Can Trump Save America's Victims?

Donald Trump has come to save America. Among the devices he used was his capacity to reinforce the sense of victimization of large groups of voters.

He is not alone in this. The business of both major parties is to save victims. This seems like a laudable goal. The problem is, the parties need an ever-increasing supply of victims to save.

The consequence is that they've adopted a business model based first on creating large categories of victims, then on pretending to save them. This keeps people dependent on the parties for solutions that never come.

Trump did not invent this. He simply took advantage of tools the major parties had crafted for him.

The Democratic Party defines women, blacks, Hispanics, students, and immigrants as victims. The Republican Party defines men, blue collar workers, gun owners, small business operators, corporate executives, and Americans as victims.

President Trump adopted the victims of the Republicans, and added enough Democratic victims to generate an electoral college majority.

It's not that each of these groups is not victimized, some more than others. It's that through identity politics, they are defined as intrinsically victims, in need of saving.

This way, each party can crusade to save their victims. They never succeed, but so long as they try, the victims have nowhere else to go. The other party is busy saving their adversaries.

The result of trying to make everyone, on all sides, feel like dependent victims is to disempower them. People who feel disempowered become like children making demands on their parents, because they have no power to choose on their own. On the other hand, people who feel empowered - who know the power they have inside them - become adults who can engage with other adults, and make choices that serve one another.

Today, victimization is so standardized that there's a perverse competition afoot to claim status as the most victimized of all the victim groups.

The impulse to save others is a healthy one, when others are in dire need of saving. But a savior complex is simply a gentle form of bigotry that disempowers whole groups based on the barriers they otherwise have the power to overcome.

The chief ugliness of a worldview based on saving victims - though there are plenty of aspects that are ugly - is that the result is to create even more victims.

Whether you hope for the best or fear for the worst under President Trump, this is a moment for us to decide between two roles:

Are we all dependent children, victims who need to be saved, either by our new president or from him? This is the way to make Donald Trump great.

Or, are we all proud adults, accomplished and in charge of our own lives, who will take control of this presidency for the good of the nation? This is the way to make America great.