I was driving to Charleston last night when a friend texted the news. The network on my phone was suspiciously not loading CNN. I was about an hour from any major city and I was panning the Amplitude Modulation frequency in a panic for detail. I would get 30 seconds of information that would rapidly deteriorate into static. All the while, I was dictating, into my phone, snippets of ideas for a song I might do when I got in after 11:00 pm. President Obama began his address sometime around 11:20, I suppose. About the time I crossed the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. I parked outside of the place where I stay to hear him finish. I knew what I wanted to say in today’s song but wrote for about 45 minutes before deciding to put it down. I wanted it to be published for you first thing. It wasn’t and I’m sorry.
I need to be careful. Last night was important. It is of great strategic and psychological value in the war against enemies that would destroy us. And, it is a type of partial closure for victims of 9/11 and this country. It is also an impressively high tactical accomplishment.
So, today’s song is not a take. Or an angle. Or contrarianism. I’ve held these views since the day we knew him to be accountable for the attack. And, I feel the same to this day.
It is simply not an occasion to delight. It is a sick day that he has forced us to kill him, as sick as all the carnage before it. Everything associated with the war on terrorism is something to mourn not celebrate.
Many would say, including the President himself, that the event somehow reaffirms the greatness of our country. I am thankful for the men and women who fight on my behalf. The SEALs that apparently accomplished the attack put their lives in harms way for something valiant. Our country is great for many reasons. But, I have difficulty boasting the fact that it took two wars, ten years (really twenty), and all the human and military resources at the disposal of the most powerful nation on earth to assassinate a single man. In the same way, I wouldn’t pat myself on the back for beating my 7 year old in basketball, especially if it took me 20 tries.
There is a significant range of appropriate responses to this, including pride and exuberance in some measure. But, for me, personally, it stops shy of chanting. That’s for soccer and barbarians. Let us be above the images that we scorn of our enemies who dance around the bodies and wreckage of our boys.
Thankful and dignified in the same moment. Happy that we may be safer; sadder that it has to be so.
And, by the way, you’re welcome for the heads up that you were given here first.
Performed by ipoet. Music produced by Gudo.
Today’s song blog here:Something to Celebrate