I visited the website of the TV program "60 Minutes". (I wanted to check out a segment on the easy-to-behold Penelope Cruz.) On the front page there was a poll "Who is the most dangerous person in the world?"
The way this was executed was infuriating, because there were only four choices: Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez. Resisting the urge to say that the pollsters were being utterly manipulative by only including those who would be on the lists of Republicans/corporate, it's far more likely that they conveniently forgot to remember that among their audience are those who might have enough information to see through or beyond what politicians put forth to rile people up.
And they didn't even include a fifth choice "None of the above."
But it got me thinking -- who is the most dangerous person in the world?
First of all, for the four listed: bin Laden would have to be considered somewhat dangerous because he has a documented record of inspiring others to violence and destruction; Kim Jong Il would probably have to be in the "dangerous" category too, if only because of the ferocity of his rhetoric; Ahmadinejad is not dangerous; and Hugo Chavez is downright inspiring and a hero, dangerous only to multinational corporations.
Who else could be on the list by popular demand? Why, Sarah Palin! A mixture of incompetence, ruthless ambition and frightening popularity, it's not completely outside the bounds of probability that she could become president!
But all the above are really just pipsqueaks. bin Laden is a sickly, moderately wealthy individual hiding in a bunker and influencing people on the fringe. Kim Jong Il is a desperate, caged animal; and Sarah Palin is, for the moment anyway, just a figure to shake your head and roll your eyes at.
A truly dangerous person is one who has the power to control dominating armies, to willingly send people in large numbers to destroy themselves and others, and who has the choice whether to do so or not, and decides to do so.
So who is the most dangerous person in the world? While it's true that 99.9% of the world's most dangerous people are those who sit on the figurative right hand side of the aisle, who preach and act on primal passion, fear, and loyalty, the nominated person does not fall into that category. Although I hate to say it, despite the tremendously hard-fought accomplishments on economic justice, and the wonderful turn in direction on environmental policy; by virtue of escalating the war in Afghanistan and setting the stage for even more unnecessary death and destruction, the world's most dangerous person is, unfortunately, Barack Obama.