COMMENTARY | The news broke late Sunday night throughout the United States that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by the U.S. military on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan.
The first reaction I had was the manner in which the news was delivered and the wide range of emotions I went through when I initially tuned in. All the major news networks broke in before they knew exactly what they were dealing with. Most of the networks used a vague description as to why they had interrupted our Sunday evening: an important matter concerning national security.
I’ll tell you, I thought something terrible had happened and prepared myself to hear something awful. Just moments later, the news broke through that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and President Obama would soon be speaking to the nation; quite a sudden reverse of emotions.
Another reaction was watching, literally before my eyes, nationalism begin to take over in a way unseen since 9/11. This sudden rise of nationalism frightens me, however. Nationalism is a scary tool in most instances. That said, for the country, and specifically for those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and the families who have lost soldiers since the wars started, they deserve this overwhelming flow of jubilation.
What happened tonight is 10 years’ worth of emotion (primarily anger) just spilling out all over the country and, all future actions aside, the country deserves to celebrate tonight. However, when the night is over, it will be important to realize the death of Osama Bin Laden as a symbolic victory, not a deeply practical one.
Lastly, I was saddened, though certainly not surprised, to hear the hatred I witnessed via my various social networks. There was obvious celebratory reaction to the news of Bin Laden’s death: “ding dong the witch is dead” was a common Facebook status I noticed, but also an immediate Bush v. Obama debate as to who was responsible for this success.
Essentially, in a moment that strikes as deep as our emotions go for our country, partisanship still managed to rear its head. It wasn’t just partisanship that came out, but religious and racial hatred (that I don’t feel is appropriate to repeat here). The showing of these unfortunate actions was as disheartening as Bin Laden’s death was encouraging. A reality check, I suppose.
However, through all the ups and downs of the evening, I think it is necessary to once again thank all of the troops, both those directly involved in today’s military success and all those serving throughout the country and the world. We thank each of you!