Gee: Let’s be really honest, to err is human

Aug 14, 2019, 3:34 PM
mistakes, chris cuomo...
CNN Journalist Chris Cuomo. (Getty)

Lately, in our modern world of disagreement, I have been trying to find things that we all do. And by “all,” I am talking about “all of us.” We all eat, we all breathe, we all have some sort of beverage preference. But the one thing we also have in common — that we are probably ashamed to admit  — is that we all make mistakes.

Gee: I was called the n-word last week

We do. Some big, some small. None of us are perfect and we’ve all done something stupid or thoughtless.

Putting politics aside, I have always been of the mindset to respect a person who gives a sincere apology. I might not have to forgive them, but I will respect a sincere apology.

To me a sincere apology happens when a person recognizes they made a mistake or a bad choice, acknowledges their responsibility for it without blaming anything or anyone else. They take ownership for the consequences of their mistake, and wrap it up with a pledge to not do it again. Pretty simple, right?

How often do we really see this though?

From celebrities we get something that was written up by their lawyer or a PR team. From politicians we get canned, generic responses, fit for a teleprompter, which sound like every other political apology we have heard before. And from the people we know, they usually tell us what we want to hear. Sometimes, we simply get continued denial that a person did something wrong at all.

This week I am going to wag the finger at Chris Cuomo of CNN. By now, you may have heard about, read, or seen the video of an encounter with Cuomo. At a bar on New York’s Shelter Island Sunday a man called Cuomo “Fredo.”

The short story is that Cuomo took serious offense to being called “Fredo,” a reference to a character in Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather. If you haven’t seen the films or read the books, Fredo is the weaker and less intelligent of the Corleone brothers. So this certainly isn’t a term of endearment. Cuomo threatened the man with physical violence. And since it is the 21st century, he also called him a “racist.”

There’s probably not too many of us who feel he wasn’t justified in saying something to the guy who did it. But Chris took his self-justification out of bounds after video of the incident went viral. Cuomo suggested that a person calling an Italian “Fredo” was “like the n-word for us.”

Oh no Chris, you didn’t. You really compared the n-word with a character reference from a book? You really think this is the same?

Cuomo has since admitted that he let someone “get the best” of him.

I could write a whole story on why “Fredo” and that word aren’t the same thing. But for me to bring this back in bounds is that I feel like we have all trained ourselves to find excuses and blame, versus simply taking ownership of screwing up.

Gee: Are President Trump’s tweets infested with racism?

Guess what folks — I am human. I make mistakes daily. When they are pointed out to me, I thank people for pointing them out. I take responsibility for them, and I hold myself accountable to not doing them again. It isn’t easy. But I decided that it is the way I want my boys to be when they make mistakes in their lives.

Have I always done this when I have made mistakes? No. Not even close. And that too, friends, is what we have in common. We’ve all had our “did you cut down the cherry tree” moment, and have been faced with what to do and how to act.

None of us are perfect, and our apologies when we slip up aren’t going to be perfect. They won’t please everyone, every time. However, the time has come when we all can start talking about what we do when we make mistakes and how we should act, rather than pointing the finger at someone else, or denying it happened.

Let’s all try to own our mistakes, face the music, and stop pointing fingers at others when we goof up. As Alexander Pope said “to err, is human”

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Gee: Let’s be really honest, to err is human