By David Hegg
During World War II, Winston Churchill became the living symbol of toughness. As Nazi aircraft rained down destruction on London, he boldly declared, “V is for Victory,” and his two-finger gesture became the most iconic symbol of the solidarity, perseverance, and the “never give up” attitude that united not only England, but also the entire Allied world. And in the end V was for Victory, over tyranny, over atrocity, and over those who would force the world to cower and concede.
Sadly, and really tragically, today V is more likely to stand for “Victim.” While not yet poster-ready, the slogan “V is for Victim” would perfectly symbolize the weakness of the American spirit that has become its own debilitating epidemic all across our nation.
Face it, the quickest route to notoriety, power and public support today is to figure out how to be a victim, especially if what is victimized is your self-esteem. If someone has the audacity to oppose your viewpoint with fact-based, incontrovertible arguments, or better yet, uses a triggering word or phrase that hurts your feelings, then you’re on your way! Even better, if you can be victimized in more than one area, you’ll soon be the toast of the town, and probably be given a seat on some government advisory board.
I can remember, back in the day, hearing my high school coaches shout, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Ha! Not now. Now, it is all too common that when the going gets tough, Americans shrivel, whine, cry and demand someone hurt that meanie real bad.
Look around. Read, listen to, and watch, the news. While it once was popular to be strong, resilient, determined and self-confident, now the headlines are filled with crybabies whose most powerful weapon is their insistence that “I don’t feel safe.” What? Are we a nation of third graders who think life is a playground?
Face it, if we’re honest, we’re becoming an incredibly vulnerable people, and we have turned vulnerability into a virtue. Are we really so soft, so feeble, so hypersensitive that we crumble if someone disagrees with us, or worse, uses a pronoun wrongly, or dares to suggest that in so many areas today the woke Emperor has no clothes? Boy, I sure hope China doesn’t find out and start calling us names.
OK, OK, I’ll stop trying to be clever and get to the point. If you think your satisfaction and success in life depends on other people acting the way you want them to, you’re a fool. The only person you can control is yourself. Some people will disappoint you, hurt you, ignore you, lie to you, and attempt to tell you what to think, what to say and how to live. Don’t let them. Stand up to bullies. Call out their lies. Point out their absurdities while offering to help them throw off the chains of their victimizing ideology. Don’t be mean. But don’t be soft.
Above all, pour your energy into being a person of worth. Let your character speak for you. Let your virtue, wisdom and self-control be a pathway into the hearts and minds of those around you.
We don’t need any more pseudo victims. Even now we’re watching the once-resolute national character of our country eroding as the focus of life has shifted from “being” who we ought to be as men and women, to “bullying” others to serve our needy selves.
And the glaring truth is that pseudo victims, perhaps unknowingly, surrender up who they are in exchange for the person others have made them to be. In so doing, they advertise their weakness, their inability to cope, and most of all, the fact that the greatest force in shaping their lives is what others do to them.
The truth is, pseudo victims by definition do not have power. To claim victimhood is to acknowledge that you are simply a marionette whose strings are held by someone else. And, it needs to be said, these pseudo victims do a grave disservice to those who truly are victims of crime, and other inhumane forces that are taking over too many of our cities.
What we need are hearty men and women with good hearts, truth-based ethical systems, logical minds, controlled tongues, and a passion to help their neighbors live peaceful, useful and meaningful lives. What we need are men and women of grit, who chart a righteous path and don’t look back, don’t give up, and will not be deterred from calling evil, evil.
As the citizens of London watched the German bombers blacken the skies above, it became obvious that what may have divided them politically was put aside in order to unite them in the common cause of survival. Grave circumstances will do that. As I look around, I see the grave circumstances needle tipping the wrong way. It’s time to show up, stand up, speak up and reach out to those who think playing the victim card is a powerful strategy. Let’s show them it is so much better if, when the going gets tough, the tough unite, speak the truth, love one another, and once again make V stand for Victory.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.