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Osama Bin Laden is dead! Long live America!
The masterful execution of the taking out of Osama Bin Laden by American forces under the leadership of the Obama Administration has helped our country recover some of that feeling of unity we had following 9/11. Not that we should thank Osama or anything but the guy did (and does) remind us that there is a real difference between an evil ideology and mere political disagreement.
True, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans differ on how they approach issues. Democrats tend to believe the government is the best organizing tool for marshaling our shared resources for the good of all. Republicans and Libertarians, while not anarchists, see government as often getting in the way of people helping themselves and each other. Of course, that all flips on the issue of abortion/ fetuscide where Democrats and Libertarians line up together in favor of keeping government out of people’s lives and conservative Republicans view government as a defender of what they see as a defenseless human being.
Remove all the hyperbole (and nuts) from both sides and, in general, liberals and conservatives are just ordinary people bringing their honest perspectives to the problems at hand. We all think our approaches are best and fairest for everyone. In real life liberals and conservatives get along all the time –working together, living together and even loving each other.
It’s only in the freaky cable news/punditry universe that our differences in approaches are magnified to seem like cataclysmic battles between good and evil. Most of us realize that, in the end, neither liberals nor conservative are completely wrong or completely right. The best answers to our problems are likely to come from honestly listening to each other and working toward solutions that balance all of our legitimate concerns and perspectives.
The ideology of al Qaeda and its ilk, on the other hand, defames Islam and faith in general. It is about power and the gaining of power through stirring up of hatred and through cold-blooded murder. Those who would rule by terror are our real enemies — not Democrats or Republicans, not Barak Obama or George W. Bush. We really need to remember that the next time our rhetoric towards one another gets a bit overheated.
For now, let’s enjoy this moment of national unity and celebration from Jon Stewart, Stephen Cobert, Rudy Giuliani and Sean Hannity (who actually praised President Obama). Now, if only Lawrence O’Donnell would take a breath and lighten up on the politics and anger for even a day. There’s plenty of time to criticize others, Lawrence. How about today we just take a deep breath and appreciate that this is a day for letting go of past hostilities and being thankful that we’re all Americans?
BTW, on the subject of discerning the difference between mere disagreement and evil, Russell Simmons is showing us how that’s done with his blog on Donald Trump. He disagrees with the Donald about most everything but he refrains from hurling the “racist” charge, saying “as a friend I’m disappointed by a lot of what Donald has said over the past few weeks. His statements have echoed some of the lowest notes in American politics. But as a Democrat, I don’t feel hurt by what he says. That’s because every day he’s helping Obama secure a second term in office.”
He continues “And even though it might not have been his intention, Donald is also giving a voice to a mentality, usually only discussed privately, that needs to be flushed out and confronted. In an increasingly diverse and tolerant America we are proving that this mentality won’t fly. However one thing I can tell you, as a person who knows him better than most in this discussion, you can say a lot of things about Trump, but he absolutely is not a racist.”
Russell Simmons is a class act.
Also, BTW, with regard to hitting the reset button, this blog is about to undergo a name change — from Catholics, Media & Culture to Faith, Media & Culture — to better represent the broadness of the topics covered. I’m still a Catholic but the blog is aimed a wider audience than just Catholics.
Thanks for reading — including those who are most vocal in disagreeing with me. That would be you, nmns. Every now and then you make a good point.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11