Happy Americans--not happy liberals or happy conservatives

CONSERVATIVE SYCHOPHANT:  You liberals have no business giving Obama credit for killing Osama bin Ladin.  If you had your way, we would have quit the War on Terror years ago.

LIBERAL APOLOGIST:  Obama finished what Bush and the conservatives couldn’t.  You all had your chance to get him, and you blew it.  Get on your knees and kiss Obama’s butt, once and for all. 

CON:  We all know liberals hate America and were rooting for bin Laden all along.  You bitched and whined for eight years, and now you’re suddenly on the bandwagon.  Who do you think you are? 

LIB:  And we all know you’re going to say Obama didn’t really get bin Laden, that this is all a lie, a hoax, a counterfeit.  Are you going to demand to see bin Laden’s birth certificate as well? 

CON:  Osama, Obama, you know they’re the same kind of cat.  You know Barack Hussein Obama is hiding something, admit it. 

LIB:  The only thing we’ll admit to is that we live in a country where too many people who just happen to be right-wingers will stretch themselves into any shape necessary to undermine a president who was voted in with a majority. 

President Obama hadn’t even stepped into the East Room at the White House to deliver his statement that American forces successfully killed Osama bin Laden.  The political partisans were already on Facebook, delivering their shots at one another, trying to score points over one another.  Rigor mortis hasn’t even set in on the body of the leader of Al-Qaeda, and already the hacks are trying to make this event just another round in the never-ending nitpicking duel that defines American politics. 

Watching CNN tonight (as I often due when there’s news to be had), I witnessed the crowd gathering at the White House fence, slowly growing in size, becoming more and more exuberant, singing The Star Spangled Banner, chanting USA! USA! USA! and waving placards and flags for all to see.  No one was wearing shirts that said BUSH IS A MORON or GO BACK TO KENYA, OBAMA.  There were no fights to be broken up, no zealots saying the most caustic things, no adolescent bickering, just an impromptu party to celebrate a long-awaited event, an event a lot of us thought wouldn’t come.  After years of hunting for bin Laden, even the most patriotic and stubborn among us had to wonder if he’d ever be caught, if he’d be able to grow old and die of natural causes.  This is an event all Americans can and should rejoice, and as I watch that crowd gather, I’m not thinking they’re all conservatives who feel exonerated for supporting the War on Terror, or they’re all liberals who believe this will be a major step toward Obama’s re-election next year; they’re all Americans, with a capital A. 

It’s come to cliché status, how major events are supposed to inspire us to drop our political differences and embrace one another as brothers and fellow citizens, Americans across the board, we are all in this together.  Perhaps it was that way in the days following 9/11, when we were all shocked to the bone to turn on CNN and watch the World Trade Center burning, both towers no less.  We all wanted to get the bastards who did this, and we all were rooting for our government, the Bush administration, Republicans and Democrats alike, to pursue the villains to their deaths, hopefully sooner than later, but nonetheless, with dogged relentlessness and unbridled passion.  Truly, that was probably the last time this country has felt such togetherness, the last time partisans might have dropped their ideologies for just a day or two and reflected that what we have inAmericais special and rare, and it deserves protection.  What have we seen in the nearly ten years since?  We watched conservatives turn cold and bitter toward liberals, and we’ve seen liberals nitpick every single freaking thing the Bush administration did.  We watched other major crises hit our country—blackouts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, economic catastrophes—and in each case, instead of camaraderie and unity, we’ve been at each other’s throats.  Partisans defend their president and ridicule critics, and hacks see the president as an enemy of the state. 

This event, however, must be different.  FOX News must stop the perpetual assault on Obama and give him a modicum of credit.  He was the one who called on his national security team to gather information on bin Laden, and for the six weeks leading up to today, there were no leaks to the press, there was no political posturing, just the gathering of information and the forming of a solid plan that was practiced in the hope of eliminating the terrorist without collateral damage.  As such, no Americans were killed in the firefight, and our soldiers were able to take bin Laden’s body into custody and confirm his identity.  For those who questioned Obama’s leadership, he stepped up to the plate when the opportunity arose, and without blinking or tipping his hand, his team came through. 

CON:  No way.  All the credit should go to our men and women in uniform.  The soldiers that risked their lives deserve all the gratitude, not the guy sitting comfortably and thousands of miles away from the fight. 

LIB:  That’s what we said for eight years, when Bush was sending soldiers to fight and die in two quagmire wars.  If you’re going to give Bush credit for anything, you’d better give Obama credit for this, or you’re all just a bunch of hypocrites. 

Truly, there will always be a set of Americans who will take to their graves the belief that Obama is not an American citizen, that he was born in Kenya, that he is a communist / terrorist sympathizer who hates the United States, and no matter what birth certificates are presented, no matter what bold achievements are gained, this will stick in their craw forever.  No, liberals, this is not racism, this is just old-fashioned pigheadedness and cognitive dissonance.  It’s not something to get irritated over, but truly, it’s something to admire and chuckle over, how rational people, even with facts pushed to their noses, will negate them for political convenience.  It is simply easier for some people to cling to their pernicious beliefs, no matter how obsolete they’ve become, than admit that, in the face of undeniable evidence, they were wrong. 

Likewise, there will always be a set of American who will believe with their dying breath that George W. Bush was the worst president in American history, that he was the poster boy for nepotism, the ugly frat boy who drunkenly stumbled forward, the legacy that got military preference and into the Ivy League because his father was a Congressman and Senator.  Bush was neither a pawn of corporate interests, nor was he the sinister ringleader of the NeoCons.  Whatever he faced, it came from the previous three administrations and snowballed into something large and fast and aiming right for him.  If there’s anything you can blame him for, it’s for allowing political discord to become so caustic, so fanatical and frenetic, that there’s no longer reason in the conversation; yes, this is something he could have addressed, just as previous presidents had when they sensed the mood of the republic was waning and needing of a word from the top. 

That’s the mood of the republic tonight, so used to infighting and smarmy one-liners that, when a moment like the death of Osama bin Laden arises, people are unable to drop their ideologies for a nanosecond and embrace one another in joy.  It’s borderline instinct at this point, our second nature to take a moment of pride and jubilance and turn it into just another political football to kick around, thus dummying it down to the level of gays in the military, global warming, animal cruelty, or any other of a couple dozen issues partisans use as wedges to drive sides apart.  This is an event that should transcend party politics.  

LIB:  That’s right.  FOX News needs to lay off of Obama for once and let him enjoy this moment in the sun. 

CON:   Obama doesn’t deserve a second of a break.  Bush had to deal with liberal whining for eight years.  You say he wasn’t legitimately elected, so we’ll say Obama isn’t a legitimate citizen.  What’s the difference? 

I’ve almost given up on national politics because of this back-and-forth, this childish bickering.  Truly, listening to conservatives and liberals argue is like listening to two bad kids who are trying to make the other look even worse and thus, in some form of pretzel logic, would make him the GOOD kid.  It’s inane and tired and so 2004.  While many would say American politics has always been raucous, coarse, and downright dirty at times, I would say it’s never been so adolescent, so persistently catty. 

This should be the one time that happens every decade or so, when the petty and the catty among us simply shut the fuck up and enjoy the moment. 

CON:  Who are you calling petty, liberal?  You and your political correctness have been nothing but petty for decades, sanitizing culture so that no one can so much as think without getting your permission. 

LIB:  Hey, don’t lump us in with those right-wing nutjobs.  We’re not perfect, but we didn’t completely sell ourselves out to corporate tyranny like THEY did. 

CON:  And you should thank God for corporations.  There is no aspect of your life that isn’t touched by a corporation.  You get cheap food, reasonable gas prices, goods from around the world, all accessible and all affordable, thanks to corporations. 

LIB:  And the price we pay for all that convenience is watered-down jobs, outsourcing, closing of plants, the rape of the environment, and CEO’s making millions while workers live on subsistence. 

CON:  Typical Marxist, turning everything into class warfare.  Didn’t the collapse of theSoviet Unionteach you socialism was an utter failure? 

LIB:   Giving a damn about working people—which is most ofAmerica—isn’t class warfare.  Stop crying about having to pay taxes and start pitching in to rebuild America. 

There’s always something to fight about when it comes to American politics.  Can we just leave this one event alone?  Just this once?