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News Link • Depression

America As Self-Declared Victim

• Brenner

America today lives with a cultivated sense of victimhood. That is the legacy of 9/11. It fills us with anxieties. It warps our self-image. It distorts our foreign relations. It is self-perpetuating. Yet we need it. Too many benefit -- politically or materially or psychologically. Too many are emotionally dependent on it. Too few have the courage to confront the culture that has grown around the idea of America the victim. The price we pay -- in all currencies -- mounts.

The trauma exposed America's vulnerability to attack. That is obvious. More profound was its exposure of how fragile is the nation's psyche when America's exceptional security and freedom from the events that bedevil ordinary countries is called into question. We couldn't handle it. So we have absorbed it and made it part of our collective consciousness. The consequences are pernicious.

Above all, Americans have found a renewed purpose in our dealings with the world that is unhealthy. Summed up in the catch phrase "global war on terror," it is a convenient ordering principle. Convenient intellectually since we are spared the bother of figuring out who exactly out there wants to do us harm -- and why. It conjures a suitably stereotypical image of the "threat" -- an Islamic jihadist, bearded & turbaned -- who hates us for being who we are. His methods are diabolical, lending an aura of alien malice to our free floating dread. That gives emotions the upper hand over thinking.


1 Comments in Response to

Comment by James Eldridge
Entered on:

Whoa. What a great piece and more of a surprise to find it was printed in the HuffPost. It was good to read the comments and that many people are finally getting the picture that many others have already seen, and of those people, many are called all kinds of names and told to leave the country if you don't love it. My only problem with these kinds of insights awakening many more to the corruptness of our own government and those in public office is that at the end of every good article there is nothing told to us what we can do and should do to turn the tragedy around for the better, not just for this nation, but for the entire world that is in terrible danger of this self-declared victimhood getting further out of control. So we are told to get out and vote. Yeah, that is a good idea. Or at least at one time it was. Look at what we have facing us again. One of two devils to choose from and that is not a choice any of should be made to decide. No matter what any of us attempt to do that is the voting arena, we are going to end up with another devil in public office doing the bidding of their master Satan. Everything done looks good on the outside, but on the inside you can find death, destruction and a lot of dead bones.

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