On Shame

When have you felt shame?  I can only speak personally when I confess that my shame has made itself known to me when I was caught in childhood lies, when I consistently chose my self-interests over those of others, and most recently when my “high and mighty moral horse” bucked me.

We need not perceive shame as a negative.  Indeed, we should understand shame as a gift.  It is a reminder to us that we are not alone and that our actions constantly impact those around us.

If you’ve been following the action in Wisconsin, you may have already learned that the WI Republicans snuck a vote past the sleep-deprived democrats, inching the GOP closer to their goal of union busting.  Seconds after the vote, this happened:

I believe that all people inclined towards the just and equal treatment of all other people are completely justified in heaping loads of shame on those that would exploit the rest of us for financial profit.

In speaking with one of my seminary professors about the revolution, we broached the topic of shame.  He told me that part of a business person’s psychological milieu was a certain amount of shamelessness.

This is perfectly understandable when you consider their past and continuing actions.  But just because they may ignore their feelings of shame, does not negate the fact that they are human and thus still subject to such human feelings.

Of course it also raises the question:  If they ignore their shameful instincts are they living into their full humanity?

How long will the money-lovers hold onto their shamelessness?  How much longer can they keep such a venomous element of themselves locked up and ignored?  Surely at some point they must break.

With the capitalist system irreparably broken, I believe that it is in the interest of national mental health for business leaders to start admitting their shame.

It’s the first move towards much needed reconciliation.

PS:  For those of you reading in the bay area, please join me at noon today in front of San Francisco city hall in a show of solidarity for our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio.

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