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America has become a nation of victims

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- The motto of the United States is no longer "e pluribus unum." Sadly, it's become: "Hey! I was wronged. Get my lawyer on the phone!"

Or, recently, south of the Mason-Dixon line: "Let's grab clubs and tiki torches and go make trouble."

America has become a nation of victims. The same people who, a decade ago, might have scoffed at the idea that others were being victimized by societal norms, generational poverty and institutional racism have now themselves joined the pity party and donned the cloak of victimhood. Nursing a grudge is not just for minorities anymore.

Conservative white males have gotten in on the act, as they rail against globalization, corporate greed, immigration, political correctness, the anti-Confederate statue lobby, affirmative action, and the man in the moon.

Those who for years shrugged off the notion that there was lingering racial and ethnic discrimination against Latinos and African-Americans now insist that there is rampant "reverse discrimination" against white people.

As they often do, politicians make the situation worse by giving people easy outs. And these days, as always, many people are glad to have excuses for their failures, setbacks and shortcomings. The bad guys are the banks, the rich, the corporations, the immigrants, the global market.

Victim anthems have been penned by Bruce Springsteen who, in concert, has introduced his haunting ballad "Youngstown" -- about the battered town in Northeast Ohio -- as a story about "losing everything even when you work hard and play by the rules."

A couple of generations ago, Americans survived tough times by hustling, believing in themselves and working harder. Today, this is the pep talk for the downtrodden: "Lost your job? The culprit is a racial quota or greedy boss or foreign worker. You're a victim."

That's a major takeaway from recent horrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hundreds of young white men who, intoxicated by a cocktail of entitlement and white privilege, expected to be running the country by now, instead feel as if the country is running over them. They worry that a society that pushes diversity, espouses liberalism, and worships at the altar of political correctness doesn't have any room for them. And the last thing they want to do is look in the mirror and take responsibility for their own lives.

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