I believe the word “victim” is being used to create anxiety and defensiveness en mass. Journalists and media outlets repeat “victim,” and people are taking sides, asking, “Am I that victim?”
My advice is to trace the paths that word has taken recently. Remember the gun clingers? People got defensive about that too.
I say, let’s challenge our own defensiveness. We are often defensive about a true thing. All of us can see ourselves as independents, and observe the many perspectives that compete for attention. Give attention to the best in us. We don’t want to see anyone as a victim; thus we should ignore the forces that steer us in that direction. What happened to uplift for all? Isn’t it easy to shout at a brick wall? Let’s not shout at or be those brick walls.
The rhetorical skills in play during elections are woven throughout life. Language is beautiful, oppressive, liberating, uplifting, heart-wrenching, endearing, and on and on. Yes, we need to evaluate a word’s meaning(s). We also need energy for the next word, and the one after that. Be the change you wish to see.
Northeast Iowa Community College
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