I Don’t Get People

Fair Warning: These are my thoughts and, where applicable, opinions. I’m not interested in fighting with people, which is why I’m writing this instead of fighting with them. Also, my train of thought might derail.

So Osama bin Laden is dead and we’ve known this now for, as I start this, about two hours.

Forget that the Phillies are, at 12:25 a.m., in the bottom of the 13th inning.

Whereas we as a country should be happy that the terroristic “mastermind” behind 9/11 has ceased to be and it was on America’s watch, we instead find ourselves divided by political parties. And I really can’t understand this, although I guess it isn’t altogether surprising. I applaud the Obama administration for gathering the intelligence and using it in a way that allowed the troops on the ground to effectively execute the command. I’d applaud any administration that did that.

But in the end, it goes beyond the Obama administration. Osama bin Laden is dead because of America. Not because of the sole actions of Democrats or Republicans.

But when I saw people saying that they were so grateful to George W. Bush for the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead, I was confused and more than a little disturbed. For one thing, he wasn’t responsible for this, but more importantly… why did you have to go and make it political?

Is your world view seriously so limited that you can’t [totally] accept this giant step forward for America because it wasn’t explicitly attached to your political party? Aren’t we all Americans, regardless of which party is in power? Do we not all believe in human dignity?

As far as I’m concerned, George W. Bush was a terrible president. That’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it. Lots of facts and figures agree, and there were times when his approval rating was in the 30th percentile. Furthermore, I’m disturbed by people who appear to have only voted for him because he represents a country lifestyle and the down-home folk (I’m equally as disturbed by people who support Sarah Palin because “she really understands what it’s like to just be a real family-oriented American.” I’ll avoid pointing out that she lives on Mars. Oops. I just did). I’m concerned about these people because those seem like terribly uninformed reasons to vote. Also, they seem awfully hypocritical.

Are they not the same people who criticized Bill Clinton (who gave us a superior employment rate and a budget surplus) and wanted him impeached because of his personal life? But their ability to identify with Bush because of his “regular Joe” personal life is what they like about him. I don’t get it. Putting your family through hell with your alcoholism is no better than cheating on your wife.

In that same vein of examples, it also makes no sense to me why these same people use God vs. Godless for their political decisions. (Like when people say things such as, “Well it’s okay because Bush found God.”)

I don’t care to go into detail about my religious journey, except to say that politics drove me away from it for a long time. Suffice it to say that I now have a healthy relationship with the church that I attend each week. That being said, I don’t think religion has any place in politics and it makes me angry when people use God as their justification for anything political. That sends the message that God loves me and my people, but not you because you disagree with us.

(According to every religious official and version of the Bible that I encountered growing up in three different denominations, God loves everyone.

When I was old enough to realize that one of those denominations meant “everyone except…” I immediately denounced it. My God loves everyone.)

12:47 a.m., bottom of the 14th, Mets are up by one. Phils’ bottom 3rd due up. Damn.

I’m a registered Democrat. I voted for Obama. That being said, I don’t love Obama. I don’t blindly follow politicians and think that they shit gold. I don’t blindly agree with everything anyone does. This is largely due to the fact that I was born with a brain. Also, these are not quite Orwellian times. And then there’s the fact that I’m not a sheep.

There are issues, most things dealing with education, for example, that cause me many unfavorable feelings toward Obama. He’s just as bad as Bush when it comes to destroying public education, and for me personally, that’s a huge voting issue. I also think that people can’t expect a huge mess to be cleaned up in just a few years, even if they want to deny the source of that mess. There are a lot of things that the public doesn’t see and those things can prevent people from doing what they said they would do. In any case, I have fallen into a sense of apathy and I’m really just waiting for something to happen to make me care again.

12:53 a.m.: The Phillies lost by one in the bottom of the 14th. Double damn.

Still, even though I’m not a crazy Obama fanatic (and that’s fine, because I never want to be a crazy anyone-fanatic who believes everything I’m told — but only when “my people” are saying it to me because “my people” would never lie because everything, everything they do is great!) — even though I’m not an Obama fanatic, I still acknowledge that the intelligence leading to bin Laden’s death came in under his administration.

The same way I acknowledged that Saddam Hussein was captured under the Bush administration.

And in the end, weren’t they good things for “all people who believe in peace & human dignity?”

People need a reason to argue because people need a reason to never be happy (and I totally own my spot among them because it’s something that we all do).

I saw people complaining about how many times Obama used the word “I” in his speech. I wasn’t really counting them. I heard him say that he gave the command, and I heard him say that a brave troop of American soldiers were the ones who executed it. If he did overuse it, I’ll give them that one. But I’ll also give him the fact that it was nearing midnight on the day that all of this had taken place and that he came out to speak much later (an hour, was it?) than he was originally supposed to. Obama has been lauded (and mocked) for his oratory skills, and, at least in my opinion, he wasn’t at the top of his game tonight. If I were in his position, I’m not sure I’d be, either.

In the end, he is the Commander in Chief. He did give the command. Some of those “I’s” were certainly warranted. But again, he also gave credit where credit was due to the others who were involved – the “countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals” and the “men who carried out this operation,” whom he went on to praise for professionalism and patriotism, among other things. He never said that he was the only one working on this or that he was the one who did it. “Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.” The way I heard it, he called this a win for America.

I saw someone write that his speech was very controlled and PC, so he must not be excited. What was he supposed to do? Jump up and down? There’s been a lot going on lately and the President is human too. Maybe they hadn’t noticed that instead of focusing on issues that actually affect our country, he was tied up in a ridiculous waste of resources to prove he is a natural born citizen. Then there was a series of enormously destructive tornados that killed hundreds of people. He’s been touring those areas. There are many other things we certainly don’t know about. Now we know that he’s been, for the last week, reviewing intelligence and working with others to move in on bin Laden. And today we got him.

So, at least from a humanist point of view, you could understand if he’s feeling run down and not in top form.

If you’re going to use that as a point of unnecessary criticism, then please acknowledge that when we captured Saddam Hussein, Bush spoke the following day. He didn’t sound any more charasmatic than Obama did tonight.

We’ve eliminated a terrorist who was directly linked to the deadliest attack on American soil, and that’s a huge deal. But why stoop to their levels? We’re supposed to be a civilized people, yet I get the impression that some people, if they could, would run through town with heads on sticks (or at least put a boot in someone’s ass since that’s apparently the American way) to show how savage we can be.

‘Cause we’re ‘merica, dammit. 

And that mentality is why people hate us.

Inevitably, someone has already come the decision that I hate America, and they’re preparing to leave me a comment that says something like, “If you don’t love it, leave it! Because these stripes don’t run!”

I never said I hate America. I feel very lucky to live here. But I also don’t think that being America makes us empirically above everyone else. I don’t agree with everything we do. I would never be able to live with myself if I did. I have the freedom to think for myself, so why would I not want to exercise that?

I’m tired of Republicans who blindly follow all Republican politicians, unequivocally hate everything Democrats do just because Democrats are doing it, and avoid seeking compromise and common ground by pointing fingers.

I’m tired of Democrats who blindly follow all Democratic politicians, unequivocally hate everything Republicans do just because Republicans are doing it, and avoid seeking compromise and common ground by pointing fingers.

And as I’ve used this post as a means to look at both sides (even if superficially), I continue to think that it’s all the same. Give credit where credit is due, but more than that, don’t refuse to acknowledge that this is a big deal for everyone, regardless of affiliation. United we stand and divided we fall and such.

In the end, we are all the same.

The elusive Osama bin Laden was found and killed, and that’s all that really matters.


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