I keep wishing it will just go away – this preposterous story about UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland allegedly calling the US’ pledge of $15 million in aid to tsunami victims “stingy.” And not just because it’s a stupid, energy-sucking timewaster like any other so-called news story that debates the veracity of a quote as if the quote isn’t on record for all to see. (See Bill Sammon’s original article that started it all and Media Matters’ subsequent analysis of the false report and its infiltration of the mainstream media. The original quote in its entirety can be found here, too.) No, it’s not just the insult to our collective intellect that makes me hate this story. It’s also the sheer embarrassment I feel as an American that we’re whining about being picked-on…again. The biggest bully on the block is crying foul at a UN Humanitarian Aid Chief’s comments that suggest the richest countries in the world tend to be the least generous – without singling out America from any other first-world nations, or even mentioning America by name. Hmm. Perhaps thou dost protest too much, no?

The victim mentality that has become pervasive in American society has undermined all notions that we are the country with a can-do spirit, with a belief that the weakest among us can rise to greatness. It started within our own borders; our ambition and determination, that good ol’ American work ethic, somehow started to mutate, until it had become a disfigured, funhouse mirror image of its former self – now an arrogant sense of entitlement.

Should one get less out of life than one expected, well, that’s simply unacceptable. I am entitled to more than this. Anything less cannot be attributed to the sometime unfairness of life or, heaven forbid, personal responsibility. No, clearly the unfortunate American who has a lower-paying job, a smaller house, fewer cars, or an old stereo has been somehow victimized. Except, of course, any true victims of our society – those who live in poverty and squalor, children who risk their lives walking to their massively underfunded schools, the ill without means to afford healthcare, the indigent elderly who choose between food and medication – all of those among us who have fallen through the safety net that social programs have sought, and oft failed, to provide.

And just as we turn our backs on the victimized in our own country, so, too, do we show contempt for tsunami-ravaged victims by spending a moment examining our indignation over the misconstrued comment of a humanitarian aid worker. It is truly shameful behavior; the grand vision Americans once shared has been reduced to tunnel vision, seeking only to identify and expose the supposed injustices levied against us. We have become so blind as to ignore the very real hardships of the world in order to better magnify the adversities of our own creation.

This seems to be a particular, peculiar attribute of the American Right, not necessarily unique to them, but by them indisputably perfected. The Right is always being victimized, so they claim – why, the Left even tried to steal Christmas from them! Every argument is framed so as to perpetuate their perceived victimhood; their battle against gay marriage is not about their own rancid bigotry (of course), but instead about the threat to the sanctity of their own marriages; banning compulsory prayer in a public school is simply about restricting their religion, with never even the most cursory examination of how their religion might have been imposed on someone else. They are perpetually, irrepressibly injured, never without a new grievance or outrage.

For anyone with devoutly religious and/or politically conservative family members, this phenomenon is nothing new. And although it has always been irritating to me, I also found it quite pitiable – what an unfortunate way to spend one’s life, looking for slights and discriminations that weren’t really there, convincing oneself of it until life was little else than miserable expressions of cynical ire.

It’s not just the odd grumpy uncle or the self-martyring mother anymore, though. It is everywhere, and it is fast becoming the new American dream – to find oneself as the perfect, unsavable victim in perpetuity…with all the things money can buy. The American Right isn’t happy without their bogeymen to taunt and aggrieve them, but having hold of the presidency, both houses of Congress, and a large swath of the judiciary is making it difficult to continue to claim victimhood. Some make the mistake of asking what more they could possibly want, but it misses the point. They want everything – all the power and the continued right to claim they have none.

So now they take international offense. Criticisms of America are construed as dire insults, and we, this nation of victims with the most powerful military in the world, react in a manner that befits a spoiled child. I was annoyed but resigned when this behavior was contained, but as it becomes the predominant indicator of our global relations, I can stand it no longer.

The Left must expose this repellent, infantile conduct for what it is, loudly and repeatedly, and call it out as the irrational and patently unacceptable stance that it is. If we don’t, we really will all be victims…of our own gluttonous self-indulgence and, yes, stinginess. We are not meant to have everything, and those who have power are not entitled to act as if they have none.

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