I had a couple of interesting conversations today that brought up an interesting subject: victimhood.
Several years ago, I lived with a guy who loved being in control of nearly everything around him. He volunteered at the local community center and was also on the board, his boyfriend was very hot, but also passive. To look at him, he had everything going for him, except… With all this going for him, he always avoided the other side of control, to the point where I bought him a t-shirt one year for his birthday that read, “I want all the power and none of the responsibility.”
We live in a culture where that has nearly become the new national slogan. Sadly, I think it is also becoming our new export and the world seems to be eating it up.
People are always talking about rights, though most of the time what they are really talking about is privileges our rights afford us. The sad part is that where we want all those rights and privileges, we downright refuse to take on the responsibilities that come along as repercussions.
I see people all the time who perform some action and when the obvious outcome comes along, they cannot imagine why. Now, to be honest, these are things that when they touch you, we have a natural instinct to pull away and deny. When we can’t deny, we tend to lash back and get very unhappy with the messenger, so get prepared to be unhappy with me…
From the person who needs to get off the couch and eat better who can’t imagine why they suddenly have a heart attack and need bypass surgery. To the person who self-medicates themselves with drugs and/or alcohol and suddenly finds themselves in the pits of addiction. Sadly, these are the simpler and easier to deal with.
We get to the larger and more culturally sensitive ones like the racial minority that creates a separatist culture and then wonders why they don’t succeed from within the predominant culture. Of course if you say this in public, you are immediately labeled a racist and marginalized by those who either don’t know better, or worse, by those that have a vested interest in keeping things as they are perceived or represented to be.
To another group that doesn’t want anything more than a better life for themselves and their families but can’t or won’t recognize the fact that breaking the law to enter the country illegally to pursue the dream of becoming a law abiding citizen just doesn’t work. We will use this one as an example for the moment.
As with most things, life is truly about perception. How you view and associate details makes an amazing difference in one’s day-to-day existence. Using the above example, one of the “arguments” used to soften the hearts of their opponents goes like this:
Poppa came to the country as an illegal 15 years ago and made a living and stayed out of trouble. He met Momma and got married and had a few children. Now Poppa may be sent back to his country of origin, do you really want to break up this family?
Of course not and I feel for all the parties involved, but wouldn’t the object lesson be just as valid to say to the children, that Poppa broke the law a long time ago and though he meant well, they have a tendency to catch up to us and eventually one has to pay for their misdeeds. Unfortunately, he is no longer the only one that will have to pay the penalties of the heart.
Both options suck, but one teaches that there are consequences for our actions, a fact of the universe, and the other teaches a false lesson of questionable entitlement.
The other day I heard a new one that just about made me fall out of my chair I was laughing so hard. The newest group of “victims” were the Christian Right in America since they are under attack in what started as the “War on Christmas” and now has become the “War on Christianity.” Now everyone is officially a victim, no one is responsible and yet we all still want to know why things are as messed up as they are?
This victimhood idea is like a narcotic in that it is a very powerful thing. It is SOOO easy to acquire power through it and once tasted, like the forbidden fruit, next to impossible to put down.
The easy power of being a victim kind of reminds me of a friend that tried shooting-up heroine one time and decided that he would never do it again. When I asked him why, had he not liked it? He said, “No, just the opposite. I liked it too much and don’t think I would be able to stop if I did it again.” A very wise man indeed.
If one truly seeks power, do it the old fashioned way, earn it. It carries just as much weight and actually has some substance behind it. Plus, be honest, it seems to be human nature that people don’t respect what they get for free, only what they pay for. What people get for free they tend to abuse.
Being caucasian and male, to listen to most of the “Victim” groups, I am the cause of their lot in life. I am “raised” to hold other races down and to judge people by the color of their skin, their gender, religion, financial status, sexual orientation, ad nauseam. Somehow I must have missed those lessons, I got the ones that said that everyone deserved a fair shake and that by combining whatever talents I may have, with knowledge and skills that I acquire along the way, that in the final analysis, it was by my efforts or lack thereof that determines my success or failure in the world.
I hear members of these minority or marginalized groups talk and you walk away with the idea that no person of __________ (fill in the blank) ever failed in whatever endeavor they set out upon due to lack of personal ability, skill or effort; but only by being held back by “the man.”
The fact is, that racism, sexism or some other criterion of judgment will always exist in a small minority of people since they will use it it as a way to make themselves feel better about who and what they are. Miserable self-images spawn pre-judgment in an effort to prop up self-identity as a matter of simplicity, you’re bad, hence I’m good.
It’s kind of strange to me, but I was told that if I was to succeed in this world, it would be by my efforts alone, the world would give me what I needed, but little more. I find the unifying idea taught in “victimized” groups to be that you are unable to succeed on your own and are entitled to extra help based upon some wrong-doing in the past, real or perceived.
Terrible things have been done to people by people for as long as mankind has been around, the question is when do you stop being so focussed on what’s behind you that you miss what’s in front of you.
Someone said (ok actually many have said something along the same line) that if you have one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, you are going to pee all over today. I say, if you are so focussed on the past that you can’t see the present, you will miss the future.
I find that if you expect things in your life, they tend to show up. We are the children of a Creating God and as such create constantly. If we spend our time and focus expecting bad things, don’t be surprised when bad things happen.
If you want to be a victim of your past and not get beyond that, fine, that is one of those privileges that living in the USA gives you. But word of advice, don’t whine to me about it. After a while I’l tell you to either figure out where to change it and get something new or shut up, I’m tired of hearing the same record repeating itself.
Remember that ALL choices have repercussions and if you don’t want to deal with them, then don’t set them in motion. Karma, reaping what you sow, etc are identical to Newton’s 3rd law of Motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Be a victim and expect to be victimized, but know there is an alternative.
Benjamin Franklin said that “if we forget the past we are condemned to repeat it.” I’m not advocating forgetting anything, just don’t be so absorbed in it that you condemn yourself to live there forever, of course unless you want to–your choice.