The late newspaper columnist Lewis Grizzard, known for his down-home humor with a bite (he never met a politician he didn’t want to skewer nor a Southern girl he didn’t want to sweet talk), once told a story about a preacher who was leaning on his congregation to come clean with all their sins.
“Tell it all, brother,” he would encourage after each tearful confession. “Tell it all.”
Then came a church member who told of his transgression. We won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say the sin under discussion at the moment was one that embarrassed even the preacher who so badly wanted to hear everyone else’s sordid details.
“Dang, brother,” said the preacher. “I don’t think I’d have told that.”
We would give the opposite advice to the leadership of British Petroleum and to our leaders in Washington when discussing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its aftermath — one that will likely last long after the oil is visibly cleaned up and the beaches are full of tourists again.
Tell it honestly and tell it quickly and tell even the things that are embarrassing, the mistakes made, the timing that was off, the delays that could have been prevented.
Talk about the events that might generate criticism and accept the criticism that will come.
Then move on and correct what you can, apologize for what you must and do your part to help in recovery efforts.
That’s the only way to get through this mess, and it’s the only way for the people of the Gulf area to even start putting it behind them and moving on with their lives and their livelihoods.
Tell it all, brother. Tell it all.
And tell it now.
Before someone else tells it for you.
— Marietta Daily Journal