Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Horror

I think I've had ample time to digest reaction to the death of perhaps the most hated man in the world (at least to the so-called 'Free World').

Let me start by saying it's incredible what social media has been able to accomplish in just the last few years. People need look no further than their Facebook News Feed to get the latest scoop on just about anything. But it also leaves very little room for error in formulating mainstream friendly opinions (see Rashard Mendenhall). Kind of sad to say, but the culmination of the ever present news feed is beginning to define what is acceptable or unacceptable to the not so silent majority. Facebook is becoming everyone's most convenient Op-ed column.

With that said, am I the only one that is a little disturbed by all of the so-called pent-up nationalism being displayed on Facebook and Twitter statuses the past few days?

Let me preface what I'm about to say by telling you I didn't know any of the 3,000 victims that lost their lives as a result of the 9/11 attacks. I don't even know anyone connected to them. And to be completely honest, even I felt a little relief to hear that Osama was no longer with us. In fact, I even posted a status update on how good Obama's poker face was leading up to the act (Did you see that speech at the Correspondents' dinner?). But it's still a little disconcerting that people are reacting to Osama's killing as if the Lakers just won the championship.

Was Osama the unmistakable face of terrorism for the past decade? Yes. Was he responsible for killing thousands and thousands of people over that decade? Yes. Was he intent on killing thousands, maybe millions more over the course of the next decade with both the resources and brains to do so? Yes.

Everything should make logical sense, but to me it doesn't. I'm bothered by the reaction because it tells me that at some point, celebrating this man's or, for that matter, any man's killing, is acceptable and encouraged. That at some point, hearing that someone got shot through the eye and dumped in the ocean, then rejoicing is an encouraged and a perfectly normal reaction. But if that's the case, where exactly do you draw the line?

If you watched Obama's announcement speech, you were probably fighting the urge to go light some fireworks and go trade in your Toyota for American made. "Today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people" he said. And of course we of all people are on the side of the Americans. We're Americans damnit! Let's forget all the partisan arguing that nearly shut the government down, all of the side-taking and deal-making and embrace our roles as Americans because that's what we all are. Now I see where all this raw nationalism came from.

No one man should have all that power (yes, I just did).

Now don't get me wrong. I do feel that the world is a safer place without Osama. And I agree that he left very little room for any other scenario. I'm reacting to what I observed after the fact. One line in Obama's speech really stuck out to me. When Obama proudly declared "Americans understand the cost of war", I had to laugh. Anyone who has ever argued or debated, much less written a coherent opinionated thought could see what he was trying to do. I couldn't contain myself because no man, woman or child that sits at home watching these things occur on a TV screen could possibly understand the costs of war, much less how much a single human life is worth.

No, we're not that delusional. We just know how much it's depreciated.