Persecution complex is, in late 20th and 21st Century America, a perception of hostility and ill-treatment at the hands of “the other” because of race, political, or religious beliefs, and is very closely related, if not engendered by, what psychologists refer to as Victim mentality. Victim mentality is rampant among evangelicals, white supremacists, and angry conservatives who acquired (learned) what they regard as a highly-valued personality trait. Americans were not always, and did not consider themselves, weak and terrified victims of imagined negative actions of “the other,” but to hear them wail and moan, that is certainly the case. This is regardless there is no clear evidence they have suffered anything and in fact, have been empowered to persecute and victimize other Americans through their religious and economic legislative arm; the Republican Party.
Over the past two years, there has been a preponderance of reports, surveys, and research documenting America’s decline in every imaginable measurable category. It does not matter if it is the middle class’s demise, lower wages, lost pensions, the nation’s pathetic and crumbling infrastructure, homelessness, child poverty, gun deaths, or income inequality, all signs point to a very specific time frame when America began its race to mediocrity within the third world, and failure to keep pace with developed nations. Regardless which category America is lagging the rest of the world, everything points to the election of Republicans’ man-god Ronald Reagan as the beginning of America’s fall and the victim mentality plaguing the population claiming they are being persecuted.
Conservatives in the 21st Century, from Republicans to teabaggers to Koch-libertarians have embraced, perpetuated, and transformed Reagan’s extremist language into party policy to great success with their claims that America is destined for a “thousand years of darkness” unless conservatives destroy government tyranny. Government tyranny, by the way, manifest in what Reagan and Republicans claim are fascism, religious persecution, and liberal social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, taxes, and workplace and environmental regulations. All programs that, according to Reagan and Republicans, amount to stealing from “real Americans” to give to other non-Americans (read minorities) including every aspect of the extremely popular New Deal programs. In fact, nearly every Republican anti-government policy embraced by the victim-segment of the population was inspired by Reagan’s extremist pronouncements.
For example, it was Reagan who embraced the religious right and ushered in their influence over government and domestic policies as a Christian nation with a warning that “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” It was also Reagan who inspired the evangelical crusade to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Christian Bible with rhetoric proclaiming that “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face.” In fact, although prior to Reagan’s presidency the religious right’s stance on contraception and abortion was that it was a personal medical decision between a woman and her physician, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops convinced both Reagan and evangelicals that all good Christians “have the duty to protect the life of an unborn child” according to Ronald Reagan.
The push to decry education as liberal indoctrination, oppose science, and reject empirical data today was initiated by Reagan’s statement that “They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. I say there are simple answers to our problems and they are found within the covers of the bible.” It is likely why evangelicals overwhelmingly attribute America’s woes from climate change to poverty and an African American President to the bible’s last days and Armageddon. Science and economic expertise is too complicated when a simplistic ‘bible’ answer is close at hand.
However, every Republican policy today is an extension of Reagan’s perpetual preaching that Americans are persecuted and victims of government; whether federal, state, county, or local. Every Republican and Koch brother anti-government utterance over the past six years is directly attributable to Reagan who spent over a decade warning Americans that their government existed as a “hostile alien force seeking only to steal their money to give to “others” and “eradicate their freedoms.” It is the Paul Ryan “takers versus makers” ideology and Willard Romney’s “47% moochers” remark that teabaggers and the Republican base embraced as victims persecuted by the government that takes their poverty wages and gives them to moocher retirees, Veterans, hungry children, and disabled people.
This idea is part and parcel of red state conservatives who blame unemployment, poverty wages, and lack of healthcare on other Americans laziness, regardless if they work. Reagan claimed unemployment insurance was nothing more than a “pre-paid vacation for freeloaders,” and it has been parroted ad nauseum by Republicans over the past three years. It is stunning, really, but a fair number of Americans working for companies like Walmart and McDonalds actually believe they earn poverty wages because other Americans working at Walmart and McDonalds receive food stamps, Medicaid, or earned income tax credits provided to “freeloaders” by the hostile government stealing their money. After over thirty years of hearing Republicans parrot Reagan’s assertion that “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” and that “Government does not solve problems; it creates them,” it is little wonder Republicans are able to campaign, and win, on the promise of eliminating the source of their base’s misery; the government.
Many Americans are perplexed as to why low intellect Americans, predominately in the bible-belt and red states, consistently vote against their own best interests; often with full knowledge they will increase their own suffering. It is due in great part to their persecution complex and victim mentality as well as their inherent stupidity. However, for over thirty years Republicans have pounded into their pea-brains that until Reagan conservatives destroy the government, hand the nation to corporatists, and replace the Constitution with the Christian bible, they will be victims of “a hostile alien force” intent on persecuting them with fascist programs such as food stamps, Social Security, minimum wage, Medicare, Medicaid, roads, and schools.
There has never been a greater anti-government movement as the Republican, teabagger, and Koch brother crusade Americans are witnessing today, but like America’s decline into mediocrity, it all began in earnest with Republican man-turned-god Ronald Reagan. An evil man-god and B-movie actor who dutifully read a John Birch Society anti-government script and basically transformed an entire generation of Americans into victims of the Republican Party; not the government.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.