Bin Laden’s Dead, Let’s Party

MarcotteAmanda Marcotte makes an argument for not scolding the celebrations, in Slate's Double X:

understand the urge to silence and shame people for being ecstatic that we finally got Bin Laden. The fear that jubilation could turn into nationalism and then to bloodlust has real world evidence to back it up. But I would argue that liberals do ourselves no favors by shushing and shaming people's joy. There's another option that is both more humanistic and more productive in the long run: grappling with this celebratory mood and channeling it toward policy goals such as shutting down Gitmo and getting out of Afghanistan.

One reason the war on terror has dragged on and on with no end in sight is that Americans have been deprived of a victory, and politicians both Republican and Democrat are afraid of being seen as losers who backed out of a fight without obtaining that victory. Well, now we have it. And if you doubt that, we have the crowds of celebrants in the street to back it up. That is, after all, what victory looks like in the American imagination. We think of the end of WWII and we don't think about the bomb or Hitler in a bunker. We immediately think of a sailor kissing a strange woman on the street. We think of joy. Joy provides emotional closure, which we never got after 9/11 and the distraction in Iraq. Maybe this joy at Osama Bin Laden's death can provide that for us. And maybe then we can finally have politicians say that we won, and so we can finally shut down the illegal prisons, the ongoing war, and maybe even the ridiculous security theater at airports. But if we scold and silence the joy away, we'll never get a chance to find out.