Pessimism wasn't my intent. My intent was that one man can make a difference, but not by blowing stuff up or by beating the crap put of people. One man makes a difference by leading an inspirational life.
Jesus didn't blow stuff up, neither did Buddha. Of course, a lot of stuff has been blown up in their names, which leads to a second point. Great men do not make utopias. Alexander's empire fell apart when he died. Ramses' statues have crumbled to dust. No one can create a lasting empire, or a perfect eternal civilization. All one can do is try to change the tide for a lifetime of so, maybe make the world a little bit happier for as long as you're around, and maybe inspire some youngsters to take up the cause as you get older. And there's nothing wrong with that. Someone will eventually twist your words, probably, but if you do it right most will stay on the right track until that track is broken.
Veidt could have changed the tide in any number of ways. He could done so many things that it isn't even funny. He could have gotten everyone to sit down at a table and hammer out a mutually acceptable agreement. No need for theatrics, just set up a meeting between POTUS and the Soviet Premier in a neutral location and not let either of them leave until they've worked out a deal to avoid nuclear war. But Ozymandias wanted a spectacle, he wanted to be the great leader who ushered in the Age of Aquarius or whatever, not just some guy who brokered a peace deal. He wanted to build something that would last. But he forgot that the sands of time swallow up the works of kings and beggars alike. The people who truly know him, who truly cared about him, will remember him as a crazy guy who murdered fifteen million people and several of their friends. And his true message gets lost, because the world doesn't know what it is. He can't tell anyone without breaking his little charade.
If we've learned one thing from the wacky misadventures of everyone's favorite madcap Führer, the irrepressible Adolph Hitler, it's that murdering millions of people is not the most constructive way to better the world. We can avoid nuclear war without any of that silliness. We just need to put aside our insane megalomania for a moment brainstorm other options.
I think that's a pretty positive philosophy. You don't have to kill more people than Hitler did to make the world a better place. I'm sure a generation of aspiring heroes who might have been turned off by the prospect of committing Crimes Against Humanity will be relieved to hear that. How could anything more positive? I think that corollary, killing more people than Hitler did might not be a good thing to do, is just common sense.
Being a hero isn't about putting on a mask or a cape. It isn't about gadgets. It isn't about cool powers. It isn't about beating people up. It isn't about saving the world. And it isn't about blowing up cities.
Being a hero is about stepping and helping people, even when it's hard to do so, when it's easier to look the other way and keep walking. It's about breaking through the SEP field that separates us from the rest of unwashed masses and actually connect to people, and actually do something positive for them. It's about the little things, not the big things. It means a willingness to get involved and stick your neck out for other people.
Every character in Watchmen forgot what heroism means. Dan and Laurie left it altogether, because continuing was too hard or too frightening. Every other character twisted it to fit their own warped philosophies. But even so, the ideal still means something. And since these people don't exist in the real world, we don't have to follow down any of their paths, particularly not the bloody ones.