I was scrolling through my Facebook homepage today - checking out people's statuses - and I saw that somebody had posted a very insightful Eleanor Roosevelt quote:
“So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins, such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects, that too little attention is paid to the passive sins, such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have a more devastating effect.”
Not only did I think the quote was extremely wise, but I also thought the words were very relevant in respect to today's current events, particularly the recent mass-shooting in Tucson Arizona.
I felt compelled to comment on the Facebook post and here is what I wrote:
"There is an overall effort in the media and in the 'elitist' sector of our world to draw the public's attention to the aggressive sinners, like the murderers, rapists, child molesters etc. It's a way of conditioning the public's understanding of what is and isn't evil...basically redefining morality in a way that is convenient for the rich and powerful. If we see evil as solely murdering and raping etc. (not being passive and apathetic), then it's easier for the elitists to carry out their corrupt agendas, like starting needless wars in oil-rich countries or scamming people out of billions of dollars on Wall Street. Not only are these elitists able to dodge being labeled as evil but we are too lazy and indifferent to really get in their way anyhow. We essentially end up watching football games, "American Idol" or "CSI: Wherever" while they carry out their self-serving agenda.
Also, if you think about it, it's in the media's best interest to draw attention to the 'aggressive sinners' (like Jared Lee Loughner) because a lot of money can be made in doing so. The media's riveting stories about wild gunmen and campus shooters and sicko rapists flatter the viewers, making us think that, "hey, we're not so bad after all". People WANT to believe that as long as they're not killing/raping or overtly stealing from people then they're good people. The media is simply feeding us what we want to hear so we keep on coming back for more and more and more, and a boat-load of money is made in the process. It's manipulative, exploitative and wrong. It's perhaps just as 'evil' as the very sinners they're throwing their stones at in their stories."
So when we are relentlessly exposed to videos of wild gunmen (like Clay Duke in Florida) and shocking images of disturbed psychopaths (like Loughner above), we need to keep in mind that evil isn't always so easily identifiable. It's not always elsewhere, far away from us - embodied in an 'other' - like what the media wants us to believe. Eleanor Roosevelt was dead-on right: the face of evil can oftentimes be staring right back at us in the mirror...and we have to know it when we see it.