Did Hell Freeze Over On April 23rd Or Did An Actual Politician Actually Apologize?
Saint Paul commands us to pray for “everyone,” but especially for those in authority:
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” 1 Timothy 2:1–3
This is obviously easier said than done. As much as we hate partisan politics, we are all hopelessly partisan people. There are politicians we like, and there are politicians we loath. We like some for their personas and others for their policies, and we dislike others for the very same reasons. One thing we should all agree on is, no elected or un-elected official is perfect. Even our favourites make muddleheaded mistakes; and, whether we want to admit it, even the despised and diabolical, like a broken clock, get it right every once in a while. In each circumstance, partisanship should be put aside, and those we like should be held accountable for their missteps, and those we dislike should be praised for their right steps; and regardless, they should always be prayed for. There is however one terrifying trend, so problematic, so pervasive within contemporary political discourse, to glimpse even a slight shift from the ubiquity of insidious pride raft within politics should get, both our attention and our appreciation.
No one expects our ruling class to be perfect all the time, just as we are never perfectly flawless ourselves (just ask my kids), but the refusal to take responsibility for mistakes has become grotesquely epidemic. For a politician to ever admit wrong doing, poor judgement, or botched implementation is as rare as sighting a Norwegian narwhal off the coast of Nicaragua. Instead of humbly admitting what is evident to all, our politicians and their propagandizing press obfuscate, double-down, redirect, and flat-out falsify. Being wrong is a weakness, therefore one can never, ever, and at all costs admit failure. It is for this reason, why, on the morning of April 23rd, I almost fell off my chair and choked on my disbelief when I was greeted by my Ontario Premiere with these words:
“Well, good morning. My friends, I want to address the events of this past week. Last Friday, in response to extremely troubling modelling that told us we could see well over 15,000 cases a day, we moved fast to put in measures in place to reduce mobility, but we moved too fast. And I know that some of those measures, especially around enforcement, they went too far. Simply put, we got it wrong. We made a mistake. These decisions, they left a lot of people very concerned. In fact, they left a lot of people angry and upset. I know we got it wrong. I know we made a mistake. And for that, I’m sorry and I sincerely apologize. Because as premier, as I said, right from the beginning, the buck stops with me. Again, I’m sorry and I apologized to each and every one of you.”
I cannot pretend to imagine what it would be like to govern millions of people even at the best of times, and to try and do so during a global pandemic is a no-win bargain. Like most Canadians I struggle with many of these seemingly Draconian measures forced upon our land. However, on this occasion, my attention is not whether Ford and his administration went too far or not? My attention and my admiration was on his willingness to unequivocally admit, “We got it wrong.” No excuses, no finger pointing, no drivilous politically correct statement crafted by a team of public image consultants; just a simple, good old fashioned, “I am sorry.”
Again, it must be re-stated: “We all sin and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but more immediately, we also grossly fall short of the expectations of others. We all make mistakes. We all take wrong turns. But the one right turn we should always be willing to take is acknowledging to others when we have veered off course. This definitely applies to our governing officials, but even more so for each of us, because our own relationships are far more consequential.
In all sincerity, Ford’s, “I’m sorry,” might be the most impressive and refreshing example I have witnessed from a politician in a long time. My hope is: This political sentiment will not remain as rare as a Norwegian narwhal; but more emphatically, I pray it can serve as an example to us all, so we also might find the courage to apologize to our loved ones for our own faults and failings, enabling us to utter those chokingly humble words, “I’M SORRY!”
In the meanwhile, let’s keep our promise and PRAY for our leaders — Lord knows they need it!
All of you, clothe yourself with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5