Governor should offer an apology, not excuses
When my three children were very young, most evenings I would pick them up, put them on my lap and ask them what they wanted to talk about. Over the years, our early discussions about toys and playtime morphed into full-blown debates. My future son-in-law coined the phrase, “Sunday at the Sherrys,” to express the open give-and-take discussions about almost any issue – political, social, moral – that he found himself exposed to.
In our now extended family the dignity and opinion of every person is more than respected, it is cherished, even though we often disagree and it may be the one against the many. Our discussions require four things: a willingness to let the other person speak; a desire to really listen to and weigh what is said; the use of reason; and mutual respect. This does not mean that each of us has not, from time to time, failed to adhere to one or more of these rules. But when they are broken, the offender arrives at the point of apologizing.
I cannot imagine telling one of my children that there is no longer room for their opinions or their presence in my household because they are not in agreement with my views. So I was taken back by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s declaration that “extreme conservatives … have no place” in our state. His remarks reflect either the carelessness of a heart that gave birth to their condescending, polarizing and chilling sentiment, or the carelessness of a mind that articulated its thought so badly. I choose to assume that it is the latter.
A straight-up apology, not mere explanations and excuses, would not only mitigate the offense and divisive effect, it would affirm both Cuomo’s station and his humanity.