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Today's Demon

Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010, at 10:02 AM

Demonization: To represent as diabolically evil; "the demonization of our enemies." wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

According to a recent article in The Brazil Times, a Colorado man went on "Rambo style solo mission to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden." When located and detained by Pakistan authorities he was suitably armed with sword and pistol, which presumably were to be used to penetrate bin Laden's thousands of fanatical protectors.

We wish him well, but his self-ordained quest was perhaps a bit ill advised.

This is what people do, though, believe that removing one high profile individual will somehow eliminate the evil they represent. In short, we "demonize" a person in the hopes that all evil is embodied in him. It doesn't quite work that way.

In the year I was born, the demons to kill were Hitler and Mussolini, and a lot of people tried to kill them. To do that required first penetrating those thousands who made such evil possible -- the Nazis and Fascist. Absolute world peace did not absolutely follow removing those two particular demons.

It wasn't that long ago that the guy to get was Saddam Hussein. If only we could capture him and, say, hang him, then all would be right with the world. Turns out it wasn't that easy.

Demonizing is, simply, how Americans approach things. Whatever the problems, whatever the catastrophe, find some one person we can blame for it all, take him out, and maybe the problem will go away.

Truth is every leader, for good ends or other, is totally dependent on supporters spread across large panoramas of national identities, personalities, and motivations. In the end the only real way to solve the "demon" problem is deal with the minutia of all the small parts of the vast whole.

The current catastrophe holding our attention is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And, as is our way, we've found ourselves a demon to blame -- an Englishman named Tony Hayward. If only we can make him answer for the sins of BP and force him to resign as leader, then the oil spill -- even if not resolved -- will at least drop off the news cycle.

The course of human events indicates evils are never removed from the earth with swords or pistols, or resignations. And, the end of news cycles rarely indicates resolution of problems (when was the last time the Haiti earthquake was lead story?).

The oil spill, as with much of life, was caused because many individuals were motivated by greed or self-promotion. Changing the corporate climate throughout the oil industry will do more good than removing any high profile demons. Winning that war is the only way to avoid the next oil disaster.

Wars are won, problems solved, evils removed by fighting the battle in the particulars -- defeating each foe and solving each issue one at a time. When that is done the "demon" comes to its natural end. It is too bad we never seem capable of fighting righteous battle until some one high profile individual becomes today's demon.

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at kayanddavid@verizon.net.

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The demonization of individuals is one thing I always found interesting about our culture. Americans always want to find someone to blame so that we can somehow make things right. And for whatever reason, it always ends up at a Congressional hearing somehow. Whether it's oil spills, hurricanes, volcanos, or what have you, it always has to be someone's fault for forgetting to put a cover sheet on his TPS reports (Watch "Office Space"). It's such an incredible waste of time and resources that can and should be used to actually solve the problem.

-- Posted by theoneinthearmy on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 12:43 PM

To Mr. Lewis and theoneinthearmy, you are ssooo right. I used to say our government was at the root of such and such problems but have came to the reality that it is our society; our friends, neighbors and the faces we pass every day that empower the "demonized individuals". I am in complete disbelief of the actions and words coming from our current president and I too have had thoughts that if he weren't our president our situation in the world would be different. However Barak Obama did not appoint himself. He was elected by the voting public. I believe that here in lies the real problem. The voting public constitutes only a small percentage of the citizens of our great nation. And a high percentage of the voters base their votes only on the information provided to them by the nightly news and their favorite news paper. The demons change with the ebb and flow of the news worthiness of any given story.

Unfortunately it is not an easy task to be well informed of the truth and facts. I personally put a great deal of faith in the fact that God is in ultimate control and some day soon will send his son to take care of business here on earth. Until that day I will continue to utilize the internet to research the facts of the politicians/demons (the titles sometimes blur together) before I show up at the local poling booth.

I encourage every one who is eligible to vote to do so!! Even if you are not sure of the facts of every candidate on the ballot I feel it is your patriotic duty to cast a ballot of votes. Take some time to get to know about the people who are representing you in Washington. Vote for the ones who share your feelings on matters such as abortion, US national debt, government spending, laws governing oil drilling and exploration....

Simply go to Google.com and type in the subject of your choice. I believe that everyone should devote an hour a week to turn off the television and get informed about their respective political representatives at all levels of government and then EVERYONE VOTE for the candidate that best represents your ideas and beliefs. When we the people get informed and take action there will be a monumental change of direction in our government at all levels. Until then the demons will govern the rest of us.

-- Posted by jddriver4960 on Mon, Jun 28, 2010, at 2:58 PM

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