Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Come On, Get Happy

In my last blog I took my own pessimism and struggle with positive thoughts and went completely over-the-top with it for some cheap laughs, because, that’s what I do. But two things happened in the last few days that made me look at positive moments and joy. They made me wonder why we, as human beings, can’t let each other be happy for very long before tearing it all down again.

The first event was the royal wedding of William and Kate. I didn’t have a horse in the race. Whether they got married or not made no difference to me. My only problem was that news of it was EVERYWHERE. Every TV channel, every web site, newspaper, magazine, co-workers, etc. I wanted it to be over so I could stop hearing about it. After the wedding I was talking to my sister about it and she said something that changed my perspective.

I was discussing a comedian that I follow on Facebook and the comments he posted throughout the entire wedding trashing it, the guests, the royal family and the fact that so many were celebrating a marriage between two people they will never meet. My sister basically said that with all the anger, rage, hatred and garbage we let into our lives every day through the news and movies and TV shows, what is so wrong with wanting to watch two people get married that genuinely seem to love each other? What’s wrong with letting the blue birds sing for awhile instead of screaming at them to shut the hell up? Her attitude changed my outlook. And let’s face it, the British can teach you the meaning of the words tradition and pageantry.

The second incident is what the world is talking about: the death of Osama bin Laden. I was watching a baseball game Sunday night when they broke in with the news. My initial reaction was to take a second to remember who he was. It’s been ten years and honestly I had long ago figured we were never going to get him so I kind of forgot about him. I turned to the news, wanting details. Later in the morning I heard on the radio that kids on college campuses were partying like their school had just won a national championship in football. Crowds had gathered at ground zero and the White House, celebrating with dancing and singing as if it were New Year’s Eve. On Monday I read an opinion piece on the Huffington Post where the author castigated everyone in the United States, stating that we haven’t won anything and we shouldn’t be celebrating a person’s death.

First, I think we all know nothing has been “won”. We cut off the head of the snake but it’s already given birth to thousands of children who still want to harm the United States. I don’t believe anyone thinks the suicide bombers will suddenly stop because Bin Laden is dead. Second, his comment about celebrating a death was an interesting one. I’ll admit it gave me pause when I first saw people partying because of Bin Laden’s death. I wondered to myself, is this the appropriate response? But then I thought back to September 11, 2001. I remembered the images of the innocent people jumping from the 103rd floor of the towers because it was either that or burn up in the fire. There was no door number 3 for them where they got to keep living. Bin Laden was responsible for the horrible deaths of those people and now the son of a bitch got what was coming to him. Dancing in the street wouldn’t be my way of “celebrating” but I won’t begrudge someone who feels the need.

The author of the article has a right to his opinions but I question why he had to write the piece so soon and why it had to have such an imperious tone as if we’re in kindergarten? Maybe the celebrations were inappropriate but it took a decade-long manhunt to bring Osama Bin laden to justice so why can’t we be happy about it for a little while? Did the bandage have to be ripped away before the medicine even had a chance to take effect?

In the grand scheme of things William and Kate getting married has little meaning and the killing of Bin Laden won’t stop terrorism, but theses events and many people’s reactions to them still beg the question:

Why can’t we allow each other to be happy?

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