you have offended, but pack it full of alibis, justifications, and qualifiers that sneak out in the dead of night and kill all your best intentions in their sleep.
To avoid this trap, I will stick to the specifics of what I'm apologizing for...and avoid the why of how I got myself into this position in the first place.
To begin with, I apologize for claiming there was "no war on women." Whatever rhetorical or pedantic point I was trying to make was completely out of time and place in the week of the Hobby Lobby decision when American women with any self respect and determination whatsoever had every reason to feel they were under attack…whether it be a war, a battle, a skirmish, whatever...the semantics are monumentally immaterial. The fact is that something insidious and vicious is going on in our country on a systematic basis, and as much as it may harm the population as a whole, it is quite relentlessly and ruthlessly aimed at women.
This leads to the next station of my apology. The mere fact that I was...in the light of that hideous court decision...willing and able to raise an intellectual question about the efficacy of "the war on women" meme shows exactly how my status as a white straight man provides me with the privilege of being able to discuss the issue with a lavish display of detachment. As much as I may believe that the burden of so many of these misogynistic actions at the state and federal level affect all concerned citizens, they fall heaviest on women. To borrow from the war metaphor...I and my fellow fellows are back at headquarters; it is women who are on the front lines fighting for their dignity…and absorbing the most casualties.
Finally, I want to apologize for reacting to the tweets of two feminists in such a way as to cause so much anger and hurt among feminists in particular and women in general (not to mention a distracting divide in progressive ranks). In a week when the most powerful court in the land...in the vanity-besotted judgment of its five most morally defunct members--came down with Enola Gay-like ferocity on their sister citizens, my objections to those tweets was obtuse in the extreme.
I am sorry. And though I grossly miscalculated my audience last time around, I have enough of my wits about me this time to realize we're not all into the God business, so please allow me an edit of that prayer from my youth to accommodate a more secular view:
I confess to the almighty Orange* The version of the prayer in my youth substituted Father for brothers and sisters; brothers and sisters is better
and to you, my brothers and sisters
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Markos,
all the Mods and Administrators,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to show mercy for me in the Tip Jar.