Well this has gotten to be a huge and fascinating conversation.
@Parkingplaces - Love the story. I think it really illustrates how these attempts to kill bad guys often create more enemies than these bad guys could have created on their own.
@nogodsforme - You so often say what I wish I had said.
@Sunking - There are indeed many incompetent elected officials, and many of the biggest changes are in fact implemented and carried out by bureaucracies driven by hopes of self preservation rather than the greater good.
@Screwtape - We are certainly on the same page when it comes to many issues. But we clearly differ on our views of humanity. I work with adult immigrants and refugees, and my program has a leadership development component and a community organizing component. In my experience, in spite of the fact that many of the folks we work with have little formal education, I am often awed by the work that they do. Now, they are not deciding who to throw missiles on. It is local stuff most - community based. Stuff they can really change. They are prioritize issues, and then create campaigns around those issues, many of which have been really successful. Increasing neighborhood park space, and creating an urban play street for kids has been a HUGE success. The inclusion of low-income housing units in a development created on previously public land has also been a major victory. Increasing bike lanes on various avenues. Working with city agencies to decrease traffic problems by changing the direction of some one-way streets and re-routing some bus routes was also pretty big.
I believe that people want to live in strong communities, and if given the opportunity, most folks will work to make their communities stronger. Religion is creating at building and maintaining communities. But if folks have secular causes, that improve the quality of their lives, they have less need for communities of god, and more reasons for communities of neighbors.
No. I don't think most people are morons. I think most people have a lot of untapped potential.