Next time, don’t apologize

A recent statement by Connecticut House minority leader Themis Klarides compared the state’s democrats distancing themselves from the Governor to a “battered spouse support group.” The analogy probably drew an uneasy laugh from a few people, but one who didn’t laugh was Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She decried Klarides’s comment as insulting, citing the number of women facing the threat on a daily basis, adding that some even face the threat of homicide.

So far this is pretty much de rigueur, right?—politician says something questionable, gets called on it, apologizes. End of story.

But sometimes the apology is even better than (worse than?) the original gaffe. In this case, Representative Klarides said she absolutely did not intend to be insensitive, adding, in what has to be the worst clarification on record, “I certainly didn’t intend to diminish domestic violence.”

Well Ms. Klarides, I think we all know what you meant—that you didn’t want to diminish the seriousness or the danger of domestic violence. And I don’t represent the PC police with some sort of gotcha based on an obvious or presumed insult. But politicians—people who make decisions for us—shouldn’t get a pass on something like this. They shouldn’t be able to simply say well you know what I meant.

I’m going to assume that Representative Klarides would in fact prefer to diminish domestic violence, especially since I don’t know of any political party platforms that support it. So I don’t require another apology—none of us does. (Come on though, folks, aren’t you curious about what the next one would be?) But maybe a better alternative to unclear and inaccurate apologies would be diminishing the number of insensitive and thoughtless comments in the first place. I do realize that for many elected officials such a stricture would leave them with nothing to say, but that’s the kind of “diminishment” I’d be willing to support.

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