Can there be any more useless phrase than I'm sorry? Let's say a man comes out of a bar very drunk, gets in his car, and proceeds to hit your wife and children head-on and kills them. After being arrested and held for a time and then on trial he says "I'm sorry." What good does that do anyone? Does it make the husband feel better? First of all, you don't know whether the guy is sorry or not. You might think he is but you can't know. The only one who can know for sure is the guilty party himself. Does it do him any good to say he's sorry? Does it make him feel better about what he did? How do you know he isn't just saying he's sorry because that is what is expected in such circumstances.
What about the guy who says he's sorry, like Dennis Hastert, when he also claims he did nothing wrong? If he believes he did nothing wrong why is he saying he's sorry? How can you be sorry for something you didn't do, or at least believe you didn't do? But what if he knows he really did something wrong but says he's sorry anyway? Who would know but himself? And what good does it do anyone if he's really sorry or not? I'm sorry, but saying you're sorry is basically useless (why am I sorry about this?).
An even more useless and meaningless phrase now being used by Hastert and Bush as well is "I accept the full responsibility for..." Hastert has just said this about the way he apparently totally botched the Foley scandal. He says he accepts the full responsibility but then does nothing. Like, shouldn't he resign, pay a fine, flog himself, something? What does it mean to say you accept the full responsibility if nothing whatsoever comes of it. Bush did precisely the same thing with the Katrina disaster. Eventually he said he accepted full responsibility for it (probably a more useless, meaningless claim has ever been uttered). What did he do to atone for failing in his responsibility? Nothing, of course. Absolutely nothing. I'm sorry but saying you accept full responsibility for something and then do nothing about it just doesn't cut it (why am I sorry about this?).
Do you get points in heaven for saying you're sorry? We have a local case of a man who kidnapped two children, abused both of them, murdered one of them, and now says he's sorry. Do you think God is listening? Does he/she/it only fogive those who claim to be sorry? I'm sorry but this sorry business is too complicated for me. I accept full responsibility for my failure to understand such a simple matter.
Anyway, now that Hastert has said he's sorry and accepted full responsibility for his failure to act even though he did nothing wrong let's just let it go at that. It's all too philosophical for my tiny brain. I'm still recovering from all that digging.