Obama, Osama, Yo’ Mama and a Llama

Something wasn’t sitting right with me when I woke up to two text messages from friends and a BBC news alert on my phone this morning. It’s not just that I had been having nightmares for the past two weeks. I’d gotten used to waking up startled and examining my body for bullet wounds or bites from wild animals. This morning was different; I didn’t wake up to a nightmare, I woke up what many would call “justice being served,” ten years late.

Justice is such a tricky little word. It means so much to so many that its meaning begins to become this diluted version of righteousness before your very eyes. All across my social media feeds my fellow countrymen and women were rejoicing at the death of Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. 9/11: a date weighted so heavily in our young history. We all know where we were when it happened. For me as well as for many of my generation: it will be a story we tell our children, our grandchildren…

Examining everyone’s reaction this morning I finally see that we weren’t just a country in mourning in the months that followed the attacks. We were a country in defeat. 3,000 deaths no longer meant grief, instead it meant: how could some third world countryman outsmart me? I’m American. I come from the best country in the world!

And so we sent out our troops, invaded countries with no REAL basis for being there. It was like watching doctors provide temporary pain relief for the external symptoms without ever addressing the disease. All this happening, while folks paraded in the streets trying to be appeased by a little monkey’s plan for retaliation against mysterious forces that were as intangible as they were hidden.

America, I thought we were making progress, truly. I watched history as a black family moved into the most prestigious white house in the country. I saw little instances of change slowly but surely, reaffirming a recovery from eight years of hell that forced me to hide my passport while I was abroad.

I was even back on the road a couple of months ago proudly telling everyone that I was an American, a Chicagoan; a Patriot.

This morning: all of a sudden, I’m back in 2002 and there are these bloodthirsty people chanting “America! America!” I know I won’t be of popular opinion today, but there was something very disturbing about all relishing in the death of someone; not just death but what we could assume to be the brutal killing of someone. I could follow logic quite well; an eye for an eye; tooth for tooth, but this isn’t the logic I am partial to.

I am not in mourning for Osama Bin Laden.  When you participate in war there are consequences and casualties. That is a reality for everyone: whether you are in the military, love someone in the military, are in Senate seats signing bills or just some plain patriot like me.

I won’t, however, parade around touting the American flag today. This is not a victory I want to celebrate. It doesn’t bring back 3,000 lives; there is no closure to some wounds even ten years later with the death of terrorist. Just ask the survivors of concentration camps if the death of Hitler made them feel better about what they’ve experienced.

The only upside to this is that my tax dollars won’t go to funding ten more years wasted to “bring justice home” and I won’t have to listen to the same people asking, “whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?” as an easy critique of any unpopular administration. At least politically, we can let this one rest in peace.

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