Editorial

Dean Calvert, District 3 Blount County Commissioner, in his latest iteration of an apology for a racial slur caught on tape, did not offer his previous excuses or mitigation that it was a private conversation, or that his seven years in the military should somehow be an excuse, or that his child has Down Syndrome, or even that, in his words, “I have a wife that’s cripple.”

Those previous expressions, made by Calvert, were the typical politician’s attempt at a “non-apology apology,” and a contemptible attempt at garnering pity. None of them did anything to forestall calls for his resignation.

Just words with no meaning. His latest apology came before Thursday’s budget meeting. He said, “I want to let everyone know I’ve asked forgiveness for what’s happened in the county that I’ve caused. I know I’ve caused a heartache. I know I’ve caused business in Blount County to slow down, the way we know it, but I’m asking the people of Blount County to forgive me.”

The words were a little better than his previous attempts, and Calvert at least this time did not try to paint himself as somehow a victim, but they are still hollow. There was still no direct apology to the specific African American contractor he referred to by the N-word. There was still no acknowledgment, let alone an apology, for the derogatory remarks in the recording about women.

Calls for Calvert’s resignation continue, and they are met with his evolving apologies, designed no doubt in an attempt to shore up collapsing support. Apologies at this late date are not enough. He has more than shown that his remorse is gauged by concerns about keeping his position. It’s time Calvert really thought about what’s best for Blount County and resigned.

Readers can judge for themselves, and should, after listening to the recording. It can be found on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AzP7SIBM40. Discretion is advised given the graphic and profane language.

-rt