Every lax and easy attribution of victimhood status cheapens the genuineness of those who are truly society’s deserving and suffering members, such as terror victims, Holocaust survivors, quadriplegics, refugees seeking asylum, disabled veterans, abused and raped women, the deaf/dumb/blind, sexually assaulted children, crack babies, and those afflicted with Down syndrome and other serious congenital or acute diseases and physical malformations. There’s no shortage of truly afflicted people who desperately need and are deserving of our attention. Inviting pretenders into their numbers is not doing them any favors and it diminishes the available resources, awareness, funding/donations, and compassion. Many assumed and presumed victims are simply victims of their own bad choices or are plainly defrauding society, such as the lifetime and multi-generational welfare abusers. Other pretenders claim victimhood by playing the race card, gender card, religion card, sexual orientation preference card, and so forth, on into an eternity of minority/diversity statuses, quotas, and causes, each with their own claims of incumbent special privileges and supposedly violated or denied civil and legal rights. Identity-politics, with its superfluous creation of hyphenated minorities and special-interest groups, has done nothing for our sorely needed national integration and harmony, and it has, in reality, brought about overall cultural annihilation through the promotion and pursuit of multiculturalism and diversity objectives.

The massive increase in the welfare lifestyle/victimhood mindset may be partially gauged by a third of the adult population who consistently binge in government-provided economic benefits while paying little to nothing into the source funds via income and real estate taxes, or offering alternative contributions through volunteer work. This increase in government-sponsored indulgence continues to occur even though the standard of living has dramatically improved at all levels of society. There’s no way to fully address the nature of character in America while bypassing a discussion of government entitlement programs and their recipients. Former Senator Jim DeMint, subsequently a Heritage Foundation president, observed that in our nation’s past there were only two ways to proceed in life: the legitimate way (work hard, play by the rules, and live within your means), which led to earned success; and the illegitimate (criminal) way, which – hopefully – led to prison. Now he adds that there’s a third way: living off the largesse of big government. It is not right, but it is legal, and it has become acceptable beyond reasonability and morality. Most welfare programs no longer place much responsibility on their recipients and thus exacerbate the receivers’ moral and civic laxities.

Lifestyle choices are, unfortunately, not factored into the welfare qualification and management equations. Treating all applicants as though they are blameless victims caught in circumstances beyond their control is deliberately turning a blind eye or inattentively failing to apply minimum qualifications and monitoring. It is common practice for agencies to aggressively solicit new recipients in order to deplete, increase, and renew their annual budgets and to insure personal job security – at times even fraudulently adding friends and family to the rolls (sometimes for kickback).

The authentic American Dream is not one of intentionally growing into, and remaining, a government dependent. Governor Scott Walker points out that our opportunities for improvement and advancement may be equal, but the outcome is still up to us. Character and success are built on the dignity of work. I saw a poster that made a lasting impression upon me: “Will work for work.” That phrase connotes plenty of wisdom, not the least of which is an advocacy for performing volunteer work as a prelude to obtaining an associated paying job.