Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word


What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do when lightning strikes me
And I wake to find that you’re not there

What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it’s all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word

Elton John, Bernie Taupin

The story within the story is often more interesting and momentous than the story. Such was the case this morning when we awoke to learn that President Bush had uttered the heretofore verboten words “I’m sorry.”

Odd that they were offered to a foreign dictator who’d been properly excoriated in Dubya’s presence for his hellish campaign against the religious group Falun Gong. But then again, “odd” is the operative mode for this curious man and the infuriating lot that does his bidding.

In case you missed, yesterday, amidst the pomp and pretense of the official greeting of Chinese President Hu Jintao, a reporter named Wang Wenyi rose from the platform and began screeching at Hu for his persecution, torture and murder of members of the Falun Gong sect. She was quickly escorted from the scene, but not before Bush and Hu had soiled their Sunday best.

Nothing amuses the Muse more than a carefully choreographed shindig gone awry and, in this case, Wang rocked my world. She is a brave and deviously ingenious warrior and she deserves America’s admiration. This is, after all, what we’re supposed to be about: freedom of religion and speech. And she reminded us of that in front of the leader of the world’s most populous and oppressive nation.

Today she’s being arraigned on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to “intimidating” a foreign dignitary (ironic, that).

After her harangue, Bush immediately tried to put the best face on the situation, telling Hu “this was unfortunate, I’m sorry this happened.”

“I’m sorry.” What? We got Katrina victims still scattered across hell’s half-acre, kids killed by the thousand in his deceitful war, a CIA agent outed, budget surpluses extinct as pterodactyls and lie upon lie told to the American people. But he saves “sorry” for a sorry-assed murderous oppressor of pacifist religious practitioners.

Nonetheless, progress is progress. And I’m sure he’s read somewhere that “the first step is admitting you have a problem.” So maybe we’ll be hearing more of this in the future.

“What have I got to do to make you love me,” crooned Elton John in that tune way back when. It’s an apt question for Bush. While this is likely the only sentence you’ll ever read on EWM that contains both the words “love” and “Bush,” I offer him this. It’s we, not Hu, that deserve the apology.

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