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Wed Jun 24, 2015, 06:42 PM

On the Politics of Shame

“We cannot grow when we are in shame, and we can’t use shame to change ourselves or others.” -- Brene’ Brown

One of the human dynamics which has no meaningful place in discussions about the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest is shame. Yet, almost every single day, we can find several OP/threads that imply those who think a certain way, or have different values, are not only “wrong,” but are betraying the party/ nation. Indeed, we see attempts to assign “guilt” and “shame” for sincerely held political beliefs.

There is not a monopoly on this. Far too much of it can be attributed to the supporters of the two top Democratic candidates. And, at its very best, it is convincing evidence that the person who attempts to assign such guilt has so shallow a position, that they are without anything meaningful to support their position.

Guilt and shame are, as Erich Fromm taught, associated with separation from the group. These emotions should rightfully belong to those who commit offenses -- usually violent -- against other individuals or groups …..the very people who, like George W. Bush, lack the capacity to experience them. It’s not the type of emotion that should be inflicted upon a toddler who soils his pants; a student who fails an important test at school; or an adult who loves another adult of the same sex.

It’s been abused in our society for far too long. It gets abused by too many adults interacting with children, and on the larger scale, by organized religion -- highlighted by those times a judgmental “religious” belief has been written into law in this country. It is the stuff of intolerance. And, as Gandhi taught, intolerance betrays a want of faith in one’s cause.

There are community members who are making solid cases for the candidate they support. It’s silly to point fingers and say, “You’re wrong to support him/her, because a vote for him/her is a vote for a republican.” That’s simply not true: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both Democrats, with enough history to rationally compare the two. The Democratic Party -- and this forum -- includes a wide range of people. There is zero benefit accrued by attempting to make someone feel they aren’t part of it.

It would be too easy to assign blame on “trolls,” political agents, and other paid employees. It would also be inaccurate. Most of the people who are stirring the pot are good people. They are sincere in their efforts to voice their opinion. They get carried away, not because they are “bad,” but because not only does American culture appear t be saturated in guilt (in one way or another), but presidential primaries on DU:GD have not traditionally been pillow fights. It’s easy to have hostility rise quickly, to reach the level achieved in the last argument, when confronting an old opponent.

There are also numerous calm, rational contributors to the discussions. They don’t always get attention. But they are there. It’s funny, speaking of attempts to make people feel disconnected to the larger group ….we often see someone say, “Yeah, but DU doesn’t reflect the ‘real world’.” Or, say that no one could be seriously influenced, let alone have their mind changed, just by conversing here on DU. Baloney. There are men and women here who have influenced my thinking a great deal. In some cases, to change my opinion. But, more often, they add to my knowledge and understanding of various topics. I know others who feel the same way. If you haven’t learned -- and grown -- from experience here, it is more a statement about you. Because there is certainly a large reservoir of knowledge and personal experience to be found among this community.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply On the Politics of Shame (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 2015 OP
NRaleighLiberal Jun 2015 #1
H2O Man Jun 2015 #3
Gregorian Jun 2015 #2
H2O Man Jun 2015 #4
babylonsister Jun 2015 #5
mmonk Jun 2015 #6
NRaleighLiberal Jun 2015 #7
RobertEarl Jun 2015 #8
Old Codger Jun 2015 #9
raouldukelives Jun 2015 #10

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 06:51 PM

1. Thank you, as always, for your worthwhile words

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 07:50 PM

3. Thank you!

I enjoy debating as much as anyone. Growing up in a poor Irish-American family, on a small farm in "the sticks," my brothers and I argued for recreation. Any given topic, there were three distinct views. As the youngest, I had to hone my skills in order to compete with intelligent brothers.It seems like a family tradition, when I consider my elders, and the younger generations.

But some of the things on here recently have been unnecessary.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 07:21 PM

2. The notion of "together" should be the underlying foundation of our relationships.

And extend from within to all that we do.

Now I'm trying to learn this. It comes from being fearless in the face of difference. Not threatened. And within reason. There were things on this forum that would threaten my beliefs, which now no longer cause the slightest fear. I've had long talks with a mentor on the judgment, guilt, shame things. The one thing that I'm discovering is that this is a continuous process that, for me, needs renewing frequently. The world could come a long way if this were truly implemented by everyone. I often lament at how late in life I learned some things. I don't think too many people ever realize this stuff, or there'd be less violence and pollution in the world. What's our goal, anyways.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 07:58 PM

4. That's key:

to be both connected to others, yet very comfortable alone with one's self. And we can be alone, even in a crowd, sometimes.

It's odd how, far too often, the wrong people are wounded by shame, and those who should be, are often the most judgmental. We are -- hopefully -- aware of an article Jeb Bush authored (or took credit for) a few years back, but which was recently in the news. He was talking about how certain segments of our population -- unwed mothers -- should be "shamed" by the community. If he believes that, his mind is sick. If he doesn't believe it, but merely said it for political gain, he is immoral.

When we see that type of shit here, it cheapens the discourse.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 08:03 PM

5. Thank you for your voice of sanity, my friend.

I assume we're all adults here, but some/most days, I wonder recently. It was almost better when we had a common enemy. Now rending the loins of our own; so very distasteful!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 08:17 PM

6. Very good.

It's just now, some of us feel so desperate. We should listen to one another when we can.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 08:24 PM

7. +1.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 08:37 PM

8. Shame can be an effective tool

 

Not as a hammer, tho, but more as a lubricant.

On DU it strikes me as rather odd that some here post and post and post, and then turn around and post about how useless it is to post on DU.

DU is a most useful place, and in a sense, a community of worth.

Take you for instance.... if not for DU I might have never known you existed, likewise with many other fine members.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 09:36 PM

9. Well said

 

A great articulation of what DU is all about and how it should be..

Thank You

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 25, 2015, 12:12 AM

10. K&R For me, it is very much an outlet, catharsis.

I tend to be in a pretty foul mood after I have caught up with the daily outrages.
Just as I know others here are as outraged in their own ways, and rightly so.
I always try to bear that in mind.

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