One of the wonderful traits of Americans (and to some extent humanity as a whole) is our ability to forgive those who transgress. How many entertainers have screwed up and apologized? We forgive them. How many politicians? We forgive them. Evangelicals mess up and are forgiven. We as a people understand that we aren't without flaw. If one errs, apologizes and asks for a do-over, we often allow it. That's truly a great thing.
It came as a big surprise to me the other day when I read a comment by AR member Jason Sardi in which he acknowledged he got booted off AR earlier. I have read a number of his blogs on mortgages and scenarios and the guy is on top of his game, I really like the way he thinks. Apparently he pulled a stunt that didn't go as he planned and he was booted. So what did Jason do? He apologized to those involved and wrote a humbling letter to AR, who in turn did what we like to do: they forgave him. His membership was reinstated. In the aftermath of Bill Burress being terminated from AR, another member Hugh Krone wrote a blog that was not the kindest. The next day he contacted AR directly to apologize for his tone and wrote a public one as well. Without a doubt both of these gentlemen exhibited class through their actions after the initial transgressions.
This brings me forward to the purpose of this post. Upon the termination of Bill Burress a number of friends and fans have rallied to have him reinstated on AR. That is a sign of loyalty and it's good to have friends willing to stick up for you. But people are looking for forgiveness without acknowledgment of error. Forgiveness follows apology and there hasn't even been anyone willing to stand up and say he was wrong. I commented in A DARK DAY ON ACTIVE RAIN that: What I would like to see is a friend/fan/supporter of Bill actually stand up and say that his comment was inappropriate or distasteful - because it was.
People do or say things that we shouldn't have, we all do. What happens afterwards shows one's character. A person with strong character will call it out for what it is. But no one stood up. Instead we've endured 4 days of how great he is, how unfair AR is, how innocuous the comment was, etc, etc. The only thing we haven't received is an apology. It doesn't matter whether or not he thinks it's offensive, the fact is it IS - and many people have said it is. "I've heard worse on AR and those people didn't get terminated"......if it's offensive, it's offensive, case closed. That's like being stopped for doing 85 in a 40 and your defense is, "But I saw someone else going 90". One friend of his commented that he was not warned and that if he had been, he would have removed the comment. That's missing the point - if it was just about removing the comment, I would have done so myself. No, it's about acknowledgement that such a comment is hateful (or at least distasteful). Others have said he's just direct; 'direct' is not defined as 'offensive' so that doesn't quite fly either.
I wanted to see one person say that the comments were offensive and my intent was to contact AR directly to argue for his reinstatement. At the time I did not know he'd had numerous warnings, I thought it was based simply on his comment on my blog. While highly inappropriate, I did not deem it enough to terminate his account so I was willing to go to bat for him. Yes, the Bill Burress a few claim is not hateful and who founded Silent Majority which alludes to standing for freedom of speech (though he routinely calls gays 'sodomites' and changed settings on SM to prevent me and a few others from posting in the group). But my incentive to ask a favor on his behalf is lessened when his thoughtless actions are deemed acceptable and any chance supporters had with AR is pretty much gone now. Instead of appropriate conflict resolution a course of indignance was charted. We are a very forgiving people, but alas, the road to forgiveness is rarely traversed without apology.