The reality is that the power elite is made up of very rich people and people who identify as Republican. The Republican party controls two thirds of the governorships, the House, the Senate, the White House and numerous state legislatures. Nobody is persecuting the power elite. It is impossible to persecute those with power over everybody else. We may criticize the way they run things, but that is not persecution. Being criticized for the things you are doing is not persecution when you are the one in control.
Why do people of astounding privilege come off with this persecution business? The term retarded, which was once a medical/psychological term has come to be used as a slur. I’ve told people, “Don’t use retard as a slur because it puts down a whole class of people. Don’t use it as a diagnosis because it is used as a slur.” I meet this wall of hostility because I am persecuting people by denying their right to free speech. I’m a snowflake when I unfriend them for not being a decent human being.
Reality is that for communities to work we have to maintain a certain level of manners and respect for our fellow human beings. Treating others as equals helps. Minding our own business helps. There is a real difference between being told to mind your own business about who marries whom and being persecuted. Paying taxes is not persecution. Paying service people a living wage is not persecution.
When someone has different beliefs than you do it is not persecution, but I think this is where the idea of being persecuted is born. We all love to be told that we are right and valuable. We love to be validated. We get a warm fuzzy feeling. The neurotransmitters flow, and we are happy.
When someone believes differently, they don’t make our neurotransmitters flow. With a little bit of outside prodding, one can very easily look at the contrast between being validated and not being validated and turn the lack of neurotransmitter stimulation into a feeling that gets labeled persecution. It has nothing to do with persecution. The reality is that not everybody is going to run around validating us over everything we do. Other people have their own lives to live.
The point where I have trouble with the whining is when I do a reality check. Remember, I live with an older white male. I’ve been married to him for over fifty years and yes, he tells me he feels persecuted.
Hubby’s persecution doesn’t hold up well to reality checks. Mostly, he bumps along pretty good until he talks to someone who is feeling persecuted because students at Berkley are demonstrating. He’ll come home and tell me students are taking away his rights because they demonstrated against someone.
I sigh and say, “Oh Honey, that reminds me of when we were young. Remember all the demonstrations? I wonder if we will get any decent music out of the social upheaval? We had such exciting music when we were young.”
Hubby may try to tell me that demonstrations now are different form when we were young. This is when I give him The Look and explain, “No. I had to pass through demonstrators when I attended a lecture by a woman who identified as a Commie. During her speech, she made some good points, but sometimes she made some logical blunders and the students greeted these with hoots and laughter. We protested when we found something wrong, untrue, racist or misogynist. Students today protest bigotry, war, social injustice and liars. Not much has changed, so why feel persecuted when the young have different values or point out the truth?”
Older-White-Male-Hubby grumbles and growls when I blow apart his little persecutions, but when he recovers from having his bubble burst, he feels much happier. Hubby isn’t persecuted. Life has been pretty good to him, or rather as good as it gets. He is not, and never has been, persecuted.
The problem with feeling persecuted is that the illusion of being persecuted colors all our interactions with our environment. It makes us sad. It is bad for our health. It clouds our relationships and divides friends. While focusing on being persecuted is stimulating, it becomes an addiction destroying lives and relationships. It is one of the factors destroying our country.
Cut it out!
Okay, I’ll mention some tips for combating the feeling. As I’ve talked about above, reality checks will help. Are you homeless? Yes? You can feel any way you want. No? You have a lovely home. Maybe you aren’t persecuted. Changing your focus from the things that irritate you to doing things you enjoy helps. Watch for classic cars while driving or plan a dinner out. Read books. Go see a movie, garden or play with trains. Get involved in living your own life. Give thanks for the people in your life and for the things you own. Acknowledge your privilege.