We all recognize a genuine apology when we receive one. We can see the remorse in the offender, hear the grief in the voice, feel the wrong has been acknowledged and repented of. Apologies genuinely given can be genuinely received and the rift in the relationship can be mended.
It is hard to genuinely apologize to someone we have wronged. We first of all have to recognize that we have hurt someone else. Then we have to overcome the shame and the blame that comes with the realization that we have blown it. We can try to change the subject by reminding the other person that they, too, have hurt us in the past. Maybe that will take some of the heat off of us.
Or we can say a perfunctory sorry, the words coming off our lips but our body language revealing that we aren’t really apologizing. We see that in the forced speeches of prisoners of war who are told to apologize for being American. We can tell that they are merely repeating a text given to them by their captors.
Yesterday as one candidate went through his “apology” I wasn’t fooled. No woman my age could have been. We had seen that game before. And we weren’t falling for it again.