As we celebrate our independence this weekend, we probably also should mourn it. No, we aren’t reverting back to British subjects, but we are becoming subjects again. There is a new hierarchy dominating much of our discourse and social interaction that creates a coveted status for victims. When once we declared our independence because of oppression, now being “oppressed” is a sought-after status.
You’d think the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage that advocates so desperately wanted would have brought about some semblance of closure or calm, at least temporarily, to those who celebrated it. You’d be wrong.
Victimhood, which people used to fight against, is now a coveted position in society. When that status is lifted, even in a way progressive advocates want, the threat of losing that sought-after position is met with a desperate scramble of reclamation.
The Washington Post ran a piece this week by a gay rights advocate excoriating not only those who support traditional marriage, but allies who celebrated the Supreme Court ruling right alongside him.
Entitled, “Why you should stop waving the rainbow flag on Facebook,” martyrdom-seeker Peter Moskowitz is angry that people, straight people, who cheered the ruling on social media hadn’t “earned the right” to waive the gay rights flag the way he has.
“I’ve earned the right to claim pride through years of internal strife over my sexuality,” he writes. “Gay pride is not something you can claim by waving a flag. The rainbow symbol is easy to co-opt, but the experience it represents is not.”
What Moskowitz fears most is the loss of his status as a victim. Being a “victim” of anything is the new “accomplishment.” The sight of “others” who hadn’t gone through the “struggle” celebrating the decision threatened that status. So Moskowitz had to reassert it.
“Some of the rainbow-colored faces were people I would never talk to about being gay – a relative with conservative politics, high school buddies I didn’t come out to because I feared losing their friendships,” Moskowitz frets. “They weren’t necessarily homophobic, but they weren’t great allies either. They didn’t march during pride celebrations; they didn’t participate in the “day of silence”; they didn’t even bother to inquire about my life. If they were true allies to me or the LGBT community, where were they before Friday?”
That paragraph is Moskowitz reclaiming his victimhood, which is threatened by indifference and, more importantly, celebration of something he claims he’s “fought” for. Hesuffered. He struggled. Others were just tourists to the cause.
But revealed in his words is the fact that he wasn’t the victim at all; he was the perp. Conservative family members and friends he wasn’t honest with weren’t judging him, he was judging them. And he was wrong. That’s what Moskowitz can’t accept.
The media has elevated victimhood to such a level that seekers of it are so secure in their status that they openly become the oppressors while nailing themselves to the cross.
Star Trek actor George Takei is another example of this phenomenon.
Takei could not accept the widely understood concept explained by Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent that people are born with dignity and that government does not bestow it on them and thus cannot take it away either.
Takei, in his post-Star Trek career, has made a name for himself as a hero of the victimhood industry. But he exposed himself as a full-blown perp when he smeared Justice Thomas as a “clown in blackface” for his dissent.
Reacting with hatred, in Takei’s case dipped in racism, is the knee-jerk reaction of those who see their victim status threatened by reality.
We’ve gone from embracing rugged individualism to celebrating whining and externalizing satisfaction. And we excuse or dismiss any hatred committed in the name of that pursuit. When once we declared our independence, we now declare our codependence to the approval, acceptance and celebration of others. And there is no greater sin than not granting it.