The Rapidian

Demanding a public apology is the newest form of extortion in our social network-centered world

We are human beings. We make mistakes. Apologies are not always the answer.
Facebook page on a mobile phone

Facebook page on a mobile phone /R Lemmon

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I am not sure when it happened, but a switch went off a few years back in our society, and we began to demand a public apology for every slight, big or small, true or false. It happens locally and nationally, and it seems to be a growing trend. And we threaten a campaign of public reputation annihilation if we do not get the apology we want. I am not saying that there should never be an apology offered, in the most egregious situations it should, but even when an apology is rendered, many of the accusers refuse the apology as disingenuine and continue the onslaught of pubic character assignation. Rightly so, because many of these apologies are simply given to have the issue go away, not because they believe they did something wrong. Rarely does either side feel satisfied in the end. It is a vicious cycle.

We need to step back and realize an important aspect of us as human beings. We are not perfect! We make mistakes! In fact, I dare say, every day we all make at least one erroneous judgement, misstatement, or negative comment that would offend someone. Think about it -- in an average lifetime, if we make just one error in judgement each day, that’s 25,550 times an apology could be asked of us, and for people like me, probably that number is way understated. That’s a whole lot of apologizing to do. 

Social media has been good for this country and the world, it has changed all of us, mostly for the better. However, the down side is the ability for one person to take a simple missstatement or idea or thought from someone and with a 140-word onslaught, destroy that person because they did not agree and further to demand a public apology. The worst part is that like believers boost their support for the attack while those who agreed with the idea or thought, for fear of being attacked publicly, are essentially silenced.

We have 323.1 million different personalities in this country, billions in the world, all living different lives, having different goals, with diverse backgrounds, different political leanings, different religious beliefs, different viewpoints on every issue, and different world views.

Maybe we all need to give people the right to make mistakes, allow them the courtesy of their free thought and not be so quick to go on the attack and demand an apology. In this great country, we can express our thoughts without government oversight; now maybe it’s time, we as individuals do the same, stop being so quick to judge others who do not believe as we do, and stop this nonsense of always thinking we need to attack one another and ask for an apology!

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