Postcard from the ‘sorry-not sorry’ apology files
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson


Most of us learned in Sunday School that an insincere apology is worse than no apology at all, yet people keep issuing them, anyway.

Case in point: John Browning, member of the Florida Transportation Commission, St. Johns River Water Management District board member, and person who never met a Muslim he didn’t think was packing a suicide belt.

Browning was at the Jacksonville International Airport to catch a plane to President-elect Donald Trump‘s victory party when he spotted a man wearing a red and white checked headscarf. Browning snapped a picture and uploaded it to Facebook, with the clever-for-a racist fourth grader-comment asking his friends if anyone had “ever wanted to get off a plane when loading.”

Dinah Voyles Pulver, bless her, covers stupid things public officials say on social media for the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Her story hit the paper’s website Friday afternoon, and Browning disappeared the post from his Facebook page before the presses rolled on the Saturday print edition.

But screen shots are forever, and Browning went into his dance:

“I apologize for any hurt I may have caused,” Browning posted. “It was not my intention. I have good friends that are liberal and conservative and enjoy a lively discussion with both.

“In hindsight it was a mistake to post …. Thank you, but no one needs to defend my mistake.”

That’s a relief, because this mistake is indefensible, and anyway, it wasn’t a mistake.

Browning posted exactly what he meant, and he knew he would tickle the funny bone of his fellow Facebook travelers like the one who responded to his defamation of all Muslims with a hearty  “If you hear something ticking, run like the wind!!!!!!!!”

Browning is entitled to his opinion, and he’s done Florida a service in telling the internet what, exactly, his opinion is. His phony baloney apology fools nobody, and insults everybody.

Florence Snyder

Florence Beth Snyder is a Tallahassee-based lawyer and consultant.


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