Some People Are NOT Victims
And Will Never Be One
If you’re like that, apparently there are people in this world who will hate you because of it.
I am fascinated by how some women hate Palin so intensely. I think of Madonna shouting curses at her at concerts, or the really nasty comments on some female websites. It is not only because they disagree with her ideas or policies. It isn’t even because they think she is not capable or experienced enough to be president. My friend Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal thinks it is partly because she appears to be a genuinely happy woman. She is enthusiastic about the opportunities that being an American woman has given her. She does not complain about her lot in life. For a long time now, many politicians, as well as female-focused media outlets, have been telling women they are victims. But Palin never acts like a victim nor talks about all women as victims, even though she so obviously has faced challenges in her family life.
I have a suspicion that most Americans appreciate and are inspired by a positive outlook, the anti-victim mindset that we might think of as the kind of individualism that is hated so much in Europe. It’s a mindset that the main stream press seems unable to see. I saw that in 1980, when then Gov. G.W. Bush was asked who his favorite philosopher was. The press (and many others on the east coast, I can tell you) laughed. They didn’t see about 49 million others, by actual count, who thought to themselves “Um… I understand that.”
Palin is, in a way, almost a throwback to that resilient American woman of our past, who could look at her life without self-pity and with good cheer and just get on with it. Women who like her recognize this and see great value and wisdom in such an attitude. Women who don’t are not simply offended by her; they are genuinely threatened.
It’s the same sort of blindness, I think.
Bruce Bawer, who spent enough time in Europe to come to understand some things about his countrymen that the press seems to miss.
I found myself toting up words that begin with i: individuality, imagination, initiative, inventiveness, independence of mind. Americans, it seemed to me, were more likely to think for themselves and trust their own judgments, and less easily cowed by authorities or bossed around by “experts”; they believed in their own ability to make things better. No wonder so many smart, ambitious young Europeans look for inspiration to the United States, which has a dynamism their own countries lack, and which communicates the idea that life can be an adventure and that there’s important, exciting work to be done. Reagan-style “morning in America” cliches may make some of us wince, but they reflect something genuine and valuable in the American air.
These people may or may not be a majority of voters come November. But their numbers are not small.
Added: Some people are not victims. And then again, some people are.