(This is an archive written by the late Leslie Centanni. July, 2005) There is good, and there is evil. That's the hard, cold truth. There is good that surpasses even the highest expectations, and leaves us filled with emotions almost too great to bear. It's good when a baby is born healthy, it's good when people help each other live, survive, and even die. Then there is evil that surpasses even the worst of our fears, and leaves us filled with fear, dread, and even despair.
Why is this important? Because good and evil exist, they are manifest in every facet of human life, whether it be politics, business, or just plain relationships. A good example was the recent tsunami in Asia. With all of the good things people are doing to help the victims, there are also people raping battered women or stealing children that are orphaned or alone to sell. These are acts of almost incomprehensible evil. But the fact is, these things go on even when there are no disasters, as evidenced by a thriving child pornography industry.
Now while I'm a girl who favors capitalism over socialism, there are lines no one should cross. Some businesses are just plain nasty at their core. Oddly enough, they often employ workers that are not necessarily bad, but in fact are duped (sometimes by themselves) into excusing or justifying the foul industries they run. A detached, honest examination of the abortion industry reveals a cold, hard vein of ugliness running through it. A multimillion dollar production to be sure, it provides a livelihood to many people, some of them church-going upstanding members of their community. But it does so by terminating the lives of other pre-born people. A perfect example of man's inhumanity to man for the sake of personal gain. We left the concept of saving the life of the mother behind over a million lives ago.
Another example is terrorism. Make no mistake about it, terrorism is big business. The death benefits offered by the mega-manical leaders of this enterprise are sufficient to encourage the desperate to consider it as a means of providing for their families. Acts of destruction are frequent enough to encourage weapon sales amongst angry or starving nations. And money is flowing hard and fast enough to bring out the very worst in those inclined to evil in the first place.
But these are forms of skullduggery are easy to spot. The more insidious manifestationa occur amongst good acts, often cloaked by the charitable or kind works of its well-meaning host. The oil-for-food debacle is a perfect example of this type of leeching. Most people, in my opinion, are basically good, and no one really wanted to believe that anyone would take advantage of an organization founded for the purpose of feeding starving people. We also didn't want to believe that a religious institution of any kind would harbor sexual miscreants, and their evil deeds, within the folds of its pious robes.
Yet the hard, cold truth of the matter is, these things do happen. Every day. We must find it within ourselves to overcome our repugnance and aversion to accepting these facts, and consider the possibility of their intrusion long before they become problems that must be fixed. This is a person-by-person movement, and if it requires action, we must be willing to take it. All of us understand that good deeds may require a sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice is a good life for the sake of destroying an evil life.
It is hard for me to comprehend the greatest of good - a person diving in a river to save drowning children, or running into a fiery house to save a family, only to die in the process themselves - because I've never been called upon to do such acts. Such nobility humbles me, and reminds me to be thankful for the presence of good.
Yet in my own life, as I conduct my day-to-day business, and consider those who hold responsibility for the good in our government and nation, I too can do good things. I can help people, be polite, even kind, and consider my words before speaking. I can avoid gossip that tears people apart, bad dealings, deceptive people, and the game of corporate politics.. the "who's talking to who, sitting next to who, attending a meeting with who" lifestyle that makes for everyday business. It's actually refreshing when people simply talk product or service, without the posturing that often accompanies such activities. We should talk about what we're doing and how we're doing it, and not give place to petty competitions.
Right now, there's enough to keep us all busy. We must continue to fight evil wherever it lurks, but also not be afraid to let the light of good shine wherever we go, with whomever we encounter... even the evil themselves. It is a statement on our humanity to one another that we stand strong in the abhorrence of bad acts, which means eschewing bad practices, and remain firm in our commitment to care about one another. As the storms of life ravage our planet, and we try to decipher the great mysteries of the universe, let's not forget that the smallest acts of kindness can change the course of history.
How do you want to be remembered?