The victim

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Artwork by Elhanan ben-Avraham

When I grew up in the USA, underlying our collective consciousness there was a sense of patriotism – for country, God and family, even a certain reverence for things holy. Such speakers as Billy Graham were rather respected and only seldom mocked, even if one disagreed with his message. There was something bigger than ourselves. We were taught that we are responsible for our behavior and its consequences, for good or for evil. When we did wrong, we at least knew it was wrong. But things have changed radically in one generation.

Permeating the current generation is quite the opposite, a sense of Entitlement, that we are owed something. Concurrent with that is the Victim Mentality that, rather than held accountable for our lives, we are all victims, and all of our problems are caused by something or someone else. Blacks are victims of the Whites, the poor the victims of the wealthy, the failures in society victims of the government, and everyone the victims of our past history. This self-absorbed worldview has now led to antipathy of Americans to Americans, anger and resentment and hatred boiling to a hot rage where pointless mass murders are now the new and daily normal, something seldom heard of in the nation when I was raised. Children are now blaming their parents for their own personal problems and failures, even turning to betrayal and family dissolutions. This worldview is promoted by the many ‘counsellors’ and psychiatrists visited by the malcontent and disillusioned youth. There is now nothing greater than one’s Self and its appetites- not nation, not law, not family, not God.  There is no obligatory national or military service. There is nothing sacrosanct, nothing that is absolute and unevolving Truth, no absolute good or evil, no right or wrong, no loyalty, purpose, or meaning to life. This is the decline of a nation, and of civilization.

This is by no means limited to Western civilization. In the Middle East all the woes and wars of the Islamic world, especially the Palestinians, are blamed on the Jewish state, Israel, though it is but a very tiny slice of the vast Arabic world.  And when it suits the temper of the day, the Jews worldwide are once again blamed in new outbreaks of anti-Semitism. We have seen in the not-so-distant past where that can lead.

Is there a ‘Silver Bullet’ to fix this sad decline and decay in the human condition?  I do not think so. But perhaps in the ‘Great American Experiment’ one might meditate on the American mottos of “In God We Trust” and “One Nation Under God” in seeking a balm of healing and a restraining and restoring factor. But here in Israel we do have that restraining factor in that each week the Sabbath, and every holy day from the Passover to Shavuot to Yom Kippur to Succot reminds us of our heritage and our destiny and our Creator – our raison d’etre. And our Bible is taught in public schools. Also, our very real and dedicated enemies and detractors are primarily external, and we are thus committed to serving in our military for our very survival, and very rarely hear of violent crime among our compatriots. In our collective consciousness there is a bonding unity and vision- along with our many dividing opinions.

BUT GOD, LIKE INCOME TAX AND DEATH, EXISTS WHETHER ONE WISHES TO BELIEVE SO OR NOT, AND THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD ARE ONGOING. WE ARE SEEING THEM AROUND US DAILY, AND ARE WITNESSING A CURRENT DECLINE IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION.  BUT THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF YHVH IS YET GATHERING LIKE AN ONCOMING STORM UPON THE WORLD, AND YET A RETURN TO HIS GREAT MERCY IS STILL AVAILABLE TO ALL OF US.