Friday, October 14, 2016

It was an "unpology"


I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.
Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize. I’ve traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country, and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never, ever let you down.
Let’s be honest — we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. We are losing our jobs, we’re less safe than we were eight years ago, and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground. 
I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.
– Donald Trump, Saturday, 8 October, 2016

This week, that "apology" was mentioned to me by several Canadian co-workers, most of whom wanted to know what I thought about (as a former American).  All agreed that it was not a true apology.  Canadians just know that; they recognize it as a denial of responsibility.  Donald Trump refused to accept responsibility for his own actions; he merely admitted that those actions were wrong (or, more accurately, stupid), but he certainly didn't apologize for anything HE had done; only saying he was sorry if someone else might've been offended.

So, I asked my co-workers, "What's that called?"  No one knew, although they knew very well that it was insincere, and it was worthless; they didn't know what to call it.  I said, "It's sort of like a back-handed (insincere) compliment, but that's not it ... I mean ... there has to be a name for that."

So, this morning, I took the time to find out what that's called.  It's popularly termed an "unpology" (as defined here).

An unpology can be recognized by what it contains that you will never find in a sincere, genuine apology:

  • Lots of I-statements that aren’t "I'm sorry" 
  • The word "if," as in, "if you were offended."
  • Deflection of blame
  • Excuses cantering on the apologizer, e.g. "I was hurt and lashed out."
  • The apologizer's desired outcome, e.g, "I hope we can all move on."
  • A change of subject following the apology

See which of those you can find in Donald Trump unpology.  Oh, you just gotta love that last paragraph, such an obvious attempt at deflection of guilt.