He wanted to change our world for the worse — and he did.
I just finished reading a very accurate essay on the CBC Web site, “The Devil likely died happy” by Neil Macdonald. As my fellow countrymen rejoice in the streets — like Taliban members did when more than 3,000 Americans were killed on September 11, 2001 — it takes a Canadian to look at Osama bin Laden’s death with 20-20 vision. I urge you to read his essay, in its entirety. It’s a sobering look at reality.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy bin Laden is dead. To me, he’s the equivalent of Hitler, Stalin, or any other man who used the death of innocents to achieve his personal goals. While some people are claiming we should have captured him and put him on trial, I really don’t care that we didn’t. The news of his death gave the American people a much-needed shot in the arm. And I’m sure that on some level, it’ll bring closure to the the people who lost loved ones on 9/11.
But will it change anything? Will it bring back the pre-9/11 world that so many of us remember and miss?
What do you think?
So, as Mr. Macdonald pointed out with numerous examples in his excellent and thoughtful essay, bin Laden achieved his goals beyond his wildest dreams. He made us paranoid, he increased our hatreds, he divided us as a people. He caused our government to take away liberties and subject us to policies that were in direct conflict with our beloved Constitution. He caused us to start wars on two fronts, wars that burden the American economy and put our young service people at risk every single day.
He changed our way of life.
And isn’t that what he wanted all along?
The quote that hits home from Mr. Macdonald’s piece is this:
But bin Laden didn’t just prod Americans into disregarding their own laws and principles when dealing with their real and supposed enemies; he goaded them into turning on each other.
And so he has. And even in his death, the splits among Americans are drawn and widened. This morning, I read two essays by conservative pundits taking exception with our President’s speech last night, a speech in which they said that he took too much credit for bin Laden’s death. They can’t be satisfied that a national goal has been achieved. Instead, they need to turn it into a political argument over words in a speech announcing a true “Mission Accomplished” to the nation. As if Bush or McCain or anyone else from their side of our country would have done it differently.
One nation, indivisible? I wish.
No, I don’t think bin Laden’s death will change anything.
The TSA will still require us to get half undressed, dump our water bottles, and go without nail clippers when we fly. They’ll still subject us to unreasonable search using potentially dangerous and extremely intrusive X-ray devices or pat-downs.
The political pundits will still find fault with the other side. Conservatives and liberals will still disagree on everything. Media grabbing presidential wannabes will still go on-air spouting lies to sway public opinion.
We’ll still have thousands of troops in the middle east, fighting an enemy they can’t beat, coming home broken — mentally or physically (or both) — or in body bags. Government contractors will still be overpaid to support them while services the American public needs are cut to pay for our wars.
The hate will continue to spew out of the mouths of close-minded people who have nothing better to think about than how someone different from them has no right to be on American soil.
Nothing will change. Bin Laden may be dead, but his legacy continues to live in America.
And I cannot imagine anything sadder than that.