The Death of a Symbol

Posted: May 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

In the last day and a half, I have watched Americans react to the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. What I see all over the social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, is a division between the people as they try to decide what it means to them. There are a lot of political views being thrown around, misunderstanding, joy, hate, confusion, disbelief, etc. etc. I am not interested in sharing my political views on the matter or judging the government for how it was done and the decisions they made. Overall, I try to keep politics out of my blog, so please realize that I am not in any way making a political statement here, this is a statement about what I see going on with the people of this country and not the government of this country. My reason for this post is to hopefully shed some light on this for those that are disgusted with the reactions of Americans for celebrating the death of a man. You see, Osama was not a man in the eyes of America. He was a symbol. A symbol of hate, of terrorism. A symbol of fear. He was trope of evil if you will. This is how he was viewed by America. While he was alive, this symbol lived. Dead, there is a lightening of the fear he inspired. Some of the reactions are poorly phrased, or show hate right back, but overall, there is a sense of relief that this evil is gone from the world. The “good guys” prevailed. Look around you. Look to the books on your shelf, the action movies you watch or the comics you read. There is always good triumphing over evil. This is what we as people want to believe in; we want to think that good will always triumph and evil will always fail. Overall, yes the network of terrorists is still there, they still harbor hate for America, and they may make Osama into a martyr, but they don’t need that reason to continue to hate the people of America. They will or they won’t. Do you think that if we had been able to capture Bin Laden and put him on trial, that the terrorists would stop? That they would see justice and realize that America is right? Of course not. So while they may make him into a martyr and use his death to fuel their passion for hate, we have the ability to use his death to fuel our passions as well. Our passion for justice or peace, our passion to believe in freedom, our passion to understand the attacks that took so many lives. Try to understand the views of your fellow Americans. Try to understand where they are coming from and why they are celebrating. A symbol has died and we can take what we will from the loss of that symbol. We can use this to our advantage to come together as Americans, or we can use it to increase the divisions between the people. I can hope that we will take what we will from it and move on together, that we will move on as a stronger nation seeking true freedom for all, including ourselves. That we will try to foster understanding and try to see both sides of an argument in order to come to agreement. Heck, I hope that one day there will be peace on earth and a social revolution for the betterment of mankind. But then, I have always been an optimistic pessimist. I may expect the worst, but I always have hope for better and will do what is in my power to work for that goal. What will you do? What will you take from this? Will you see it as an opportunity for more discord, or party-line division, or will you see an opportunity for closure, for moving forward and making a new beginning? What symbol will you use to replace the one Bin Laden represented?

  1. Jeremiah says:

    Thanks for writing this piece. I definitely fall into the shocked/disgusted category. I appreciate your stance on this issue. I feel we as Americans missed a perfect opportunity to show the rest of the world we aren’t what they assume we are. Imagine the global shift in thought pertaining to Americans if instead of broadcasts of people celebrating and shouting USA USA USA, we had all taken the news with solemn faces. Understanding that yes an evil man has fallen, good triumphed over evil, but in the meantime many lives were lost Americans and otherwise. It’s been a long road to this moment and I can’t help but feel like we blew it. Thanks for letting me add my two cents and again for writing this piece.

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