There is a part of me that wishes I could get more excited about the news of the death of Osama bin Laden. Hey, there's a part of me that hopes he is in the midst of his eternal reward, discovering that the milk has soured, the honey has crusted over, and the seventy-two virgins look and act like either Joan Rivers or Roseanne at their worst.
I can't, though.
I might be able to get more excited if I thought that bin Laden's death would bring back the thousands killed in al-Qaeda terrorist actions, be they in Spain, Kenya, Tanzania, on the USS Cole, in Pennsylvania, D.C. or New York (either time). It won't, however.
I might be able to get more excited if I thought that bin Laden's death would undo the last ten years of American history. If the thousands of U.S. troops lost in Afghanistan or Iraq were returned to their families, I could get thoroughly excited. That won't happen either. If the raging hate-mongering and shrill paranoia that increasingly characterizes the political discourse in this country were erased I'd be delirious with joy. I can dream, but it seems very unlikely.
I can't make myself sorry to see this thing gone. I'm not that good.
I find myself wondering, trying to remember; were people celebrating this strongly when the last terrorist to end scores of American lives in an attack on American soil died? I don't remember quite such celebrations when Timothy McVeigh was executed, but that's been many years and my memory could be fuzzy.
I hope no one is so naive as to think there won't be reprisals. No, I don't see al-Qaida actually managing to get to the current or former President, or anything so dramatic. The revenge will be taken on people without power, as these things usually go. We may never know their names.
Far smarter people than I have weighed in on the subject in many places, most of which anybody who ever ends up here has probably already read. I certainly have nothing profound or original to add. I don't know how to feel. I only know that I don't see a lot changing.