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Where is the shame?

I can’t seem to find it.

I’ve often said that we all could use a little more kindness in the world. I’m thinking these days we need a lot more shame.

Like you, I’ve listened endlessly to the Penn State/Sandusky fiasco. I watched Sandusky being interviewed, I saw him smile, shrug, laugh and not look directly at the camera. Where is the shame?  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, if he didn’t do it, why isn’t he ashamed to be associated with something so horrific?

I watched as Blagojevich spoke to the press today and finally render an apology. This man’s arrogance led him to betray his constituents, family, state and his country. Where is his shame?

The times when I tuned into the Casey Anthony trial, I never once saw a woman who was grieved that her child was dead, let alone any shame that she might be associated with the death.

In watching our politicians Arnold, Weiner, Cain, (this list could go on forever) I never witnessed any remorse or shame for the disgrace they brought to their family and to the country. They didn’t say it and they didn’t show it. Chances are good they didn’t feel it.

And speaking of politicians (not my favorite subject), how can they knowingly broadcast soundbites from their opponents knowing that they are distorted but hoping that the general public is stupid enough to buy their snipits of information? Our forefathers would be pointing muskets at these morons. It’s all so disgusting and I think they should all be ashamed of themselves.

America is an amazing country. People from all over the world strive to get here so they can have a better life. Americans come in all different colors and classes. How can our government forget about the middle and lower class citizens when they try to push and pass their legislations? Instead, our Congress, Senate and House bluster and take us into further ruin. What happened to fairness? Where is their shame?

There is a distinct disconnect in so many people these days that it’s scary. What happened to the idea that when you do something wrong, bad or immoral you say you’re sorry? Are sincere apologies really that hard to make? Geez!

When FaceBook was going through the infiltration of porn and violence, I saw a picture of two young Hispanic men holding a puppy hanging from a rope. They killed it and were pictured laughing and flipping their middle finger to the camera. I later learned that they made a video of the hanging and posted it on YouTube. Don’t you have to wonder what happens to a person that they think that kind of stuff is okay? It sickened me and I can’t seem to get the image out of my head. How could you not be ashamed of that?

I have a life-long friend who recently cheated me out of a good deal of money, something that affected my livelihood and financial security. I would have been happy to talk it over with him, to have an honest face to face sit down. He wouldn’t even pick up the phone. It’s hard for me to fathom that after 40 plus years of enduring friendship, this man has absolutely no shame.

If you ask me (and I know you didn’t), the world needs more accountability, more culpability and a hell of lot more shame. Shame is highly under rated. It’s been my experience that when you carry shame on your shoulders you have remorse in your heart. The road to healing is paved with remorse.

I’m not quite sure what to do about it. It strikes me that maybe we all need a mother pointing her finger in our face chanting “shame on you, go to your room and come out when you’ve thought about what you’ve done and are ready to apologize”.

Where is mom when you need her?

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Heather - I love this post because it’s fun to get to know you and subscribe to your blog and I wholeheartedly agree with you. My 4 year old son, sitting with me, loves your blog because of the “feed my fish” gadget on the side. He’s giggling hysterically as I’m feeding your fish. Thought you’d like to know. 🙂 —your new diva cafe, twitter, and facebook friend! 🙂

Suerae Stein - I agree with you 100 percent on this, Tammy. It is appalling, but I am hoping that it is not as bad as it seems, it’s just that we only hear the bad side of people. I am trying to believe that there are more good people who would feel shame in any of those instances than not. Thanks for your post! I always enjoy your writing. ~ Suerae

Tammy - Heather, so happy you are here and ever so lovely to have your son feeding the fish. I’ve neglected them for some time. Am thinking of adding a hamster to my collection. Look forward to sharing thoughts with you in the future months. Thanks for posting!

Tammy - Suerae, Let us keep a hopeful heart that there are more good people than bad. Even better, that people acquire a sense of responsibility and guilt. Hey, sometimes guilt can be a great characteristic…at least in this instance it would be. I always enjoy being read … by you. Thanks for stopping by.

Joan Cooper - You put it so well, but no matter what – human nature doesn’t change. Not for centuries.

We hope for hope. Education, religion, social mores – but there are always some who violate the civilized concept. Perhaps after all it will always be a jungle. I greatly admire those who work for justice for the flesh and blood who cannot defend themselves – children and animals. Yes, animals are flesh and blood. I hate it when someone is referred to as an “animal”. Animals in my experience are really nicer. Better you refer to nasy people as savages. That is really what they are.

RC Scott - There’s instant gratification in “wrongdoing,” thus the draw. Strength is needed to withstand the temptation, and there will always be weak individuals falling into the darkness.

All this stuff was here before we came, and will be here after were gone. The make up of our Human Nature will always leave us susceptible to it. Any one of us can stumble at any time.

The important thing to realize is that we can only impact what’s in our own sphere, & the way to deal with the Shadow World is simply to turn on a light.

Fighting with shadows brings only exhaustion, despair, and defeat. Much easier just to turn on a light. Emphasize the positive and the negative falls to the side.

William G. Jones - There’s no shame anymore because people feel no consequences for their actions.

First of all, society as a whole has completely abandoned the idea of God and eternal consequences, preferring the notion that humans are third cousins to apes. Once a person accepts that there is no divine creator, then it’s easy to accept that there’s no eternal justice, and worldly justice becomes a matter of playing the system.

Once people buy into the idea that they’re nothing more than animals, why are we surprised when they act like animals?

And while you’re right that the forefathers would be appalled by our leaders, I think the forefathers would be even more appalled by how functionally illiterate American society has become. We the people have a responsibility to hold our leadership accountable, but somewhere, that’s been forgotten, because we’ve allowed our leadership to convince us that they’re beyond questioning, beyond reproach.

We are a society that has forgotten what it means to be free and responsible human beings. We’ve bought into this lie that life is about what we can get away with, that if it feels good, do it. We’ve created a generation that is more concerned with entitlement than entrepreneurship, and while we all want to blame the train wreck of this current economy on goods made in China, we don’t want to admit that we buy everything from China because we won’t pay the premium for goods made in the U.S.A. by U.S. workers. It’s somebody else’s problem, it’s always somebody else’s problem, and when you hear people complaining about it, they’ll never admit THEIR role in it. We’ve become a society of individuals, looking out only for individual needs and not those of the community. Worse still, we’ve become a society bent on the notion that anything goes, no matter what we can’t offend anyone.

Until we get back the sense that there are universal rights and wrongs, there will never be shame. Shame is something that’s instilled into the moral fiber of a person, not something they’re born with. And because shame doesn’t feel good, this hedonistic society has decided there’s no place for it at all. After all, the monkeys don’t feel shame, do they?

Tammy - RC, I LOVE your phrase “the way to deal with the Shadow world is simply to turn on a light”. Kind of brilliant. You are right; of course all this stuff has been here for ages and will be here long after we all leave. I stumble all the time. I screw up and make mistakes. I hate it when it happens, but it happens. I’m generally left mortified and riddled with guilt that I hurt someone. I’ve learned in my years that apologies, while sometimes hard to express, absolutely set you free. It may not fix the problem but it seems to fix the heart of the problem. It all still baffles me how there seems to be so pity little conscience in the world as of late. Troubling. So jazzed that you stopped by and shared, it was awesome! Thanks for being here.

Tammy - Joan, oh, you’ve hit a sore spot for me here, perhaps a blog for the future. Yes, I also hate it when people refer to other people as animals. In my minds eyes; that is a compliment. In watching the news as of late, I have seen many more ‘savages’ and it’s beyond disturbing. I understand as much as one can, people’s greed and corrupt hearts. What I cannot wrap my head around is the lack of remorse when their actions inflict pain and shame on others. I just don’t get it. Always enjoy reading your two cents. Thrilled to have you on the other end of my blog! Thanks for posting.

Tammy - William, it’s been a while since a post has made me think so much. You and I agree on pretty much everything except (you knew there would be an ‘except’) that society has no shame because God is absent in their lives. It calls to mind the many preachers and priests that do truly believe in God but continue their shameful perversions on the innocents with pity little shame.
I couldn’t agree more that we as Americans have become so complacent that we almost deserve what we have. Shame on us and shame on them. When the populous lives up to their obligations the leadership might be more inclined to do the same.
We all play a role in our current economic situation and it certainly does appear that we are all out for ourselves. Beyond disturbing. Not all of us feel that way (thank God) but those that do are many. What we are learning is that the world is indeed a small place and Japan, the Middle East, Europe all share in the same bucket of problems that we do. I was just having this convo with a friend of mine as I have been searching everywhere to buy some American made products. Can’t find them. Would I pay more for them? You bet. Would I pay a LOT more for them? I can’t.
I love your idea of ‘universal rights and wrongs’. What a great concept for the world to adopt. If only it were that easy. I’ll tell you one thing, Mr. Jones … I’d vote for you for President. Let me know if and when you plan to run. Awesome having you here. Thanks for posting, hope we see you again.

Mel Glenn - I liked your column a lot. There is no shame and no loyalty. Look at Reyes and Pujols in baseball. Old values have died a quick death.

Tammy - Mel, what a pleasure! One has to wonder if there has always been a shortage of shame and loyalty and we simply were not as informed as we are today (Internet, TV, tweets, etc.). Or have we really just gone to hell in a hand basket (yes, I really said that). Old values have died a quick death…and a painful one at that. Great having you here, Mel, thanks for posting.

kellie kennedy - Shame is a rare things these days Tammy.
Most politicians feel they are above remorse!

Junior - To me, shame can be found almost anywhere you venture out to these days. It’s not hard to find. It is not news that to anyone that with today’s wacky world of communication that, more times than not, the negative is portrayed more than the good.
It is one thing to take part in shameful acts and then use technology to subject those things to the rest of the world, but when the media uses them to boost their ratings or, as usual, in a ‘sensationalistic’ format, the shame can then be shifted to a new level.
I feel that it is for the most part a uncontrolled world out there, and beginning to be more uncontrolled over our use of technology.

cheryl - Another thought-provoking subject——-I, unfortunately, believe that in our world today, many have never even heard the word “shame” let alone internalize the meaning of the word and how it might relate to oneself. Shame is for others besides the immoral politician or criminal. Why is it that there is no shame in walking away from relationships and commitments such as financial resposibilities.
This has become a world of “do what YOU want that feels good because YOU have that right”. Our society and educational system have been very successful at making us all think we are so special and that we should not be allowed to fail. It would crush our little narcissistic egos. This is new thinking in the last fifty years. This can be seen from many perspectives——-the CEO who feels so important so as to take much from the corporation even when it is in bankruptcy, and the person who feels no compunction to make any effort to take responsibility to do whatever necessary to take care of himself, like take an imperfect job that may not be in the perfect place at the perfect pay rather than sit around and whine that the world does not do enough for “me”.
My upbringing made it very clear to me that I am not the center of the universe and I am okay with that. I have tried to encourage my boys to strive for success in their pursuits, always acting fairly and honestly. Individual integrity is all we have.
I am a firm believer that if everyone adopted the rule “do for and to others what you would like others to do to and for you” there would be no problems in families, with friends, in communities, principalities, states, nations, the world or the universe; there would be no shame. Sounds pretty simple, and I am also not naive enough to believe this could ever happen. It is how I try to live my life, and my life is the only one I can control. It is also not real easy especially when someone treats me unfairly or is mean to me. I have to control my “get back at you” desire.

Tammy - Junior, you’re right, it is definitely an uncontrolled world out there. No doubt. I’m thinking it always has been. But I do remember a time when remorse was standard fare when someone did something wrong or hurtful. It feels like those days are over. Too bad. A remorseful heart can often heal the wound it inflicted in the first place. Yes, we certainly do get an ear load everyday via the media of all the negative stuff going on in our world. One has to wonder if it was always there or if we are just hearing so much more about it because of the technology you mentioned. Something to think about. So happy you stopped in and thanks for posting!

Tammy - Cheryl, I’m not sure who should have written this blog; you or me. You are right in saying that individual integrity is all we have. I don’t think that many people believe it or live it, for that matter. Or, perhaps the ‘integrity bar’ has been set so low that it really doesn’t matter anymore. Being sorry, having shame for doing wrong was something I was raised with. I raised my daughter the same way. I liken it to being my conscience. Maybe you’re right in that people feel so special they feel entitled and immune from feelings of remorse or shame. It’s really too bad; the world is worse for the lack of it. For my part, I am sorry for those times I hurt people or do things I’m not proud of. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I own it; I regret it and I share my remorse which, ironically, allows me to shed my shame. So love having you here! Thanks for posting.

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