“One aspect of being human is our ability to choose our own behavior; more specifically, our capacity to return good for evil, love for hate, dignity for indignity.” – Pamela Gerloff
“2 wrongs don’t make a right.”
Isn’t that the old saying?
Too bad it isn’t true.
“Right” is simply in the eye of the beholder.
Or in this case, “right” is simply in the hands of those that be holdin’ the power to dictate what story will be told.
In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s demise at the hands of the US military, there have been scenes of jubilation and chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
We are so proud of eliminating this “villain” that people have tweeted their glee at the prospect of seeing pictures of his corpse.
This killing, of course, was justifiable.
After all, he was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.
The killing of more than 3000 Americans.
He got what he deserved.
If you kill Americans, by God, we will hunt you down and make you PAY.
We are more than entitled to be judge, jury and executioner.
After all, We. Are. The. United. States. of. America.
The defenders of all that is right, good and holy.
Hell, we ARE right, good and holy.
I began to imagine our reaction had the tables been turned.
Imagine that a special ops unit of soldiers from Iraq & Afghanistan had shown up in Texas to take W into custody for his alleged war crimes.
Like any good cowboy, he goes out fighting.
And all over TV and the internet, we see scenes of people dancing in the street overseas. Wrapped up in their flags, chanting and cheering over his death.
Now whether or not you actually liked W isn’t the issue.
After all, from their perspective, he is a suspected war criminal and needs to be brought to “justice.”
Given the thousands of casualties from *his* wars, the off-shore torture chambers, the number of innocent people detained and imprisoned without ever being charged, you’d agree that Iraqis and Afghans are entitled to their need to see “justice” served, wouldn’t you?
So, know doubt you’d totally understand people dancing in the streets and their leaders declaring that they (as a country) “can do whatever we set our mind to.”
I have been asking myself, how Osama’s death changes anything.
Will we completely withdraw ALL troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?
How are we better people, a better country now that he’s dead?
How are the victims of the 9/11 attack vindicated?
How are their families served?
How does closure become possible when you still harbor hate in your heart?
How has meeting violence with violence made us better human beings?
Who we were on 9/12/2001 is a far cry from who we are today.
Our “evolution” over the past 9+ years makes my stomach churn and brings tears to my ears.
We had an opportunity on 9/12/2001 to show the world “our capacity to return good for evil, love for hate, dignity for indignity.”
We squandered it.
We chose vengeance and called it “justice.”
Mission: Accomplished. (again)
I’ve read several posts on the death of Osama bin Laden and America’s reaction that are far more eloquent than mine. This excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Tim Wise, is something that will stay with me for a long time.
Perhaps the only thing more disturbing than the celebrations unleashed in the wake of bin Laden’s demise was the cynical way in which the president suggested that his killing proved “America can do whatever we set our mind to.” If this is, indeed, the lesson of bin Laden’s death, then this only suggests we clearly don’t want to diminish, let alone end, child poverty, excess mortality rates in communities of color, rape and sexual assault of women (including the many thousands who have been victimized in the U.S. military), or food insecurity for millions of families; because we aren’t addressing any of those things with nearly the aplomb as that put to warfare and the killing of our adversaries.
We are, if the president is serious here, a nation that has narrowly constricted its marketable talents to the deployment of violence. (my emphasis) We can’t manufacture much of anything, but we can kill you. We can’t fix our schools, or build adequate levees to protect a city like New Orleans from floodwaters. But we can kill you. We can’t reduce infant mortality to anywhere near the level of other industrialized nations with which we like to compare ourselves. But we can kill you. We can’t break the power of Wall Street bankers, or jail any of those bankers and money managers who helped orchestrate the global financial collapse. But we can kill you. We can’t protect LGBT youth from bullying in schools, or ensure equal opportunity for all in the labor market, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or any other factor. But we can kill you.
I look forward to the day I tell my hypothetical grandchildren about how we as a country did nothing to close the income gap, allowed our public education system to fail, let workers rights be eroded in the interest of profits and how grateful they should be that they have no healthcare, but live in the “greatest country on earth.” ‘Cause by God, we can KILL better than any one.
Today, I am looking in the mirror asking, when will love win?