Friday, June 17, 2005

Why the 'Pro-Lynching' Senators Refuse to Apologize

It's the Real Men Don't Apologize Syndrome . . .

Pam's House Blend has the names of 17 Republicans and 1 Democrat who couldn't bring themselves to sign onto the anti-lynching resolution - which calls for an apology for the senate's reprehensible failure to pass anti-lynching laws. (The list has gone through several updates, and may change yet again. Senators can still sign on as co-sponsors after the resolution has passed.)

Pam also has contact info for the "Pro-lynching Southern Six," as well as pictures, including a Photo Postcard from the early 1900's that features a lyncher at the scene of his crime. Not only did they lynch, they were proud of it!

At the top of the list of the "Pro-lynching Southern Six" is Tennessee's Lamar Alexander. (202.224.4944)

Amanda at Pandagon has an explanation other than the pro-lynching nature of the unapologetic senators:

"[O]dds are they know that anti-lynching laws are the precursor to modern hate crime legislation that, like anti-lynching laws, increases the penalties of crimes that are committed in order to intimidate a larger community.

But they know that they have to look the other way from modern vigilantes who want to enact 'justice' by kicking the shit out of a gay man for flirting with a straight man, for instance, or the myriad of other hate crimes that their voters tacitly support by not wanting to make laws specifically addressing them."

Tennessee blogger, CE Petro at Thoughts of an Average Woman has an excerpt from the state's MSM which features Lamar Alexander's excuse.

CE takes issue with Alexander's excuse and argues passionately for the righteousness of the act of apologizing:

"You know what? Alexander is correct that an apology will not teach a child to read, or even feed a hungry child, or prevent disease. But we are at a time when hate crimes are on the rise, white supremist and other hate groups have increased in numbers, that a show of solidarity would be welcoming. No, it won't feed any of the descendants. But, for crying out loud, when you do something wrong, you cannot let that action go on festering in perpetuity without at least an apology. "

While I agree with Amanda that the fear of hate crime legislation likely played a role in the senators shameful behavior, I believe something else is at play. In my view, it's the Real Men Don't Apologize syndrome.

Authoritarian hypermasculine males tend to view the act of apologizing as a sign of weakness, in other words, it's something that should be left to the women. As many have noted, George W. Bush is the perfect example of the unapologetic authoritarian male. It seems obvious to me that the vast majority of authoritarian males are on the Right. I hope they stay there.

The unapologetic senators on the list are 16 men and 2 women. As always, there are a minority of women who not only follow, but model themselves after hypermasculine males.

Deborah Tannen has some thoughts on the Real Men Don't Apologize syndrome:

"I think it's something about men -- not all men, of course. There are plenty of men who apologize easily and often, and plenty of women who -- like Marge Schott -- avoid it at all costs. But there are many women, seemingly more than men, who easily say they're sorry and can't understand why it's such a big deal for others.

And there's the rub -- apologizing is seen as a sign of weakness. This explains why more men than women might resist apologizing, since most boys learn early on that their peers will take advantage of them if they appear weak. Girls, in contrast, tend to reward other girls who talk in ways that show they don't think they're better than their peers."

If women are far more inclined to apologize than men - a body of evidence and my own experiential knowledge supports this contention - it stands to reason that if women were fairly represented in Congress, say 50% instead of 14%, our lawmakers might well be a kinder, and more tolerant, understanding and cooperative body. Surely, this would result in a kinder, more tolerant, understanding and cooperative society.

Ted Turner says the world would be a better place if women were in charge. I'd settle for a fair share of representation in Congress: 50% instead of 14%.

UPDATE: Majikthise has a list of 20, 19 Republicans and 1 Dem. Republican Kay Hutchison is not on her list.