If it is so difficult for us to apologize in our private lives, imagine how humiliating it is for someone like Dan Rather to say he's sorry in front of the entire country, and on his own broadcast. It's deeply embarrassing to be proven wrong, especially for the country's leading TV anchor. Rather could have blamed everyone else for his mistake. He could have said it was the fault of his producers. Instead, he said he was sorry-directly, forcefully, and simply. And he once again earned my respect for doing so.

He could go further, however, and apologize to the man he falsely maligned. Because even though he may be the most powerful man in the world, George W. Bush is still someone, like the rest of us, whose reputation is as important to him as his very life.