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I spent much of my youth reciting this prayer on a fairly regular basis:
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 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 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
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.
* The version of the prayer in my youth substituted Father for brothers and sisters; brothers and sisters is better
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Comment Preferences

  •  Seems sincere. (9+ / 0-)

    And based on some reflection.

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:01:03 PM PDT

  •  Classy. Missed the entire thing, of course. (18+ / 0-)

    One line in your eloquent apology stands out for me:

    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.
    I thank you for writing that.

    I even have a picture of "women-as-livestock" to illustrate it:

    Pelvic exam at Hobby Lobby.

    Conscious evolution is a human right. Demand your rights, today!

    by Pluto on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:09:22 PM PDT

  •  Well said! (8+ / 0-)

    We are all products of our culture to a great degree, and isn't it great to be awakened from time to time?

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:11:20 PM PDT

  •  As one who went after you (11+ / 0-)

    Well said, and appreciated.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:12:44 PM PDT

  •  Although I've left religion behind (10+ / 0-)

    I spent more years of my life than not saying the Confiteor. And while you can take the girl out of the church, there are some things that just stick with you. Humility,  contrition and redemption are concepts I don't think are strictly religious.

    This seems sincere and self aware so good on you.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:48:11 PM PDT

    •  No, Indeed. (4+ / 0-)

      Your comment reminds me a little of a time when I told a friend that a line he had written was a cliché. "Well," he said, "Things don't come to be clichés by not being true."

      Humility, contrition, and redemption are older than any church. They're as old as the green blade that rises from the fallen grain.

      "Fortunately, our handsomest politicians came up with a cheap, last-minute way to combat global warming. We simply drop a giant ice cube into the ocean every now and then. Thus solving the problem once and for all." -- Futurama

      by IamGumby on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:34:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um, you did not spend your youth reciting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, slowbutsure

    that prayer. You spent it reciting this one:

    I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters,
    That I have sinned through my own fault.
    In my thoughts, and in my words,
    In what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.
    So I ask Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin,
    All the Angels and Saints,
    And you, my brothers and sisters,
    To forgive me to the Lord Our God

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:49:00 PM PDT

    •  hmmm (4+ / 0-)
      I confess to the almighty Orange
      and to you, my brothers and sisters
      that I have greatly sinned,
      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.

      "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." (Artemus Ward)

      by Silencio on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:07:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully written. (0+ / 0-)

    But I thought your last diary (while it had an attitude problem) made a good point.

    I, like most in my family, am a lifelong Democrat. I vote for Democrats, I give to Democrats, I work for Democrats.

    I am also white, male, and a Texan.

    If I am occasionally offended by some of the divisive rhetoric that goes on in progressive circles, how is it affecting Independents?

    Short term, it can be useful to fire up the "base", but is it a smart thing to do in the long run?

    All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. --Edgar Allan Poe

    by gzodik on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:49:41 PM PDT

  •  Well, I'm more interested in how you would (9+ / 0-)

    write, or rewrite, the original diary than I am in an apology.

    There was a great deal in there, and in the comments, that has simply been elided here.

    mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

    by serendipityisabitch on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:52:10 PM PDT

  •  Darn you pugged your own blog again (3+ / 0-)

    You're not alone, but I don't like it much, 'hey, I'm the great communicator of the internet!' 'My tweets rule.' Or whatever.

    Congratulations on surviving last Saturday night. Amazing +0 to -40.

  •  I appreciate the effort (11+ / 0-)

    you put into your apology, but I am concerned that it will not land as well as you would like.

    If you get some harsh feedback, here are the reasons:
    1) You apologized to those who were offended (this puts the responsibility on the people who were offended, not on you for making the comments in the first place)
    2) most of your apology refers to the bad timing - which could leave the reader with the impression that you still believe that it would have been OK to post your original diary as long as it was done at any other time than the week of the supreme court decision
    3) "I grossly miscalculated my audience last time around" seems to imply that you really meant what you said, you just didn't say it in a way that would be accepted by 'your audience'

    If you had just said the following, it might land better.

    I apologize for what I said, through the feedback I got, I realized:

    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.
    I am glad and grateful that you have done the personal introspection, and I hope this diary is received well.

    I wish you the best,

    •  Growing the gratitude (0+ / 0-)

      We can never have enough of it…so thank you back. As to the substance of your comment, if you have the time to follow the link on the word mercy in the diary that I address your point at some length there.  

      "Have you seen dignity?"

      by Capriccio on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:59:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You clearly received a wake-up call (8+ / 0-)

    and appear to be taking it seriously.  I hope your apology is only the beginning of that process.

    Pax vobis.

  •  OK I'm missing something. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is this a follow up to something specific, such as a previous diary?  I'm not sure what you are referring to.

  •  I Took a Bit of Time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    before commenting on this diary. Thank you for posting it. I should mention that my first diary here was beyond tone-deaf; I had paid little attention to the community of Daily Kos, and kind of came barging in, thinking of it mostly as an opportunity to share my brilliant insights and mad writing skills with a new audience. I think the hammering I received was just about as thorough as yours. After posting my apologies, I deleted the diary.

    I guess I would ask you to think about a couple of things related to the main point of your diary. The first is this: If your sincere belief is that women need to be . . . I don't know, nicer, more inclusive, less divisive, less angry . . .  when confronting and discussing systematic attempts to limit our self-determination and equality under the law, you will probably find some supporters here on DKos. You will find many, many more who disagree with you vehemently, and will say so. This is a situation in which a straight white male, who has not seen his own rights attacked--by the highest court in the land, no less--needs to take an imaginative, empathetic leap. If straight white men were in the same position, would you really worry about pissing people off? When fundamentalist religious crusaders try to force public schools to teach their doctrine in science classes, do you say, "Settle down, scientists. You're being too divisive, and making fundamentalist religious crusaders uncomfortable"?

    Second, I'd suggest that you re-read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail." Segregationists in power said essentially the same thing to Civil Rights activists. They believed that African Americans should be polite and deferential (read: "not uppity"), and allow the people in power to decide when and how discrimination would be addressed. Women today are hearing similar things: Don't be so angry and shrill! Pay proper respect to the people who have never had their rights threatened! Being divisive and disruptive will only alienate those who benefit from the current system!

    Naturally, MLK said it better than I ever could.

    We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
    Again, I sincerely thank you for posting this diary.

    "Fortunately, our handsomest politicians came up with a cheap, last-minute way to combat global warming. We simply drop a giant ice cube into the ocean every now and then. Thus solving the problem once and for all." -- Futurama

    by IamGumby on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:27:48 PM PDT

    •  Bridge over troubled waters…. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IamGumby, serendipityisabitch

      Since you were one of the more persistent critics of the first diary, I especially appreciate your comment here. As to the question you raise about:

      ...your sincere belief is that women need to be . . . I don't know, nicer, more inclusive, less divisive, less angry . . .  when confronting and discussing systematic attempts to limit our self-determination and equality under the law
      I believe some of it, but not all. More inclusive? Yes. Less angry? No. Nicer? Meh.

      Someone up thread suggested I was only apologizing for the timing of what I said and not what I said. At the risk of undoing some of the healing that's been done here, I must honestly say that I still think it's worthwhile to ask--strictly from a marketing standpoint-- if "war on women" is working for us. Is there data that shows how that phrase registers with that crucial block of single women voters needed to win? Would that block respond more positively to phrases based on more empowering words like crusade or mission rather than war? I was not questioning the anger that launched the war meme; I was questioning the tactical effectiveness of following it forward. And I wasn't saying, as some suggested, that because I'm a straight white male you should be listening to me; I was saying that as a straight white male (like other straight white males), I want to contribute to the cause. And I'll continue to contribute regardless of the beating that diary took because the cause is much bigger and more important than that. Again, thanks for giving me a second chance.

      "Have you seen dignity?"

      by Capriccio on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure what a marketing standpoint would be (0+ / 0-)

        in this case. Perhaps you feel that the word was has been thrown around enough that it's tired. Perhaps it has.

        But most marketing campaigns are geared toward making people feel positive about something - positive enough that they'll support it, possibly purchase it. This isn't that. It's a theme that can allow legitimate anger to coalesce into action against a set of societal norms, and the people defending them, that are still causing major pain and hassles for women.

        You may think of it in terms of voting blocs, and that's a legitimate, if bloodless, perspective. But you're talking to women who perceive it as an ongoing risk to their lives and health, never mind status in society or average pay.

        If you didn't read the diaries that came out in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting, I suggest you take a look at some of them, starting with Onomastic's first diary here. There are a number of others in the next three days that took the thread quite a bit farther.

        And yes, what's being described is a war, not a nice clean marketing concept. And that's what your diary ran right smack dab into.

        mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

        by serendipityisabitch on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 03:38:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once more with feeling (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not suggesting that it's all about "a nice clean marketing concept." I'm suggesting that some conversation and research go into deciding the best approach for reaching the block of single women who--when asked directly say they support progressive causes--are the least likely to vote in this crucial upcoming election in November. I referenced a New York Times report in my original diary that detailed this phenomenon, so it was not, as some suggested, a disparaging charge I was maliciously throwing at women voters. There are lots of volunteers trying to reach those voters face to face or via phone to impress upon them the importance of voting this fall. I believe those volunteers should have all the best possible tools available to them. If the term "war on women" works when they answer the door or pick up the phone, fine. If not…best to find it out now. No? A key component to fighting wars is winning hearts and minds in the countryside…and not just rallying the troops at Daily Kos.  

          "Have you seen dignity?"

          by Capriccio on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 01:57:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me try once more. (0+ / 0-)

            You need to understand the audience here, first and foremost, if you wish to win their support to turning this into a message for voters.

            We're not talking about rallying the troops, we're talking about raw emotion that is still being dealt with here. That you are more concerned with the electoral possibilities than the pain of the individual men and women you are speaking to - and yes, it was traumatic for a number of people - may say much for your political acumen, but not much about your knowledge of the audience you're trying to convince.

            Did you read the diary I linked to? Would you like other links?

            mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

            by serendipityisabitch on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 02:18:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Speaking as a big fan of serendipity... (0+ / 0-)

              First of all, much thanks for choosing to continue the dialog. But before we go further I must disabuse you of the notion that I just stumbled into Daily Kos (or, as some charged, dropped by to troll). I’ve been a member of this community since 2005 and have posted a number of diaries over the years, some of which gained community highlight status. So this is not a case of my being a stranger in a strange land. As Iamgumby humbly admitted in her last comment, she ran into a buzzsaw with her first post. What happened with my diary July 4 weekend was not unique, and is probably inevitable when one person attempts to address such a broad audience. (I recently received a status update from Kos reporting, I believe, over a million unique users…I would never presume to speak to all or for all of such an expansive audience.) I’ve been a member here because I believe this is supposed to be a community dedicated to the advancement of progressive politics. This seems to be another confusing area between us. If I’m reading you correctly, this is primarily a therapeutic community for the processing of pain progressives are feeling, and I have no business being here until I understand and accept that. Transvaginal exams in Virginia, the shuttering of abortion clinics in Texas, 72-hour waiting periods for abortion spreading throughout the red states…these are all the direct results of elections. The Hobby Lobby decision is a direct result of an election. The way to rectify the situation and alleviate the pain is to change the outcome of the elections. My allegedly bloodless perspective should be as immaterial to this fight as Boies and Olson’s sexuality should be to the marriage equality fight. If you care about these issues, you should be as inclusive as possible in enlisting allies for the cause and not issuing litmus tests for sincerity.

              "Have you seen dignity?"

              by Capriccio on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 12:57:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hmm. Not quite. I wouldn't be so silly as to call (0+ / 0-)

                it primarily a therapeutic community.

                Still, the most vocal audience you face is that very small portion of the community that regularly comments and diaries here.

                If you've been following that community you might have realized that there was a remarkable degree of polarization on women's issues - primarily on the structure of what is called the rape culture - still extant, which some are trying to deal with and work into the regular conversation, and some are trying their very best to ignore in its entirety. The second set, imho, are being relatively obnoxious about it.

                That the introduction to your diary fit quite neatly into some of the dialogue against dealing with those issues at all was something you could not have expected unless you were following the regular ebb and flow of the community.

                Obviously, neither I nor anyone else can expect you to spend great amounts of time checking the temperature and turbulence of the waters into which you step. To say that they should have no effect on the reception of an individual diary, however, is asking quite a bit.

                mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

                by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 03:34:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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