There’s a new type of shaming in our country today. No – it’s not body shaming, gender shaming or race shaming. It’s belief shaming – not just religious belief shaming, but political belief shaming.
Shaming is done by someone with one set of beliefs to someone with a different set of beliefs. It’s done to elicit changes in thought and behavior. It is done to shame into silence. It is intolerance; it is bullying.
“A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by of that which or modesty prompts us to conceal” ~ 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary.
Disagreements handled with generosity of spirit are good for our country. It sharpens our vigilance. It holds in check for healthy balance. It has the ability to stimulate goodness becoming better and enables love to be all-encompassing.
Group think is never healthy – in a company or in a country.
Recently, someone in my nest was belief-shamed: politic-shamed. My husband and I were there while he handled it with grace, kindness and firmness. Because he believed we needed healthy borders and was a Trump supporter, he was labeled a racist, a hater and ignorant by someone older and in authority over parts of his life.
Differences in how individuals think about scientific theory, literary interpretation, grammar usage, history, and politics doesn’t leave one side a lover and the other a hater, one side brilliant, the other side stupid beyond belief. Those are false arguments designed to shame into silence. Those arguments in themselves are intolerant.
“It is clear that the individual who persecutes [shames] a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster[bully]” ~Voltaire. Tolerance makes room for a different opinion, breeding respect. It is not just generosity of spirit – it is the American spirit.
“Children learn at an early age the principle of the limitation of individual liberty. It can usually be fixed in the mind by the epigrammatic statement, “My right to swing my arm ends where your nose begins” ~ Walter B. Hill, 1902, Chancellor of the University of Georgia at a meeting of the National Educational Association.
Yes, I support capitalism over socialism. Yes, I support healthy borders and the enforcement of laws. Yes, I support legal immigration. I support free speech and the right to bear arms.
I unabashedly love my country and how it has grown to encompass freedom for all men. Yes, I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I love America and the potential it affords its people.
The growth of our country is similar to the growth of the individual soul – the individual soul may fail in its efforts to love perfectly, but the individual soul keeps its eyes on the one who created it, picks itself up and keeps trying. Not only is the growth of our country’s soul similar to the individual’s souls growth, but America’s figurative soul is a reflection of the soul of its people.
It is full of people with generosity of spirit, a love-thy-neighbor kind of love – and passionate differences of opinion.
During this election season, let’s not politic/belief shame. Let’s not diminish a person’s intellectual ability. Let’s not doubt the moral state of their souls. Let us choose love – maybe an exasperated love, but still love.
“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may” ~ John Wesley