Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Osama, Part 3

And so now we come to the end...

I wanted to comment on why we may not have felt much when we heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces back in May. Why did I delay so long posting about this? Why the long break?

A combination of events kept me from posting as early - months ago! - as I had wanted, but the fact of the delay makes the point that I wanted to express. That point is this - bin Laden's despicable acts happened ten and more years ago. A lot of time has passed since he was active in anything that harmed Americans here in our own country.

Time has a way of salving the wound. We don't exactly forget, but the trauma is moved further and further from our immediate concerns.

No, we don't forget, and for those who are jubilant that bin Laden is dead and buried at sea, the memory is as fresh as it was on September 12, 2001.

But for those of us who may feel numb, or a quiet sense of satisfaction that justice was done but little more, or any of a number of other quiet reactions, there have been more recent shocks to our systems.

We've been through the bursting of the housing bubble.

We've seen the Great Recession overtake us.

We've seen the election of a President who is liked by half the country, and reviled by the other half. We're not even sure - many of us aren't even now - if he's really eligible to be elected as President.

We've seen the prolongation of wars on two fronts, wars that are costing us lives, huge amounts of our national treasure, and a lot of our notion of what it means to be American.

And most recently, we've seen our government fail to do what past governments have done as a matter of course, raise our national borrowing limit so we can continue to pay our bills.

I could comment on that last item - I have very strong feelings about what the government is doing, and failing to do - but I'm going to hold off. We now know what the outcome is. Commentary can wait a bit longer.

The old saying is that time heals all wounds. In the case of bin Laden, and most others, that isn't really true. Time eases many wounds, but the wound still exists. The pain isn't gone all together. But our reaction to it, which may once have been one of arm-waving, shouting fury, is now muted and more subdued. Time has passed, and we've moved on.

Osama bin Laden is dead. He will not be resurrected, and the site of his burial will not become one of pilgrimage for those dedicated to his diabolical doctrine. Good riddance.

And now we move on. What next must we confront?

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