Diminishing Entitlement Syndrome
White culture has been programmed into believing that they are entitled to an American Dream. Privileged Americans mistakenly believe that lower classes exist merely to serve them. This has been going on for generations, but in today’s America the elite are feeling effects of a struggling economy as well. Because of this, a vast swath of Trumpers are voting from their pocketbooks. The point is that we are all suffering because the American dream is fizzling out; not only for the disadvantaged, but for everyone. Members of the dwindling middle classes suspect that time is marching on without them.
Diminishing Entitlement Syndrome (DES) occurs when struggling white Americans become financially displaced. A wide swath of Americans suffer from DES including the rural poor. Symptoms include feeling caged and restrained, like a trapped animal with no place to go. The previously entitled realize they are running out of options as opportunities are fleeting. Their college degree does not open the same doors as it once did. Their disposable income is dwindling, and for the first time they find themselves adhering to a strict budget. These trying times are especially difficult for those who suffer from DES. When gone unchecked, DES can lead to socially destructive behavior. People who struggle with DES go out of their way to burn bridges while placing the blame squarely onto the backs of others. This population realizes that their privilege is slipping away, and they will fight to get it back! People with Diminishing Entitlement Syndrome mistakenly assume that everyone else is better off, and this breeds discontent.
Those stricken with DES feel entitled to financial security. As the security dissolves, they become disgruntled voters. I argue that victims of DES voted Trump in a twisted attempt to regain their misplaced power. What Trump Republicans need to understand is that American minorities (and the rural poor) have been disenfranchised for centuries. The American economy is in peril and the middle class is vanishing! This loss of equity aggravates symptoms of DES (acting out, throwing tantrums, demanding attention). Losing one’s economic viability is a highly traumatic experience for the uninitiated because they feel their perceived security slipping away. DES is especially cruel to those with under-developed coping skills.
Because of DES, previously entitled citizens feel marginalized and short changed. Trump Republicans know this, and they exploit it for their own selfish gains. Trump tapped into a widespread fear that permeates throughout the landscape and it helped him win the Presidency. This should come as no surprise considering how social norms are shifting. A vote cast for Trump was like a pressure release valve. Trumpers want to make America great again, but only for themselves. They want to make America great again, but what is their definition of great? Once was a time when every American could find a low skilled and high paying job. Trumpers secretly desire to travel in time, back to 1955, when American industrial might still reigned supreme. Was America really that great back then? It was not so great for women. Moreover, it was not that great for people of color. Twentieth century America was only great if you were an entitled white man. Everyone else was treated like the help.
In today’s America, citizens on both sides of the aisle are coming to grips with their own economic crisis. This is good news because it indicates that we have a common enemy which is financial devastation. Instead of fighting one another we shall set our sights on poverty. Once we can collectively identify the problem, we can get on to the business of repairing it. The solution lies in awareness. Diminishing Entitlement Syndrome is detrimental to future growth, and we must strive to alleviate symptoms in all who are afflicted. We can do this by offering kindness and understanding, while holding firm boundaries. We must explain that (economically speaking) we are all in the same boat. Together we can learn to paddle our way back into the harbor, but first we must isolate and vanquish our own DES. As a cohesive group we must eradicate ourselves from the entitlement that fuels so much disdain towards others. We must come to a collective realization that we are Americans! One culture is not superior to the other, and we are not entitled to impose our beliefs onto others. We are all in this together.
“…with liberty and justice for all.”
I’m a 54 year old white male, a father, a writer, and a recovering narcissist.