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An Apology is Not Enough

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Fresh off of Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s health care reform address to Congress, tennis-super star Serena Williams went smooth off on a a judge who made a bogus call against her. I was thinking of how far we’ve come, and, even with that success, there will always be controversy.

I was thinking about how live TV continues to catch the best and the worst of us, but it’s the worst that gets all the press. “You lie!” will be remembered more than anything the president said the other night. And the tape of Serena pointing her finger at the judge will be replayed more than any victory she’s ever had. And just when I thought I had enough material to start writing, it was as if the god of the blogs smiled down on me – and Kanye West ran up onstage during the MTV Video Music Awards, took the microphone from Taylor Swift, the winner of the best female video award, and announced that Beyonce had the best video of all time.

Now, just like that, Kanye West is the story of the VMAs. Not the winners, not Janet Jackson’s hyped up performance, but Kanye. Just like we didn’t know who Congressman Joe Wilson until last week, Kanye will become known and hated by more people than he could ever imagine. On YouTube, as soon as it happened, there were posts that said he needs to go back to the cotton field, and that his mother should die again.

Electing the first black president brought us together as a nation and separated us at the same time. We are on an the edge of a racial explosion because so many people are filled with such hate for black people that they will use any and every opportunity to release their venom. Congressman Wilson has said he’s apologized, and that’s the end of the issue. Even though I don’t agree, I’m sure much of the country is ready to forget it and move on. Serena has also made a public apology for losing her temper.

Kanye West has been a poor sport and whined about not winning before, and now to take the moment away from a first-time winner only made him look silly and petty. Beyonce ended up having to clean up his mess by letting Taylor Swift finish her thank-you speech when Beyonce won a VMA later in the show. Whether Kanye apologizes or not, I doubt if he’ll be invited to another live MTV event, and I’m sure he and Serena both will be lightning rods for the media for a while – no doubt taking the spotlight off of Congressman Wilson. They shouldn’t.

As offensive to some or embarrassing or unfortunate as their actions were, neither did anything as wrong as Congressman Joe Wilson. Taylor Swift is not the president of the United States, and Kayne, the new self-proclaimed King of Pop, is no congressman. He may have hurt her feelings, but the congressman showed blatant disrespect, not just to President Obama but to the country and the office itself. In this case, an apology is not enough.