I had something else planned for this space today, something a lot more funnier, but a very bad man met his end a few hours ago. And while I don't celebrate the death of anyone, I also don't need a whole chunk of time to analyze or reminisce.
When Twitter blew up with the news that Usama Bin Laden had died, then been killed, then been killed by American forces, then in a ground battle, and then when it was revealed that it was a proactive strike that had been in the works for months, a couple of things became evident.
One is ... just badass, military people, brav-freaking-o. Two is that we can't, and therefore won't, go back.
But we've got to move forward.
When the rumors became confirmations, I didn't have that smug sense of vindication that I thought I'd have when I was so angry in the days and weeks that followed 9/11. Like everyone else, I imagined we'd go into wherever we needed to go, get the job done, and that would be the end of it.
As this war rages on year after year, regardless of who is in charge and where the front is and what we're poking at in line at the airport, I find that I, again pretty much like everyone else, just want it to be over.
But for it to be over, we have to clearly define, then take out, the enemy.
If the line in the sand was "with us or against us" it should have been "Look, nearly everyone is with us. Seriously, like 99.99% of us. We're cool. The rest of you? Here we come."
We lost focus.
Then we need to continue to get serious about taking action against those who mean us harm and, here's the important bit, have shown no sign that they will consider anything aside from our destruction, especially if fanning those flames is a means to their own power.
I'm all for coexistence, but there are those who don't want to coexist and never will, and attempting to coexist with them is foolish and dangerous.
Finally, we also have to understand that it's up to all of us to bring it all back together. Hopefully, our politicians and leaders will take a cue and remember what it was like on 9/12, how we all stood together, how we all pitched in a little harder, and how we forgot about whatever trivial issue was on the plate on 9/10.
The end game is twofold. It's victory and peace.
I hope we don't spend too much time debating what Bin Laden's death means and/or who is taking credit and/or who should be. What I hope is that this gives us -- and when I say us I mean Muslim, Christian, Jewish, American, Russian, French, Republican, Democrat, Independent -- everyone who stands for something more than themselves -- the renewed drive to wipe out as much evil as we can from this fractured world.
And then I hope we go ahead and start repairing it.
In the end, this is like an awesome second chance to learn from our mistakes and erase a currently sketchy chalkboard.
It's a free pass, world. Don't eff it up.
Joe Procopio trades in pop culture and tech culture, allowing him to poke fun at so many things. He's written for a number of online and offline publications from the late, lamented Smug to the fancy-pants Chicago Tribune and also for television. He's a novelist, a shredder, a joker, and a family man. Scoff at joeprocopio.com or follow on Twitter @jproco.
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5.2.11 @ 12:49a
5.2.11 @ 1:03a
Well said, Joe.
5.2.11 @ 1:09a
Bravo. Beautifully put.
5.2.11 @ 7:59a
Very well put, Joe. I'd like to add that one step in wiping out evil is to always treat our good neighbors with kindness, respect, and civility. Those values do spread when modeled by many people.
5.2.11 @ 8:56a
Well said. Thank you.
5.2.11 @ 10:01a
Indeed. End it, redirect attention back here, fix stuff.
5.2.11 @ 10:18a
5.2.11 @ 12:21p
Yes yes yes. Credit is not the question. The question is, where do we go from here? Can we make it somewhere better? I'd like to think we can.