Monday, May 2, 2011

Everyone should stop telling each other how to feel now

So, here are a few things that I think are true.

Even if they're not entirely true, they're at least pretty darn close to true, and I think we'll all do a lot better over the next few weeks if we could all agree to act as if they were true.
1. People chanting "U-S-A" following the death of Osama bin Laden do not hate other countries. They do not hate Muslims. They are expressing a sense of joy, or relief, or closure, or whatever, in a way that feels comfortable for them.
2. People who are too young to remember 9/11 do not necessarily have less of a right to their feelings about bin Laden's death, whatever those feelings may be. Remember that those kids have lived virtually their whole lives under the shadow of the threats (real and imagined) posed by bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
3. People who are uncomfortable with the idea of celebrating the death of another human being – even bin Laden – do not hate America. Some may wish that bin Laden had been captured alive, but they don't wish that he was still free.
4. People who lost friends or family members in the 9/11 attacks are having a fundamentally different experience from people with friends and family in the armed forces, and fundamentally different from the experience of people for who are lucky enough not to have been directly affected. None of their reactions are right or wrong. 
5. None of these points apply to the politicians, pundits, and strategists who are going to spend the next several months exploiting and distorting events for partisan gain.


  1. Thanks for this great commentary, injecting reason into a confusing day of news and reaction.