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America’s Favorite Pastime: Victimhood?

by John on 02/10/2015

This is the script/notes from my radio commentary on victimhood. You can listen here.

This concept has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks. It seems that the media concentrates too much on the sporting event of politics (that’s where the money is) and not on the solutions.

But I also think too many of us in the American public – and especially online and on social media – fall into the media trap. We end up rooting for one side or the other rather than examining the issue correctly.

I figured it was easier to write this column and do it as a radio broadcast rather than posting in the comment section FAKE VICTIM every time I thought a post or a comment fell into that category. Again, I have had so many people tell me to produce a show cataloging the distortions and lies on cable TV. But all that does is bring more eyeballs to the silliness. I want to veer you away from cable news – and a lot of the mainstream media – as a main source of your news and information. You can find it on your own through your computer and smart phone.

Also, I mentioned The End of Power by Moises Naim. Here is my review.

Also take a look at my reviews on The Accidental Superpower and America in Retreat.

Let me know your thoughts.

Here is the script/notes from my thoughts on American Victimhood.

Before we start condemning Brian Williams, let’s look at ourselves.

It is Monday February 9, 2015.

Whether NBC News fires or demotes Williams, I don’t care. It is their business. Frankly, ratings will decide his fate. If people stop watching NBC News and advertisers stop advertising, then Williams will probably be a talk show host and not a news anchor anymore.

But the Brian Williams story goes deeper into our media, our politics, and our culture. And it is – well – kind of embarrassing.

It’s called Victimhood.

And we all do it.

Brian Williams portrayed himself as a victim. He told us that he was in a chopper that was under fire in a war zone. Why? It made him look good. He wasn’t just a talking head sitting behind the desk. He was a reporter in the field. Trust me, every news anchor wants to prove that. Every news anchor doesn’t want to look like Ted Baxter or Ron Burgundy.

Haven’t we all done that at some point? I am sure I have. But I just don’t remember at the moment. Let’s move on.

We want to be thought of as someone who is heroic or who has done good – for people.

Is Brian Williams victimhood horrible? Maybe not. He was doing his job in some respects. He was making himself look good for ratings. I am not saying that is right. He should be more in-tune to the truth. But he’s making 10-million a year to keep that image.

The worst faux victims are people like al Qaeda and ISIS and other extremists. Osama bin Laden felt victimized – and he used it. ISIS feels the world is a horrible place because there is no caliphate. Really? No, they want the power — they can’t have — because the mullahs in Iran and the royal family in Saudi Arabia have it.

But there is a strain of this thinking in the American media and American politics.

Fox News has proclaimed there is a war on Christianity and the war on Christmas.

Look at the crazy reaction on the right to President Obama’s prayer breakfast comments. In reality he was trying to set a tone to rally moderate Muslims to really join the fight versus ISIS. Instead, we got the typical us versus them.

MSNBC sees the GOP and Fox News creating the war on the middle class. Yes, all those tax dollars going to billionaires is causing the problems. It may be one cause, but it’s not the only reason. We have an aging society now with fewer workers contributing to social security and Medicare. Technology is eliminating jobs and only the technically educated are working and getting well paid.

Just recently a report by The Economist showed that job growth has increased – in part — because we cut back on unemployment benefits. It spurred people.

That’s not to say billionaires are victims either since they can spend billions to bribe lawmakers on both sides of the aisle – many times stopping real reform – especially tax and immigration reform – while trying to keep the status quo – which is their bottom line.

Cutting taxes for billionaires might create some jobs. But those tax cuts also create deficits – if no revenue is coming in. Ask Kansas.

The real answers are:

First, tax relief that is fair and encourages investment for the jobs we need.

Second, investment in job creation for high tech 21st Century jobs.

Third, we don’t need big or small government. We need efficient government.

Instead, we get the victims of politics – and no solutions.

Why?

Being a victim helps raise money. And we have political elites that are allowing tons of that money – some of it without any transparency – to run wild. That money goes to the political parties in droves – and then some of it is paid to the media companies in the form of advertising dollars but also content – especially for the cable outlets.

That money creates special deals for the special interests that pay for them.

Yes, both parties are guilty of it. And all media outlets that side with one party or the other – are as guilty.

Ironically, victimhood used to be the sole tactic of Democrats and liberals. But not anymore. The Republicans and conservatives use it brilliantly to get votes from seniors and war vets. Democrats still use it for minorities, immigrants, and now the middle class.

But here’s how victimhood has gone viral. Democrats have held onto their victimhood – and then taken from the Republicans – and mixed with victimhood – the volatile element of outrage.

Voila. You have Fox News and MSNBC.

But it gets better. Because the outraged victimhood has now infected the internet.

We all get to be outraged victims. I see it on my social media pages every time I post.

People write to say Obama can take his Obamacare and shove it up his black ass.

Other say they justify hating George Bush and his policies because he just sounds so dumb with that southern accent. It’s much easier to avoid criticism of Obama by saying George Bush caused the problem.

The truth is that governing and running a company today is not easy. In his book, The End of Power, Moises Naim talks about the economic factors and the many voices of dissent fueled by social media make governing impossible.

There are no right answers anymore. Every choice has consequences and some are not good. Arm Syria and then those guns are used against us. Send in US troops and we foment more hate as invaders. Withdraw from the region and then extremism could spread fast to conquer our allies and even infiltrate us. Stop sending our men and women to fight in countries who won’t defend themselves.

Folks, there is no black and white.

Finding an economic solution is not easy either. Austerity can work – but it is going to be painful for years. Keynesian economics works too – if it is used correctly. At some point you need to turn off the spigot of government money once the economy starts to rise. But neither party has ever done that. Keep the money flowing – because it keeps the party in power.

That, in turn, allows for more victimhood.

Some of them are downright silly.

Christianity is no victim. It is the dominant religion in this country. There is no sharia law being practiced anywhere here.

Muslims are not victims here either. In fact, most Muslims will say practicing here in the US beats all other countries – including some Muslim countries who might persecute them for being the wrong kind of Muslims.

Medicare recipients would have us believe they are the victims of our government. They keep telling us to keep our hands off what they paid into. The problem is they have only paid in 1-3rd of what will be paid out for their medical bills. We pay the rest – but we have no say.

Wall Street complains there are too many restrictions and regulations. Well, yes there is a good reason for that. It is called the financial crash of 2007. And don’t forget the times you hid bank accounts to help tax evaders and money launderers?

And there were victims of the recession who blame the banks. Hey, you were the one who signed for a half million dollar mortgage when you only made 30-thousand a year. What?! We’re responsible for your bad math too.

Conservative say that immigrants are stealing jobs and putting extra burden on our social services.

While illegal immigrants complain about unfair treatment from Americans.

The reality for both is this: the majority of millionaires in the US are first generation immigrants.

In fact, very few in America should show any signs of being a victim. Granted, there are people with afflictions who need to be cared for. I am not talking about them.

Most Americans should realize how lucky we are. We were born in the United States with many advantages and riches.

Does this mean we’re the greatest people in the world? No, we are the luckiest.

Fortunately, many of us haven’t squandered it.

Still, we have problems in this new world that really need strong thinking and complex solutions.

What we don’t need are simplistic responses that allow the fake victims to keep complaining – and keeping things as they are.

Now go spread this around to everyone you know. If you don’t then I will consider this a war on me.

Catch you next time.

 


 

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