No Tap Shoes

May 2, 2011 - 5:00pm -- swingbug

I'm not un-American so don't even go there.

First of all, I was born here, so by definition, American, thanks so much. And secondly, I'm in favor of things like democracy and civil rights. I think I was pretty lucky to be born here, all things considered, and I think this country has a lot to offer.

I also think it has some room to grow up.

Enough with the preface. My point is I'm not dancing in the streets today because we killed a guy.

I got the news by text message from my cousin last night. Straight-forward, no commentary. "Osama Bin laden is dead...president to announce shortly." And prompt. The man is better informed than CNN.

Five minutes later I heard cheers go up down the block. They way they do on Superbowl Sunday. I cast around briefly for something of that nature to link the noise to, then I looked at my phone again and my stomach sank just a little.

I recognize that this was not a good guy and I'm glad that he can't hurt anyone anymore. I was watching the newscast along with the rest of the country and most of the world when the second plane hit the towers. I get it. I do.

Still, all I could think was, "Fine. You got him. Now can we use this to stop killing people on the other side of the world?"

As per my usual routine, I listened to NPR this morning on the way into work. It was a special report. The history of the conflict with bin Laden. Quotes from President Clinton forward. Breakdowns of the bombings.

Look, this is one milestone in a long bloody mess with a whole lot of dead people piled up on both sides. If this one extra bullet-ridden body (or four) means less bullet-ridden bodies in the future then I suppose it's a good thing. Forgive me if my tap shoes are unavailable though. The report also talked about some unknown woman we shot and the neighbors who say they heard the sound of children screaming.

When the radio broadcast got down to interviews with incoherent people celebrating in the streets of New York, I switched the station.

As previously mentioned, I’ve got family shit going on right now. It’s not that stuff happening on the other side of the planet doesn’t concern me. As it happens, I have family from here to the other side of the planet and, if it’s happening to them, I care very much. But to be honest, I don’t care about much in any deep sense about anything going on outside of that sphere right now. That’s egocentric of me, I guess. I expect it’s coloring my perceptions of major news events, anyway.

I’ll probably queue up the president’s speech about all this later on and listen to what the man has to say. All things considered, I think he’s a pretty bright guy.

I’m not saying bin Laden should be mourned by the nation. Asshole. Noted. But I think how we manage to conduct ourselves in the face of death and destruction has a lot to say about who we are as a people. And using this as reason for a beer and block party seems a little off to me.

My two cents... for what it’s worth.

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