As the whole Osama bin Laden killing was playing out last night, I wondered to myself what the reaction from the GOP would be. I had a brief period when I thought that maybe they would see that this is a victory for all Americans, right and left. A victory for all the families and victims of Osama bin Laden’s treachery and maybe it would be a time for us to come together across political divides. Ya right! The thought lasted for about a millisecond in my “Theraflu Cold” addled brain. Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches found one of the more outrageous and just plain crazy responses from one of Pat Robertson’s people…(emphasis mine)
I know President Obama understands that getting Bin Laden doesn’t mean an end to the war on terrorism but how about a smile? How about showing a little joy? How about a word or two saying something about how this is no doubt a happy or joyous occasion for Americans? We got nothing like that at all. Instead, we got Mr. Monotone. Mr. Bars and Tone. Mr. Non-Emotion. President Obama missed an opportunity to connect with Americans last night.
So why did he announce the big news like he was reading the dictionary? You know the answer. It’s because his speech wasn’t so much aimed at Americans. He was being careful of how the “Arab Street” would interpret his remarks. Any hint of gloating or happiness might be rubbing it in the face of some of the crazies in the Arab World and heaven forbid we get them upset! How dare we Americans look like we’re celebrating his death! The travesty of it all! Give me a break. Isn’t it time to stop catering to thugs?
So apparently the ACTUAL death of Osama bin Laden isn’t going to be interpreted negatively, but the President was not smiling because he didn’t want the “Arab Street” to misinterpret his remarks. I haven’t read many of the other wingnut responses but I have to imagine that this one ranks right up there as one of the most idiotic ones. Killing Osama bin Laden and then being grave and serious about it is catering to thugs?
President Barack Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama listens during one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
I had several comments that I deleted with extreme prejudice this morning…trying to give credit to Bush and attempting to spin this in their warped way. Fuck it, I’m not giving them a platform for their bullshit propaganda. What we saw last night after the announcement, although a little strange to comprehend, was our country coming together and putting an end to a chapter in our history that should have been ended many years ago. This isn’t political, it is our national security, it is closure for all those who suffered on 9/11 and it is a healing process so we might move on from the horrible memories of 9/11.
Stop the trolls from ruining this moment and attempting to rewrite history as it is happening.
Like many people with consciences, I have mixed feelings about cheering the death of an individual, it just doesn’t feel right in many ways. But when I look back on that day in 2001 when I was out painting the trim on my garage and my wife came out and said, “you better come in here” and I did. We had some contractors at the house too and invited them in to watch what was happening. I still remember talking to my wife as I was watching the television and seeing the first tower start to collapse, we all let out an audible gasp. I remember thinking, oh my god, how many people were still in that building. It was horrifying, a memory that will never fade.
I think about walking around in a daze for the next couple of weeks, how the campus I work at was somber, everyone walked around stunned. We had a vigil at the clock tower on that day and classes were optional for the next two days. Counseling was available to students, faculty and staff. I think about how I was glad my mother wasn’t alive to see this, she had passed just a year before. It would have been devastating to her, as someone who served her country in World War II and worked at the Pentagon, where one of the attacks occurred.
So as I think back to those days, I have a larger context for what is happening with the celebrations. As a country, we were all attacked on 9/11 and even though I have never been a person who thinks revenge is justice, I can’t help but feel closure as an American. I can’t help but feel joy for those families who watched the same live coverage that I did, knowing that a family member may very well be in those buildings. I can’t help but be relieved that this man will never order another attack, will never kill an innocent person, will no longer be able to put out a video tape our audio tape gloating about his killing of innocent people.