A Time for Contrition

{Billy} Bush apologized for his language and behavior in the tape on Friday, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed.” “It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” he added. (via USA Today)

“Embarrassed and ashamed” – that’s exactly what Billy Bush should be and saying so suggests the possibility that he has matured in the 11 years since this recording took place. It’s exactly what Mr. Trump should both feel and say. At (then) 59 he should have matured past that point long before the video happened but I can allow someone to be a late bloomer morally. Unfortunately for the nation, Mr. Trump seems incapable of maturing or feeling remorse. The best he can manage is to be “not proud of it.” (via Washington Post) In offering a perfunctory apology he simply dismisses it as “locker room talk.”

Of course it’s locker room talk – in all too many locker rooms* (and apparently buses) – but that doesn’t mean it should be accepted even in those venues. If an adult finds that the hormonal teenagers in their locker room are engaging in any talk like that the response should be to teach those youth to elevate themselves and become better – not to tell them it’s okay to say such things as long as they keep it within the locker room.

While he assures us (in response to the repeated inquiries by Anderson Cooper) that he has never engaged in the kinds of actions that he talked about, he failed to offer even a hint of recognition that such talk is degrading to the person speaking and to any person being spoken of, and that acceptance of such talk – even under the guise that it is limited to locker room situations – is degrading to our society as a whole.

This man who claims that he has never asked God for forgiveness has just given the nation further evidence that he was telling the truth on that score. Anyone who has ever engaged in such talk, not matter how young or hormonal they were, should be embarrassed, ashamed, and contrite whenever the subject is brought up and should, in unequivocal terms denounce their past behavior. Doing any less than that is to become guilty again – no matter if more than a decade has passed. To knowingly elevate such a man to the nations highest office is hardly better than trying to repeal the Nineteenth Amendment and openly relegate women to a second class status.

* In fairness to all those who regularly frequent locker rooms – especially professional and collegiate athletes – “too many locker rooms” should not be taken to mean “most locker rooms” and there have been many athletes stepping forward to point out that none of the locker rooms in their experience have included such vile talk.