Monday, May 2, 2011

I've Got that Queasy Feeling Again

People are celebrating in the streets over the death of Osama bin Laden. I feel like I did post-9/11. Uneasy, unhappy, nervous, dread. Worrying about our people's response, and reactions from others, and wondering what is next. Because of course this doesn't really change anything in the "war on terror." In fact, it could very likely make things worse.

Of course I am grateful that an evil person has been removed, and with such a successful operation. But it does not make me want to dance in the streets, chanting "the USA rocks!", or post cartoons of Osama's bloody head hanging from the hands of the Statue of Liberty (as I have seen posted on FB today). 

I am kind of shocked and mortified by these actions. I think this is what bothered me so much about the CNN coverage of the frat party in front of the white house last night, with young people partying and singing "hey, hey goodbye" and seeing the FB postings that followed with the cursing and the tough words, evoking images of a self-righteous violent mob mentality. 

I understand the relief and happiness many feel...this sense of accomplishment. I am not trying to disrespect the hard work of pursuing and finding this person and removing him from the equation. But can we not give this kind of accomplishment the seriousness and somberness it deserves? You can be happy about it, but do you need to fall into the world of caricature - chest thumping and name calling and screaming in the streets? Does that make people feel better? Why? 

Looking at that celebrating mob in front of the White House last night on CNN, I couldn't help but think about the thin line that flows between something more innocent like that and similar celebrating mob in the streets that turn into violence. Earlier that evening I had watched the 60 Minutes interview from the female journalist who had been covering the celebrations in Egypt of the government changes, and who one minute was happily interviewing people and then the next minute was being sexually assaulted by the crowd. Mobs, even together to celebrate, can get crazy. I just found that scene last night unnerving, not celebratory. And many of the subsequent postings on FB, celebrating violence and/or promoting conspiracy theories about the actions of the Obama administration leave me tired with a heavy heart. 

Do you get what I am saying here? The articles below do a far better job of it, describing my queasy, nervous feelings:

In the midst of everyone's party, I just think these are powerful things to contemplate.

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