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Kanye vs. Rep. Joe Wilson

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Shame on you! One mom and expert psychologist thinks our leaders and icons need to live up to their responsibilities -- as role models and as human beings.

Dr. Michelle Golland: Shame and humility -- that is the difference between Kanye West and Congressman Joe Wilson and their respective apologies for "mistakes" they both made publicly. Kanye's apology of course is to Taylor Swift, and Rep. Joe Wilson's is to President Obama and the U.S. Congress.

Kanye West, Rep. Joe Wilson
Both men acted impulsively and emotionally in situations that required a certain amount of respect and decorum. Whether it is at an awards show or on the floor of Congress, we each intuitively know when someone has crossed the line. It can be argued that they both were simply sharing their personal opinions, and let's face it, free speech is still high on the priority list for us Americans. The idea of free speech is right -- but the timing and place were all wrong in both situations.

The difference is that Kanye is fully expressing and experiencing the shame of his behavior. He is acting with humility and despair for his actions. His appearance on Jay Leno was a moving moment of contrition. He truly desires to make amends to Taylor Swift, and to all of us who witnessed this hurtful moment created only by him.

I do not see the same thing with Representative Joe Wilson. I see a man who has apologized to President Obama, but is not showing much shame or humility about his actions. He seems somewhat indignant about all the hoopla around his "mistake." He saw no reason for apologizing on the floor of Congress.

Wilson is not willing to apologize on the floor of Congress to all of his colleagues as well as President Obama on principle. What principle is he talking about? The "principle" of haughtiness and defensiveness when one is shown to have made a mistake? When he shouted on the floor of Congress in an attempt to humiliate our president, Wilson not only offended Obama's dignity, he offended the body of Congress and all of us as Americans.

True remorse and regret come with the high price of shame and humility. It often requires taking action that can be painful and humiliating for us. You see, that is the emotional cost of our mistake. When we push ourselves to do the difficult thing -- the hard apology we know is deserved -- only then are we truly free from the burden of it.

I believe Kanye is free from his burden, but Representative Wilson needed to be admonished by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, which could have been avoided had he taken the walk of shame to the podium to apologize on his own initiative. Such an act may have helped him be more of the "decent" man his colleagues have continually claimed he is. I feel sorry that he did not have the strength of character to take this opportunity to experience the shame and humility that was required by his mistake.

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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
carol September 16, 2009, 5:23 PM

I don’t think you can fairly compare the two incidents…as one is in relationship to something that’s going to affect multitudes of people and one is regarding an award, that one person didn’t agree with. Both were equally wrong in their behavior…but whether one apologizes publically or apology is an apology and I think Congress and the media should focus their attention on things that will affect it’s taxpayer and citizens, and I’m not talking about a national mourning day for Michael Jackson, who’s life certainly does not exemplify in any way, shape, or form, a role model.

Tammy September 16, 2009, 5:50 PM

Can’t even compare a teenage singer to the President of the United States. On the other hand, I think more tweens saw the VMA’s then they did the other… and seeing that kind of behaviour is tackless.

Loren Raiford September 16, 2009, 5:54 PM

Poor insight, poor comparison. Both these men were wrong, but you show way too much bias probably based solely on your politics. Where was all the outrage when members of congress tried to steal the same kind of dignity from President Bush with more shameful acts than this? There is too much of a double standard here which is more the example of a poor role model than what has been done wrong here concerning these two men in this article.

- Frlaser

E G September 16, 2009, 6:26 PM

Both were wrong, and both need to apologize publicly, but the comparison is poor, is not the same to disrecpect a singer than disrecting the President of the United States of America, there’s a huge difference, Kanye humblely apologized already, good way to go Kanye!

Paul Revere September 16, 2009, 10:53 PM

In regard to this incident with Congressman Joe Wilson speaking out of turn and Jimmy Carter trying to play the race card by stating it’s about racism in America.
As God is my witness folks get this through your heads, the Elitists are working hard to play this as the race card! In effort to get us taring at each other’s throats - divide and conquer!
No, this thing with President Barack Obama has nothing to do with race, many of us have grown up with all kinds of races outside our front and back doors - that is America and we have for quite some time been able to see the quality in all races! We have been best friends with people of other races and cultures in our day to day lives!
The thing that causes Americans to dislike and not trust or respect President Obama is his Fascist, Marxist style of politics along with his habitual habit of lieing! From the day Americans are born we were taught to dislike any form of communism or oppression of society! Now we have it practicing it’s politics in our own back yard!
Not something that will fly in the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!”

Charlie Sheen is offering a Live debate on the “Larry King”, show with any Government Rep or Reps in lieu with his 20 questions that he has requested sensible answers for from President Barack Obama!
Charlie has had no takers for the debate challenge so what does that tell us? 911 WAS AN INSIDE JOB!

MarMar September 17, 2009, 6:49 AM

I do not recall a similar situation where a member of Congress spoke out of turn to President Bush, or any other sitting President. However, if this did occur, then he or she was just as out-of-line as Joe Wilson was. Free speech is important, you are right - it’s a time and place for it that matters. I see that “Paul Revere” here does not agree with Jimmy Carter’s statement. But Jimmy Carter picked a good time and place to voice his opinion, and although the opinion of “Paul” does veer off-subject, he has picked a good time and place to express his views. Kanye could’ve waited until after the VMA’s to express his dismay at Beyonce’s video losing. Joe Wilson could’ve waited until after the President’s speech to express his dissent and his opinion that the President is lying. It’s all about manners, folks, that’s all we’re getting at here, no matter if you agree with the opinion or not.

Duke Metzgar September 17, 2009, 8:19 PM


I will venture to speak for most Americans: It’s not Kanye vs. Joe but Kanye and Joe are in the same category.

Sears is having a sale on White sheets. You’d better go get you some.

Osha Robinson September 22, 2009, 4:24 AM

Wrong is wrong and when you tell people you are sorry you have to show some remorse! One man does and the other doesn’t. Kanye has never been the same ever since his mother died but this doesn’t excuse him. But he was man enough to get on TV no matter the cost and show emotion but Joe Wilson needs to grow up because his job is much more important than being a rapper! He serves the people and our country and his actions should have been better the way he acted was not gentleman like. He should say “Sorry” and mean it not think he can”t loose his job for nasty. You don’t yell at anyone outside thier jobs they are adults and need to be treated like it. Like taylor is a child and you respect her too!!!!!!!!!

Who me September 22, 2009, 10:55 AM

Licensed Clinical Psychologist? Writer? Commentator? Those credentials certainly afford you your voice, but do those credentials say in some way you are an authority at civility?
“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” – from the U.S. military officer oath and part of the oath of office to the HOuse of Reps and the Senate!!
Rep Joe Wilson has called a spade a spade.
Kanye West is just a pathetic immature coward

Jocuri Online November 11, 2010, 7:09 PM

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Jocuri Online November 12, 2010, 12:15 AM

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Clementina Gallamore January 3, 2011, 6:42 AM

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