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Neal Wooten Headshot

V Is for Victim

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"Everybody hates me and they're out to get me."

Do you remember that kid from kindergarten? He was the least fun kid in class. When things didn't go his way, he pouted and cried and pleaded for sympathy. Well, that kid is still around but he's grown now and has gone into politics.

There was a time in this country when I would have been surprised to see a public figure resorting to these measures, but now it has become the norm for many politicians and political pundits. And if you thought these tactics were annoying in kindergarten, they're even more off-putting coming from an adult.

Like last week when Megyn Kelly of Fox News uttered her now infamous lines about Santa Claus and Jesus.

For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white... I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure, that's a verifiable fact, as is Santa -- I just want the kids watching to know that.

Understandably, this created a tremendous backlash that resulted in Kelly having to address those remarks. There were a number of intelligent ways she could have done that. First of all, she could have simply apologized. Unfortunately, that takes a level of responsibility not often found in these circles.

She could have pointed out that Santa Claus was derived from the European characters of St. Nicolas and Father Christmas, and the earlier illustrations of those guys were of Caucasian men. There were many other mature ways she could have gone, but she opted for none of them. Instead, she played the victim.

The fact that an off-hand jest I made during a segment about whether Santa should be replaced by a penguin has now become a national firestorm says two things: Race is still an incredibly volatile issue in this country, and Fox News, and yours truly, are big targets for many people.

There you have it. She was making a harmless little joke and everyone is out to get her. Of course she's not the only one. Sarah Palin has made "playing the victim" into an art form and no one does it better.

When Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin which newspapers and magazines she read, Palin couldn't come up with one answer. When people started talking about it, the mature thing would have been to laugh it off and be honest and say your mind went blank.

After all, that happens to all of us. I'm sure Mrs. Palin, like most of us, reads so many things that a question like that could easily appear so vague that our brain overloads and can't produce one single answer. It's like someone asking about your favorite food. There are so many possibilities you might not be able to quickly narrow it down.

But again, instead of being humble and mature, Palin went on the attack referring to the inquiry as "gotcha journalism" from the "liberal media." In other words, her inability to answer the question was everyone's fault but her own.

Even the term "liberal media" was created as a failsafe for a host of people who play the victim card. Now whenever a news outlet goes public with a politician's latest gaffe, financial scandal, sexual affair, etc., that one phrase lets their constituents know that the reporters are not running the story for the news value, but are doing it because the politician is a big target for these shameless attacks. And the really sad part is their supporters eat it up.

But think of the character traits required to play the victim. It requires a total lack of responsibility. It requires dishonesty to distract from the actual events. It requires immaturity to point the finger at everyone else. It takes a very weak person to feed on sympathy. It literally takes the worst personality traits known to the human race to play the victim.

We all disliked the kid in kindergarten for doing it, so why do we celebrate the same misguided childish traits in our leaders? And you wonder why we're never happy with our government.