“I messed up.”

While I certainly have my political allegiances, I realized today something that I don’t think I would have been able to articulate beforehand. In the wake of the whole Daschle scandal (and, for the record, I’d like to be clear on the fact that, if you want to argue for policies, you’d better be paying your fair share of those policies. And I’m sure if we audited Congress, there would be quite a few people on both sides of the aisle who would get in trouble), I was getting a little annoyed at the fact that this is the third person to withdraw from consideration because of legal issues.

And then I watched the evening news and heard words I am VERY much not accustomed to hearing from the President of the United States: “I messed up.”

And you know what? It helped a lot. Being willing to recognize your mistakes in public? Major points for any elected official. But especially the President. A friend wrote a few weeks ago in her blog about the Middle East peace process and how studies and interviews have shown that even hardliners are willing to consider compromise in exchange for apologies. I think there’s really something to that. When we are willing to fess up to the mistakes we’ve made, it opens up the possibility for true healing.

As a Church, this is something that we should take seriously. We need to be speaking to each other respectfully, and when we screw up, we should acknowledge it. It’s amazing how much difference a genuine apology makes.


7 thoughts on ““I messed up.”

  1. A President who nominates 4-5 people (and counting) to the most important positions in the government and breaks his own rules regarding the appointment of lobbyists, and then thinks saying, “I messed up.” will cover over his mistakes, is reflecting the inexperience of the man. A better solution would have been to correct the problem after it happened the first time, so it didn’ keep happening over and over.

  2. Mrissman- While I am not condoning the fact that multiple nominees have issues, the reality is that the wealthier a person is, the easier it is to not pay one’s taxes. If we were to audit every member of Congress, there would be plenty of folks on both sides of the aisles who would have issues. My point in the post was simply that it was a refreshing change for a president to admit that he had screwed up. Admitting a mistake is NOT a sign of weakness.

  3. Making and admitting a mistake once, maybe even twice, no problem. Making the same mistakes over and over is a serious sign of pathology. Thinking that saying “I messed up!” one time for the multitude of times messing up is arrogance.

    What possibly convinced you “that the wealthier a person is, the easier it is to not pay one’s taxes.” First of all, the wealthier one is, the more resources that are at one’s service to figure it all out. What are you saying? If everybody else is doing it, we should just let it go or what?

    Had a Republican President done the same, he would have been hammered in the press and it wouldn’t have meant anything whether he admitted his mistake or not.

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