Barack Obama, President Obama — May 2, 2011 at 6:58 am

Ambivalence about the killing of Osama bin Laden


Don’t get me wrong, when I saw this, I made martinis:

Photo by Anne Savage. Please do no reuse without permission.

But, I have to say, when I woke this morning and saw the mass celebrations that happened around the country, I was a bit unsettled by it. Ten years of living in fear, of constant “yellow” or “red” alert status at our nation’s airports, and the near-invasion of Pakistan all because of this one man?

Actually, not really. The bogie man we fear wasn’t just bin Laden. And all that he represents is still out there, living with seething hatred toward us and our culture, feeding on the desperate poverty that breeds hatred of the “haves”. Bin Laden harnessed that, but he’s hardly the only one.

And so his legacy will live on; our country will continue down its Fear Path while the next ruthless leader emerges.

It’s more than that, though. It’s unseemly to me to celebrate another human’s death, no matter who it is, in my opinion. The photos of the flashmobs in New York City, Washington, D.C. and other places make me uncomfortable. It doesn’t seem right to take such joy at killing someone. That goes against my grain, like rubbing a cat’s fur backwards.

And, finally, I’m thrilled that this will enhance Barack Obama’s chances of being reelected. Yet, I wonder why that is. I saw a photo of the President on Facebook. He was looking stylin’ with sunglasses and a finely tailored suit. The caption said, “I’m sorry it took so long to get you my birth certificate, I was busy killing bin Laden.” That made me laugh, but still, is he a better leader because he had Osama bin Laden killed? Is he a better President today than he was yesterday because of this? I don’t think so. I think he’s still the marvelous leader I knew him to be yesterday before the announcement

I’m not entirely sure why I am having this reaction today. I confess we clinked martini glasses last night. But, waking up this morning, I find myself wanting to shout to the celebrating crowds, “It’s just one person! This changes nothing!”

I hope I’m wrong.

I’m just sayin’…