Star-Spangled Jingoism

Kate Flannery's picture

Posted by Ken Carman for LTS readers

Written by Kate Flannery

It’s somewhat disturbing to me that so many liberals and progressives that I normally see eye-to-eye with, today I am at cross-thoughts with. Instead of a sober and multi-faceted reaction to the recent killing of bin Laden, people are whoopin’ it up in jubilation. “We won!” and “Obama rocks!” – not to be confused with Katie Couric’s statement after the Iraq invasion of – “Navy Seals rock!”

When I woke up this morning and saw the news, at first I had more of a mundane reaction. “Yes…he’s dead…and on it goes…” I understood that it was big news, and that people would be talking about it all day, but I must admit I was unprepared for what I saw around the web (and I don’t dare turn on the TV, or I’m likely to lose my lunch). Raucous celebrations in New York City, outside the White House and elsewhere. Facebook postings of a fiendishly delighted nature. Lots of blogs and columns and editorials celebrating this “momentous” occasion. That’s when my stomach started twisting.

It’s been a long ten years since we were attacked and subsequently invaded Afghanistan and continue to endlessly work our way through the Middle East. But the initial events and the never-ending aftermath from it all are not a simple story of bad guy-good guy, crime and retaliation. Neither should the reaction to any of it be. Perhaps if this killing had taken place nine or ten years ago, I could understand or even appreciate some of the reaction. But now…not so much. Some of what I’m seeing and hearing today is hypocrisy at its finest – unthinking jingoism at its height – mass-produced patriotism and a reflexive, acquiescent public – and as usual, it saddens and sickens me and puts me outside the gate of common thought.

I take what small dose of comfort I can, from the few who have written or expressed more complex reasoning and less knee-jerk thoughts and reactions. I take additional solace in knowing that I would be in good company with other like-minded individuals if they were still alive, such as:
John Lennon
Martin Luther King Jr.
George Carlin
Kurt Vonnegut

For those that are high-fivin’ and fist-thrusting and flag-waving over the recent events, they too have company to keep:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Donald Rumsfeld
Karl Rove

Perhaps a little more grace, a bit more dignity and a trifle less arrogance should be the rule of the day. If only…