In a world where truth is fungible, apologizing for getting it wrong is an act of defiance

Jenna Fischer, the acclaimed actress famous for portraying Pam Beesly on the hit NBC sitcom “The Office,” is receiving praise for a classy apology for a tweet about Republican tax cuts. “I can’t stop thinking about how school teachers can no longer deduct the cost of their classroom supplies on their taxes…something they shouldn’t have to pay for with their own money in the first place. I mean, imagine if nurses had to go buy their own syringes,” Fischer tweeted. The deduction was added back during last minute changes to the secretly drafted bill. Conservatives lashed out at Fischer for criticizing a section removed from the final bill. On Christmas Day, Fischer posted a correction.

Imagine that you’re a human being. Now imagine that you’ve made a mistake. How would you handle it? Would you deny reality, plow full speed ahead and refuse to acknowledge your error? Or would you reflect on your mistake, ponder the facts, and apologize for getting things wrong?

I know; in today’s America, that’s a rather radical concept, eh? Who takes personal responsibility anymore?

Many Conservatives, their judgment clouded by their smug arrogance and belief in their own self-ascribed moral superiority, would feel no need to own up to their faux pas. Taking personal responsibility (for members of the party of personal responsibility) is something only losers and Liberals think necessary. Their default is to indignantly deflect blame onto others in order that they may avoid having to accept blame. Jenna Fischer did the classy thing and admitted she had her facts wrong. In the end, it was an abject lesson in class, dignity, and how to conduct yourself when you’ve whiffed on reality.

Hey, she’s human…and she made a mistake. A truly classy person would own up to the boo-boo and move on. Most Conservatives would indignantly deflect blame onto anyone but themselves.

It seems as if we live in a world in which facts are optional and truth is only a matter of concern to losers and Liberals. This is a big part of the reason this country finds itself in the mess it is today. As Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said during his final floor speech in the Senate, we’re losing the battle for truth…and that means nothing good for America.

Truth isn’t fungible. It’s not open to interpretation, and it can’t be massaged for the advantage of one point of view. Truth is. Period. Anything else breaks down as lies, dissembling, and/or propaganda. Fischer recognized that she got her facts wrong, even though her argument was pretty much spot on. She decided to do what decent people do when they recognize they erred- she apologized. That her apology is news should be taken as an indication of how truly rare it is for someone to display the class Fischer did.

That Conservatives pounced on her error as proof of her blind partisanship merely demonstrates they hold those on the other side of the ideological divide to a much higher standard than they’d ever consider holding themselves to.

If Republicans in Congress had displayed even half the class and dignity Fischer showed, their tax reform scam bill might have looked very different. Instead, they crafted and voted on the bill under cover of darkness. They knew that if the facts were known, if Americans knew what was in the bill, the hue and cry would be deafening.

As well it should have been.

Honesty and openness are qualities in a precipitous decline in today’s America, where those in power do their dirty work behind closed doors and pass laws before their constituents realize what they’ve done. Fischer, who had every right to voice her opposition to the GOP tax bill, got her facts wrong. That didn’t make her argument any less valid or important, but she recognized the importance of making a case based on facts…and so she apologized.

We could all stand to learn from that example.