Yesterday after the Senate failed to pass background check legislation a woman in the gallery yelled, “Shame on you!” Today, President Obama, in response to this the vote to not enlarge background checks, declared “All in all, today was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

Will using SHAME help to create the type of safety humans need to live happy lives? I think not! Shame when hurled with the force witnessed yesterday in the Senate creates nothing but a defensive stance. When shamed we are not drawn into a conversation. Shame creates distance. Shame when felt makes one want to hide, to disappear, eventually to turn and strike back. Shame when used repeatedly to control another creates such an intense inner trauma it engenders anxiety, depression and other psychological distress.  Shame has the power to create more Boston Bombers, more Adam Lanza’s.

Shaming those in opposition to us will not create the dialogue this county needs to move sensibly forward on our gun violence issue!

Only when we find the inner courage and create necessary safety to vulnerably and authentically offer to others our feelings shame, fear, of feeling abandoned, betrayed, confused and with this courage and safety to be heard and validated only then will we begin to create the connecting conversations so missing in our selves, our marriages, our families, in religious polarization and in society at large.

With hope and courage,


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