"Evil encroaches in tiny footsteps on every great idea. And evil can outrun most great ideas, but finally, in the end, there is light in the world."
"The jungle is never far from the surface of our skin. No, I'm never surprised by evil, but I'm much more excited about what people are capable of."
"Well, as you get older, your idea of good guys and bad guys changes. As we moved from the eighties to the nineties, I stopped throwing rocks at the obvious symbols of power and the abuse of it. I started throwing rocks at my own hypocrisy."
Taken from 'Bono on Bono'
The picture that we often have of the poor is 'victims'. They are victims, no doubt. They are victims of the injustice in the society, the systems that have been worked out to keep them in their place, and of the rich and powerful using these systems to oppress them.
The nagging question in my head was what if the tables were turned? If the poor were made rich and powerful? My guess is that the same struggle will continue - between the powerful and the oppressed. Only the players will be different. What I am trying to say here is that the rich aren't all evil and the poor aren't all good. This is not a comic book where the evil persons are at war with the good persons.
When this one person with the good and the evil residing in him/her has the power, they have the choice to wield the power however they choose. And it seems like there is more evil than good. The choices are more selfish. In his post on morality, JollyRoger has explored 'collateral damage'. Oftentimes, those doing the damage don't look back to see the trail of disaster they leave behind - simply because of their selfish ways.
We work to put systems in place for either of the two purposes - to keep the evil from invading and imprisoning the 'victims' or to retain the power. Again, there are two sides to this. When the systems are established with great ideals of goodness and justice, they can still be infiltrated by evil. The converse is also true. When systems are put in place to retain power and to continue the oppression, the goodness of human nature does shine through.
In the end, the hero and the villain is the same person and the real battlefield is the heart.
Note: Some of what I read in Bono on Bono prodded me along this line of thought. It gave more form and structure to proceed with this thought-wrestling process. A chat with Jude and today's message at church helped me give structure and form to it. Thanks to Roger too. I was surprised to see that he had wrestled with similar thoughts and his thoughts on this subject further provided fodder for my post.