Monday, May 2, 2011

Jingo All The Way


The names are uncomfortably similar. Osama ad Obama. They rhyme, they connote Islam, at one time they could so easily be "the other." With the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, confirmed at a midnight press conference by Barak Obama, the names will no doubt be intertwined forever.
The reaction to this death of a villain is diverse and troubling. For some it's a celebration akin to a football rally, but eerily reminiscent to a lynching. There is no moral high ground here. Can't say I'm surprised, but is it so much to ask for more people to react with reflection rather than vengeance? What happens when we mimic our "enemies?"
The polarization in this country is greater than ever and this event really brings it to the fore. This morning I read various responses on Facebook pages. They ranged from carefully worded statements suggesting people think about what it means to celebrate the death of another human being to "hope he was tortured before they killed him and isn't God great."
Time to get out the Dylan recording of "With God on our Side."
The Jingoism is rife today. The media is sucking it all down and regurgitating a red, white, and blue Superman cape for a national picnic.
In a few days, the party will be over. The news of Bin Laden's death will spark another round of militaristic chest beating, but the essence of what is truly here will go unspoken. Who will ask the tough questions? How will anything be different? Would the victims of 9/11/01, in all three locations, be concerned that we address the real issues behind those attacks?
Particularly chilling was how the President used no passive voice in telling the country that the evil archetype of terror was dead.
We killed him, not he was killed. Who stops to think how that will play elsewhere?
Sure, like everyone else, I'm glad that Bin Laden has been brought to justice. But were there alternatives? I think about other archetypal evil figures and I immediately think of Nazi Germany. But the government of Israel took a moral stance and gave their enemies of the state public trials. Isn't that what we'd expect from the United States of America.

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