One of the things I have the hardest time understanding about politics these days is the culture of victimhood. Despite the fact that they have almost never had it better, one group of people is convinced that they are being systematically oppressed by the establishment. And rather than doing anything constructive about it, they are doing their best to perpetuate that alleged inequality to score political points.
I realize that it isn’t everyone in the party, of course – they have many reasonable parts. But big chunks of the party are stuck in this mindset, and it’s scary. This is completely incomprehensible. What is wrong with the Republican Party?
Yes, the Republican Party. The Republican National Convention had the attitude of righteously angry challengers fighting against the Washington insiders that control the status quo. They seemed to forget that they were the status quo.
In a bizarre moment of irony two months ago, Rush Limbaugh asked, “Why can’t we trust the elite media in this country?” If the most listened-to talk show in the country doesn’t warrant membership in “the elite media,” I don’t know what does.
And on dozens of college campuses across the country, College Republicans have held a “Conservative Coming Out Day.” Apparently they feel that being disagreed with is tantamount to being beaten to death.
I got to thinking about this over the past week when I saw the College Republicans’ banner hanging in Wilson Commons. Now, let’s think about this. What message did they send? Did they make a bipartisan “Get Out the Vote” effort? Did they point out one of Bush’s virtues, hoping to convince students from swing states? Did they even make one final argument about why Kerry might be unfit? No, their banner said, “Vote Kerry! It’s easier than thinking.”
With everything they could have done, they sent out a blanket insult to the majority of the campus. They didn’t bother trying to change minds. They just tried to piss people off so that the campus would get angry at them. That way, the next time they complain about being discriminated against by the oppressive environment of liberalism on campus, it will be some tiny bit more credible.
As I said, this is by no means everyone on the right. But it’s an influential fraction, and to me it’s genuinely scary. This mindset of victimhood isn’t about being correct, and it isn’t even about winning. It’s about trying to make the world fit into the delusional narrative they’ve already convinced themselves is the case. Conservatives need to stop letting people who think like that speak for them.
Levesque can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.