An American apologia

We’re sorry.

We’re sorry for causing you discomfort even though we had not intended to and could not have possibly known we would do so.

We’re sorry for not listening to what we are told to listen to.

We’re sorry we have ever asked you a question.

We’re sorry we have ever challenged the opinions of the better connected.

We’re sorry for being uncertain that equality and equity are the exact same thing.

We’re sorry we do not see personal accomplishments as inherently unfair and destructive.

We’re sorry we have ever doubted your good intentions.

We’re sorry we trust our own eyes and ears.

We’re sorry for not realizing that double standards are the standards you need.

We’re sorry we think people should be treated the same no matter the color of their skin.

We’re sorry that centuries ago people who might have looked like us were mean to people who may or may not have looked like you.

We’re sorry for not understanding that it was inappropriate when, centuries ago, people who looked like you were mean to people who looked like us.

We’re sorry for being too white.

We’re sorry for not being black enough.

We’re sorry for being the wrong kind of brown.

We’re sorry for being white-adjacent.

We’re sorry we received an award from an organization that stopped being problematic decades before we were born.

We’re sorry our child is on the list your child secretly prepared to identify students who violated rules.

We’re sorry we made educational institutions around the nation pay for an army of bureaucrats to watch what we say and do.

We’re sorry for believing that 2 plus 2 equals 4.

We’re sorry for having the misguided temerity to believe parents are the primary stakeholder in their child’s life.

We’re sorry for creating more people who will inevitably destroy our planet through childbirth.

We’re sorry our existence depletes the Earth’s resources.

We’re sorry for not understanding that. when you use those same resources, you are doing so to save the Earth.

We’re sorry we are uncomfortable with the notion that you can get rich by pretending to care.

We’re sorry for thinking that the scientific method allows for debate.

We’re sorry for having some qualms about exposing our systems to a new drug.

We’re sorry for not understanding that “My Body, My Choice” applies only to certain body parts.

We’re sorry for being wrong about the idea that natural exposure to a virus could possibly lead to any level of immunity to its harmful effects in the future.

We’re sorry for not understanding why vaccinated people should be afraid of unvaccinated people if a vaccine works.

We’re sorry for wondering if drugging and mutilating teenagers’ genitalia is really in their long-term best interest.

We’re sorry for believing that empathy exists and that others can understand your lived experience in any way, shape, or form.

We’re sorry for relying more on actual truth than personal truth.

We’re sorry we have a sense of humor.

We’re sorry for not absolutely agreeing that right now this moment in history is the worst time ever.

We’re sorry for not agreeing that a billion dollars should be seen as no more than a rounding error.

We’re sorry for thinking that running elections in the least secure way possible could allow openings for abuse.

We’re sorry for not grasping the concept that some kinds of protests are okay and others are not.

We’re sorry for not continuing to believe things that have been proven objectively false.

We’re sorry we do not believe everything the government says.

We’re sorry we trust our own eyes and ears.

We’re sorry for noticing how self-serving so many of our leaders have been.

We’re sorry that we are not smart enough to comprehend the idea that both speech and silence can both be violence.

We’re sorry we believe that creating diverse ideas, skills, and opinions is more crucial to our admittedly antiquated notions of success than demanding only diverse backgrounds.

We’re sorry we do not understand that you are better than we are.

We’re sorry our desire to be independent people does not serve your personal or political interest.

And we’re sorry that our daughters’ rapes caused you any political inconvenience.

Thomas Buckley is the former Mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at

Image: Sorry by qimono. Pixabay license.

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