The Right View: Let's talk about shame

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Shame ?sh?m, noun: a feeling of guilt, regret or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong; ability to feel guilt, regret or embarrassment; dishonor or disgrace; something that brings censure or reproach.

You know, when shame is not applied equally to elected officials on both sides of the political spectrum, it can smell suspiciously like a narrative meant to drive public opinion. It’s a confusing topic anyway, though, right? I mean, we’re not supposed to judge people. We’ve been told that for a couple of decades now, at least.

But there’s been a lot of finger-pointing lately at elected officials’ behavior. Well, elected Republicans anyway. So are we judging again now? Can we judge elected Democrats too? Again, I’m confused because everything in the media seems so one-sided.

So I’ll go ahead and take my cue from what’s happening in other print media and add my voice to the shaming, finger-pointing and judging, since that’s what we’re doing again now. Apparently.

That U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, skipped what will go down in history as perhaps one of the most important appearances before Congress is utterly disgraceful, but not surprising. Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Capitol on March 3, yet Ms. Pingree was more concerned about walking lock-step with the most radical, destructive president we’ve ever had. What, she couldn’t think enough for herself to pay her respects in person to Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who was in attendance? To represent the people of the 1st District of Maine in showing respect to him, at least?

Aside from the fact that Mr. Netanyahu was there representing freedom, liberty and democracy in the Middle East (that includes for women, by the way), that he was there imploring us to help him in avoiding the nuclear obliteration of his country, and that he was warning us of the dangers of terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear weapon via Iran, something occurred to me regarding the significance of Ms. Pingree turning her back on Mr. Wiesel by boycotting Mr. Netanyahu’s appearance.

In her blog, “Conversion Diary” Jennifer Fulwiler discusses the similarities between the Holocaust and abortion. And no, no one makes that comparison lightly. Anyone is welcome to read her lengthy blog on the topic to see that she at one time was opposed to anyone making such a comparison.

However, to use a politically useful term, Jennifer evolved.

She states, “What I came to see, though, was that for all the many differences, there is one thing that is the same about the Holocaust and the modern practice of abortion, and it is something critical: At the root of both scourges is a particular strain of evil … the kind that works to take away the humanity of human beings. It whispers in the ears of one group of people that a certain other group of people are something less than human, less worthy of life … And once this is accomplished, once a group of people have been thoroughly dehumanized in the mind of their society, evil can run wild while the populace yawns.

“I came to see why it is so very important to always be on the lookout for this most insidious, malignant type of evil that spawned both the Holocaust and the modern abortion movement: because it is the kind that allows normal people like you and me to look at the corpses of our fellow human beings, to know that they’re piling up around us, and shrug.”

Ms. Pingree’s stance on limitless abortion, and in fact supporting partial birth abortion, on top of the boycott of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech and by default Mr. Wiesel’s attendance, are the very definition of shameful. She has even voted to support the aborting of children based on gender. I’m confused as to why that is not a hate crime. And what if in the future prenatal testing would tell a woman or the father if the baby would grow up to be gay, and so they wanted to abort? In Ms. Pingree’s book, that would have to be OK, I guess.

So while people spend their time talking about bad jokes on Facebook, or how unconscionable it is to actually put the elderly and disabled Mainers who are on wait-lists ahead of non-citizens when tackling welfare reform, let’s not lose sight of what is truly shameful, shall we?

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Julie McDonald-Smith lives in North Yarmouth. She is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer and former chairwoman of the Cape Elizabeth Republican Committee. Her column appears every other week.