Monday, May 2, 2011

Numbness to News...

I wasn't going to post this because this isn't a political blog, but after tonight's Chuck, whose commentary on just how far the government will go to cover up the monsters they have ultimately created was especially timely, I figured I could get away with it. There is a time and place for everything, and this isn't one I want to use to preach what politician or proposition I think you should vote on in the next election. But when I first started this blog back in late 2007, I wanted it to be the place where I could express my musings on all things pop culture. And sometimes that does include politics.

**Fair warning: what I am about to print is not my usual, light-hearted TV ramblings. It is not something you may agree with or like or even want to read. And that's okay: you don't have to. But I started this blog to work through thoughts, and that is what I'm doing here, now.

I sat and watched the live, breaking news reports last night that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I watched because I had no choice: all of the major networks had replaced their primetime programming with a special report in order to air the President's address. If I wanted minute-by-minute coverage I would have put on CNN, but I understand the networks' need to share such momentous news and have the chance to put their own touch of commentary on it. Hell, it's why I'll report a story even after half a dozen (albeit entertainment) news outlets already have.

I sat and watched, but I didn't feel what everyone in the world, or at least everyone on Twitter, seemed to want me to feel. It's no secret that I was in the World Trade Center when the first plane hit on September 11th, almost ten years ago. It's no secret that though I didn't lose anyone physically from my life that day, I feel like I lost a little part of myself. I don't believe situations can change who we truly are, but I believe they can greatly affect the way we choose to share parts of ourselves, the way we can even find parts of ourselves in ourselves. So that being said, I should be happy-- or if not happy, at least relieved today. But I'm not.

It's not that I disagree with the way the take down was handled. Not at all. Sure, it would have been "safer" for our country to send in an air raid or bombs of some sort rather than an on-foot mission (these are probably not technical terms; I know TV, not war time tactics), and sure, it's still a death for death. I don't believe two wrongs make a right, and I don't believe we should condone murder of any kind, let alone justifying it by pointing to that person's own crimes. In our own justice system, though, I would still vote for the death penalty over ultimately paying to keep someone who will never be "rehabilitated" or "redeemed" alive on innocent taxpayers' dimes.

It's not that it took so damn long to happen. I know a lot of strategies and planning have to go into a mission like this in order to pull it off successfully and with as few casualties as possible. I know there are a lot more of them than I could even imagine. This isn't an episode of a show like Chuck where the information seems to come in immediate waves and even the biggest, baddest threat is no match for the weekly heroes. In fact, I'm kind of glad it happened when it did because I believe Barack Obama focused the troops in a way that could never have happened half a dozen years ago.

It's not that I'm overtly desensitized from television or film or even what I witnessed on that day almost ten years ago. In fact, as I've gotten older, I've become more emotionally affected by images I see on-screen, even when they're scripted, and even when they're replayed so many times I feel like they're scripted.

It's not even that I'm afraid there will be retaliation. For every member of Al Qaeda, there is a regular ole citizen who has not agreed with Bin Laden-- who has actually been terrified and tortured because of him.

No, what makes me somewhat numb is the way I watched Americans react. The excitement, the bravado, the taking credit where credit isn't entirely due made me a bit nauseous. I mean, New York City had a lot at stake here, but the cops driving through the streets honking and flashing their lights? That's more than a bit much. In fact, it's a bit like how I imagine the members of Al Qaeda celebrated on 9/11. And that is not a behavior towards which to strive.

On 9/11, the country united. Maybe it was out of fear or panic or sheer necessity, but it happened. People bonded over the unfortunate, untimely deaths. And now it appears that is happening again. I wouldn't be surprised if American flag tee-shirt stands popped up on the corners of major city intersections and that stupid "God Bless The USA" song was covered by whatever up and coming tween pop star is looking to be the next Miley or Bieber. It's a true shame that the only time we can unite as a country is over a tragedy.


Jenna said...

I have to agree with you. Just getting to this now but I felt the same way- unaffected almost- more affected by the reaction here in the USA. I honestly wondered why I wasn't joining in with the 'celebration.' I just didn't feel it.

Side note: I had no idea you were in the WTC when the first plane hit. Omg Danielle.

YOUR Father said...

Good for you. I felt the same way. I guess we do think alike--sometimes. RT - Brooklyn, NY