The Importance of An Apology
Congressman Cleaver recently spoke on the House floor about the importance of an apology. Here are his remarks:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker,
I’m only able to raise my right arm to maybe 50%. Sometimes not that much. But that’s due to shoulder separations from playing football.
John McCain cannot raise his arms because he was tortured in Vietnam. I believe that it is just about sinful for Mr. McCain in his days of serious, serious illness to have anyone in this country, particularly anyone in the position of significance, to say things about him that cannot in any way bless him or encourage him. But in fact, denounce him through baseless attacks. Mr. Speaker, when I was elected, I promised my four children that I would never come to the well of this House and attack a human being or call them names.
Unfortunately, things have changed in this country to the point now where that’s a part of our daily way of doing the business of the greatest nation God has ever allowed to exist. There is something wrong, Mr. Speaker, when the elected leaders of our country refuse to apologize. There is not a single parent watching the goings on in this chamber who would tell their children no matter what you do, no matter how awful you hurt another human being, you better not apologize.
We’re setting examples for children and unborn children by what we do in this chamber. how in the world can a person sleep at night who can hurt another individual and not apologize? I guess There Are Some Things I Will Never Apologize for.
I will never apologize for never coming to the floor to attack a colleague. I will never apologize for respecting a person with whom I may disagree.
I will never apologize for displaying respect for a member of the other party though their policies are separate and distinct from mine.
I will never apologize for trying to get my point across without stabbing someone with it. I will never apologize for being sensitive to the pain and hurt of others. I will never apologize for being an apologist when I’ve wronged someone.
Silence is consent. And when I see this going on around this chamber, and I see it going on in other places in our government, I know that there are millions of people who believe that that’s okay. That if it’s done by someone in my party, it’s okay.
I have said to my family, I said to our church, I said to my colleagues here, if the leaders of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer stand up and attack someone, particularly someone who is ill, I would come to the floor and condemn them. Right and wrong is not based on party. It’s based on right and wrong.
We’re becoming a mean-spirited nation. And no one watching this would tell their children, I want you to watch what’s going on in Washington and use what you see as an example on how to live. Mr. Speaker, Washington is dark right now and the people around this country who believe in light should let it shine.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”