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If I were the devil…

September 6, 2012

This week’s post is inspired by an essay recorded by radio-great Paul Harvey, first in the 1960s and updated in the 1990s.  Mr. Harvey’s essay is an exceptional piece of writing and radio.  I don’t expect that my piece will come close to the same, but it captures thoughts that have filled my mind in the current political season.

If I were the devil…I’d make every man and woman afraid.

Not afraid of me, mind you, I’d have long convinced them that I didn’t exist.

No, if I were the devil, I’d write a new commandment on the hearts of men: fear your neighbor.

I’d convince half of the population that the end was near because religious zealots are beating down the door to steal their personal freedom.

For the other half, I’d ensure that they looked at their neighbors with suspicion of evil, convinced that the “other side” are bloodthirsty savages who value nothing, innocent life least of all.

I’d make it so that, when people look at each other, they don’t see mothers and fathers just trying to meet the needs of their kids and make a better way for them in the world.  Instead, they’d see the “enemy” ready to destroy everything of value.

For twenty four hours a day, I’d fill with airwaves with “experts” representing every extreme, fanning the flames of mistrust and putting everything into a metanarrative rooted in politics, not people.

I’d put victims on trial, turn sinners into saints and vice versa.

If I were the devil, I would convince even Christians that the answer to every social problem hinged on the outcome of the next election and Supreme Court nomination.  I’d make sure that they thought of prayer as about effective as wishing on a star.

As the prince of darkness, I’d drive people from public by inserting acts of violence into places that once felt safe.  I’d convince people that the only safe place is at home, with locked doors and closed blinds.  I’d pump plenty of sports and sex into the countless screens that fill the home, and compel people to turn themselves into captives.

In schools, I’d take the emphasis off of learning and place it on progressing.  I’d normalize the experience of every student so that all vestige of creativity and independence of thought was stripped away.

Yes, if I were the devil I wouldn’t be satisfied with destroying 52% of marriages.  I’ve set my sights on the other 48%, filling them with a sense of inevitable failure and convincing millions of children that marriage is just a dream, that intimacy is something to be feared, and that all human relationships only end in pain.

In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jerry Jones permalink
    September 13, 2012 9:47 pm

    I’m so glad that I have such a wise friend like you. This gave me chills. Awesome job! Good day!

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