For those who post the mangled MLK quote in reference to Bin Laden's death, I respect the general sentiment against violence, but there are exceptions when one has committed oneself to purposeful and callous mass murder. Such a person cannot be stopped by understanding or embrace, and to believe that one who relentlessly pursues the blood of innocent people should be spared is a kind of spiritual narcissism at the expense of future victims, human lives more deserving of our empathy. There may well have been a reason that the operation was originally scheduled for 4-30 but was postponed a day due to weather. 4-30 is the date of Hitler's departure from planet Earth.
For context, consider but our great national wound of 9-11... innocent people boarded planes to see their loved ones or fly somewhere for a meeting and were purposely driven headlong into a building or into the ground, others who just went to work found themselves making a decision to jump from 100 stories into concrete rather than face death by jet fuel, and brigades of firefighters marched up stairs as towers quaked and collapsed upon them. I weep no tears for Bin Laden. He did these things and more and would have planned and executed ever more horrific acts if possible.
Do not misread the celebrations. In a deep sense this was our VE Day, our VJ Day. To be certain, Bin Laden's death was not an absolute resolution, but it can and should be a pivot point -- a point to celebrate the good within this country, of things we once held as our values, and away from not only the wounds inflicted upon us but also away from the dark paths into which 9-11 led us. Let us celebrate this chance to move from fear and manipulation, from unnecessary wars and the 'collateral damage' of human lives within those countries, from an embrace of torture and rendition and Abu Ghraib and atrocities, from indifference to the damaged bodies and minds of servicemen and women sent into the hell of war, from the fathomless place we allowed this single event to take our national conscience.
May this mark a point of our transformation because the greater danger was that, left unattended, 9-11 would continue to seed fear and division and propel forces of hegemony within us. You know those forces well for they march through the populace first with fear, then with hatred, and morph ever so deftly into mistrust and racism and bullying threats and violent actions against our fellow citizens. We watched it funnel into 'Obama the terrorist,' the demonized monster, the 'secret Muslim,' not Christian but the dangerous other, the non-American, whatever and everything those forces could roll up into a dense thicket of vague rage. Such cover allowed them to hide behind the weeds while holding the true and ugly source of their fear and fanaticism close to their erratically beating chests, that Obama was a black man, a black man who could not be trusted and who did not belong in their community. All of this devolved from 9-11, from the wrench socket it implanted within us, readying us to be exploited by any prejudice that whispered within us.
For this, it is especially gratifying that the successful mission to take out 9-11's architect was the successful outcome of an order by a black American president. All of that cluttered brush was cleared away with this one decision, one real mission accomplished, and it has left the birthers and the fear peddlers and the anti-Christers and the 'you liars' and the Tea Party 'Obama-Hitlers' and the Becks and Limbaughs and Foxhounds alone in the open, naked with nothing but their festering racism. That is where we have been heading in a great irrational march manipulated for the benefit of a plutocracy, a privileged class of corporatists and the wealthy right. This act has knocked those forces back on their heels -- though it is a fight that is not as sure and certain as a Navy Seal taking out Bin Laden -- but for now, I celebrate in the hope that this is a toehold to reclaiming the compass of our conscience.