7 May 2002: Courageous few know apologizing is not a sign of weakness

Courageous few know apologizing is not a sign of weakness

“Stand by your man,” sang Tammy Wynette. I never thought to connect the Queen of Heartbreak with John Wayne, but such is the convoluted world in which we live.

When in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon the Duke delivered the line “”Never apologize and never explain–it’s a sign of weakness,” he put some guys who emphatically insist that individuals take responsibility for their words and actions in a difficult position.

There are “real men” out there, such as Douglas Bruce and Ann Coulter, who brook no compromise when it comes to standing by their nutty and offensive statements. They mean what they say and will, for the adulation of talk radio blowhards, defend their insulting, demeaning comments to the dying breaths of some other chaps.

There are also equivocators who, after making comments others find offensive or threatening, are reticent to hold firm by stating, “I said it, I meant it, and I am not backing down.” They simply stare blithely ahead refusing to acknowledge the tempest around them.

Then, there are a courageous few that have the strength of character who surmount pride and stubbornness, take ownership, and aver, “I blew it and I apologize.”

The tenor of discourse in Clear Creek took a decidedly sharper turn over the past few months, with regard to the annexation and a couple other issues. Some statements got personal, which will have a debilitating effect when it gets back to the issue itself.

As a result, Idaho Springs has a long road ahead to heal the wounds wrought by the annexation battle. It can and will restore itself, but as with everything, it will take time.

Citizens of Georgetown can empathize. The town went through its own version of political hell a few years ago with the Snowgate scandal, which has come down to unhappy taxpayers having to ante up $65,000 for FEMA.

Serving on public boards without pay and laden with considerable demands is an ultimate form of community contribution. As such, public servants who give generously of their time should be accorded respect and appreciation for their service.

On the other hand, it is incumbent upon all public servants to remain models of exemplary decorum while carrying out their duties. While Vice-President Dick Cheney might have gotten away with telling Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to go f— himself on the Senate floor, rude, crass, or vulgar behavior does not cut it closer to home. Cheney and Leahy are not neighbors; we are.

Selectman Lee Behrens has been called down in a public manner by the Planning Commission of Georgetown to apologize for his comments and behavior on several occasions. The document identifies a number of instances as evidence as to where Behrens has crossed the line.

Behrens is on the spot and now must choose as to how to present himself. In his heart he might disagree with his accusers, but nonetheless, it would be a simple and wise move to say, “I see I have offended a number of people by some of my comments and actions. If that is the case, I apologize to all who were offended and will work from now on to be more careful with my words and behavior.”

The issue has been forced and duty demands that each BOS member show political courage by voting to approve or disapprove of Behrens’ statements and behavior. Ducking their heads into the sand by avoiding a vote would only be construed as an affirmation of Behrens’ MO.

Should the BOS stand by their man, the citizens of Ward I can reconsider having Mr. Behrens as their ideal spokesman vis-à-vis a recall. There is, after all, recent precedent for such action.

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