Sanford Apologizes — Again

Yet another faux humble “apology” from the governor of South Carolina, with the same stomach-turning combination of treacly references to wrongs and failure; God, forgiveness, and grace; and lessons learned:

I have struggled with how best to convey my regret in letting so many down, and in that regard I realize this column does not do justice to the process of saying “I am sorry.” A hand-written note or phone call would ultimately be more appropriate, but given the number of people I need to apologize to, I write this to begin the journey of trying to get things more right with you and others.

It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God can make good of our respective wrongs in life. In this vein, while none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for the perspective it has afforded.

If you ever have the misfortune of being at this point, whether self-induced as in my case or not, it will give you an indeed amazing perspective on life and on what really matters. I read notes from someone who worked in a sandwich shop I ate at 10 years ago, from 7th-grade classmates, from state employees and more. While there have been lifetimes of lessons learned over the past weeks, three things most immediately come to mind[.]

These are:

  1. Forgiveness and grace matter.
  2. There’s more to life than public standing and political views.
  3. You get the clearest view of the things that matter in life and who your true friends are and how important they are when you are standing at your own funeral.

Words fail me, but fortunately Steve Benen has some well-chosen ones:

THE APOLOGY TOUR CONTINUES…. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has spent a whole lot of time apologizing lately, but he apparently believes repetition is the key to forgiveness. Today, the scandal-plagued conservative, who I believe is in the midst of yet another vacation from his duties, has an 800-word op-ed in The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, in order to let folks know he’s still really, really sorry.

Most of the piece details all of the many valuable lessons Sanford has learned since he humiliated himself. He’s gained “perspective” and learned “what really matters.” He’s come to realize that “forgiveness and grace really do matter.” He’s been “humbled and broken as never before,” which in turn will make him “a better father, husband, friend and advocate.”

So, anything in there about the governor bowing out gracefully? Apparently not.

Michael Stickings “continue[s] to be struck by the enormity both of [Sanford’s] pathetic self-pity and of his egotism.

He hides behind his God here, and that, to me, is not just bad taste but a convenient out. He has sinned, sure, but God, benevolent God, will forgive him — and therefore so too must the rest of us.

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