For years, I have been hearing from a number of red-blooded patriots and voices inside my head that summer’s worldwide Pride celebrations are the source of not a little intense personal discomfort, moral outrage, and erotically charged cognitive dissonance. That’s why I am pleased to announce that the first annual Shame Month will commence on September 1, 2018. Over thirty days, constitutionally repressed Americans everywhere will be able to self-flagellate and self-lacerate freely, Big Queer Media’s scorn machine be damned.
Ye verily, let it be known from sea to shining sea that we will no longer allow the proud-and-out LGTBQIA+ community to oppress us with its pride. We will not be shaken by the courage of all the men, women, and others who have overcome significant odds to forge a place for themselves in the national discourse. We will not be intimidated by all these humans who have worked to embrace their differences and form self-sustaining communities in cities and towns across these United States and who do not refer to their spouses as mother. We will keep tight. We will remain rigid. We will clench our jaws and buttocks bravely, shake our heads, purse our lips, narrow our eyes, and mutter that solemn syllable in a sort of prayer: shame, shame, shame.
When we march through the streets, we will be modest. We will wear long unflattering pants and shirts buttoned to the top button. We will wear plain and unrevealing underwear. Our ladies will cover their knees, elbows, and necks. Our bodies will be unwelcoming temples closed off to perversion and joy. Our music will not be blared but will be played at a responsible volume. It will be outwardly wholesome but tinged with the inward rot of shame, so essential to our way of living. As the leaves begin to change around our great country, we will know that summer’s pride lets on, inevitably, to fall’s shame.
As one of the louder voices in my head reminded me recently, you aren’t really throwing a party for shame if you aren’t also throwing a party for violence. We’re talking intra- and interpersonal, the whole nine. We’re talking hating yourself for your difference from a cultural norm, externalizing that self-hatred, and projecting it onto an Other. And you better believe we’re talking about then proceeding to licitly and illicitly brutalize or discriminate against both individual representatives of that Other and the group as a whole.
That’s right. September will be about more than the joy of repressing differences in sexual orientation and gender identity. It will be about more than heteronormativity and the shame that maintains it. It will be a celebration of repression and national shame in all its quintessential American forms. It will be about all the times and places where repression has dovetailed with oppression. It will be about the Good Ole Days. It might even be the first step to getting us back to them.
I’m Mike Pence, and I’m here to invite you to join me in the new American chorus. I’m here to invite you to say: Happy Shame.