Social Question

Trillian's avatar

When are people going to stop having to apologize to the public at large for stating an opinion?

Asked by Trillian (21106points) April 29th, 2010

I saw the news today about Gordon Brown, and there is a question already about how damaging will it be to him? It brings up something I’ve been thinking about recently, and this just takes the biscuit.
He really didn’t say anything wrong. He is certainly entitled to his opinion, and he said she was a bigot. So what? How is that a bad thing?
We keep hearing people over and over again having to apologize because their opinions offend someone. Am I the only person out here who thinks that it’s enough? Why should he not be able to call her a bigot? She was going on about immigration. Why does he have to apologize?
Would he earn more respect if he just up and said “Look, I called her a bigot and I stand by it. I’m entitled as anyone else to have an opinion. It wasn’t meant to be heard by the public, but just because it was does not mean I will retract it. I won’t. Anyone who disagrees with my opinion is entitled to, but I will not apologize.”
I’d get his back if he did this. Not that it matters, because I’m in America, but I would hold to it to any other politician who did the same. Is it just me?

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25 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I believe Cheney said that once. He even prefaced the remark with FU.
Very professional indeed.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Is it just you, not at all. I’ve felt for a long time that the vast majority of people just need to just grow up and get a thicker skin.

Trillian's avatar

@worriedguy I do not propose vulgarity, only a backbone. Pardon if my phraseology gave the wrong impression.

Blackberry's avatar

I think the population of smart, rational and understanding people would appreciate this, but that is not our majority population.

marinelife's avatar

If someone is a public official, he does not have the same right to give his opinion publicly—even if it was a mistake. It is intemperate.

janbb's avatar

There is a thread here about Gordon Brown’s gaffe in which I gave my opinion. I would also like to see politicians have a greater ability to call things as they see them and not have to do this groveling and false apologizing after the fact. It all smacks so much of gotchas and then hypocrisy.

BishiAfi's avatar

when pigs fly! lol. But honestly i believe it wasn’t the right forum to use such words, and perhaps there was a possible lawsuit awaiting if there was no public apology. After all he did degrade her in public.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@marinelife everyone is entitled to their opinion and assuming public office does not preclude your right to express it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

off topic but not really. When the hell are people going to stop apologizing to the public for an affair they had. WHO GIVES A SHIT?

marinelife's avatar

@wonderingwhy It does actually. Because there is the opinion of the individual, which has the same weight as the opinion of everyone else, and there is the opinion of the person holding the highest office in the land (or whatever) which carries the weight of that office and its ability to influence a lot of people. That is why public officials must be more circumspect in expressing their opinions.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@marinelife regardless of your opinion and the office you hold, a distinction can always be made between what statements represent you, your office, both, or neither.

Trillian's avatar

@janbb I went and read your response. Yes. I’m just so over this having to apologize crap. For anything. Tiger, Arnold, Don, whoever. We all know they’re not sorry. Why go through the motions?

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, certain opinions might deserve an apology. For example when having the opinion that the holocaust never happened. I’d rather hear an apology than have the people keep this absurd opinion.

janbb's avatar

@mattbrowne But if they truly believe that, isn’t it better to know it than have a fake public apology for being “caught” saying it?

martyjacobs's avatar

When you read the whole transcript of the conversation Gordon Brown had with Mrs Duffy, I think it is quite clear that she is not a bigot. She was just trying to ask him a question related to the election.

In my opinion, his response demonstrates that he doesn’t listen to what people are saying (at least on this occasion), so deserves the criticism levelled at him. He was also very quick to blame his aid for this “disaster”, which also reflects badly on his character.

Although I agree with @janbb that politicians should be able to speak their minds, I’m not sure I want a judgemental MP running our country.

janbb's avatar

@martyjacobs I’m not familiar enough with either Brown or the specifics of this case to make a judgement; what you’re saying certainly sounds valid. I am more critical of the general pattern I see of off-the-cuff remarks, gotchas and hypocritical apologies and flagellation.

rebbel's avatar

If he had not apologized, his loyal voters would have not thought a thing about it, they’ld feel confirmed in their and Mr. Brown’s opinion, but a part of the floating viewers would maybe float away from Labour, due to his remarks and lack of apologies.
So, an apology, whether he meant it or not, is keeping the loyals and possibly a big part of the floaters on board.
If that makes sense.

Yes, it’s fucking political
Everythings political

joni1977's avatar

Lurve for this question! It may sound totally unrelated (because I asked a Question), but why should I feel like I should’ve been more sensitive to people’s feelings because I was shocked at the fact that a man stabbed over 28 children in China? I asked a ‘simple’ question about this and other issues with the country and apparently pissed someone way off? I was freely expressing my opinion within the question/discussion and was very careful not to offend anyone and even stated so in the discussion! Yet, I was given the option of editing my question or deleting it. What did I do wrong. sorry, I didn’t mean to use your Question as a way to vent

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree with you. The first thing I thought to myself when I heard the news about this was that he only did what thousands of people do everyday. He was polite to someone to their face but when he was somewhere (that he thought was) more private, he said what he really thought. I do that every single day in my job. The amount of time I have put down the phone having been really polite to some idiot in my opinion and slagged them off to my work colleagues.

josie's avatar

It happened during the Egalitarian movement, when the notion was presented that nobody is really better than another, that a loser is the same as a winner. At that moment, everybody who felt put upon, or who was offended by the truth about them, if that truth was unflattering, was entitled to be insulted as if the truth was the same as a lie. Truth/lie, effective/useless… let’s face it. If there is no difference between these, then everybody can claim to be offended by anything as long as their feelings are hurt. It is the end game of post modern nonsense. And the bad news is that it is leaking into high stakes international geo-politics. A sad end to the Enlightenment.

jeanmay's avatar

This is not the first time that GB has been accused of having an unpalatable persona behind closed doors; there have been claims made about his mistreatment of staff at Number 10. Of course this gaffe has provided further fuel to the arguments against his character. As I said on the other thread, I would rather overhear our leader calling someone a bigot than expressing bigoted views himself. His personal opinions, as PM, do matter, but his policies more so.

mattbrowne's avatar

@janbb – Yes, the apology would have to be honest.

Silhouette's avatar

They don’t have to, they choose to. They sell their principals to the company store. People who care more about their popularity sell themselves out rather cheaply and it severs them right. They should have to stand there looking all shamefaced while issuing an insincere apology.

Take Tiger Woods for instance, what little self respect he had left went flying out the window when he offered an apology to the public for a private phuk up. It was nobodies business but his and his families.

If he’d had an ounce of integrity in his body he would have ignored the public’s desire to be involved in his sleeping arrangements. But he didn’t, he wanted to continue to reap rewards for endorsements so he got on stage and made a complete twat of himself, telling millions of people he was soo soorrry for letting them down. What a toool.

josie's avatar

@Silhouette could not have said it better. Wish that had been my answer.

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