A rather novel game has been steadily growing in popularity recently; not a new game but one that has been transformed from its ugly roots of bullying into something chic and alluring to many. It’s called the ‘Great Shame Game,’ now carefully shrouded under a veil of superiority and intrigue. The game comes complete with a label maker allowing the players to easily assign a brand to identify their opponents, lest they forget why they have been deemed unacceptable.
This game also includes a spin machine to assist in reinforcing the branding of opponents. Their air of assumed superiority prevents them from using the traditional bullying terms. The spin machine allows them to repackage their findings to attract a larger audience of supporters. How can you identify the players? Those who engage in this game frequently label their opponents as uninformed, ill-mannered, racist and a host of other labels designed to relegate one to the pile labeled ‘undesirables… ‘ recently they have added dangerous to their labels.
The victims of this game range from those who dare to voice a controversial opinion of religious or political ideals all the way to those who may not be housed in a perfect body. Should you dare to voice a differing opinion they immediately seek an acceptable manner to convert your words to having racial or hateful undertones. Shame on you they are quick to say! Shame on you if you believe differently, if you hold an opinion that may not be rooted in their ideology… shame on you! You are ill-bred, ignorant, a racist or some other label that is diametrically opposed to your beliefs or the facts.
You may have unwittingly become a victim by simply stating an opinion, being a member of a church with differing ideas or supporting a political position they may not agree with. Once spoken you are treated to a stare of disdain and a lecture about how ridiculous your opinion is. They are quick to remind you that they have far more experience or education than you, thus cementing the fact that you are uninformed and your opinion has no real value. Your statement is almost immediately assumed to be motivated by something that is ugly, classless and ignorant. This translates to the idea that one is not nearly as smart as they are and should therefore accept that they know best. In the south, this is a ‘bless your little heart’ statement that was never a compliment.
Differing ideas is the foundation of ingenuity and creativity, lying at the very foundation of greatness in our country. We were born of the belief that every person and their right to believe individually was worth protecting so long as it conforms to our laws and does not hurt others. And it is. This is how new ideas become inventions that change the world in a remarkable way. Even if one does not accept the ideas of another, they are able to carefully examine what has been presented and search for their own idea of a better way. We lose this opportunity when we refuse to listen to or entertain the idea that differing opinions may have merit. We are not asked to accept, but merely to respect their right to believe that a better way may be available; one that is different from what we believe.
This is a hateful and hate filled game. We are better than this; better as a nation and better as a society. America is the shining light on the hill because we are not that kind of people, and never were. Shame on us if we allow this to become our norm.
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