I'm tired of being told how to act, how to behave.
When I say "I", I mean "we". Confused yet?
I'm talking about the spontaneous displays of celebration that popped up across the country on Sunday night in the wake of the news of the death of master terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden's death was the first good news that the United States has had, collectively, in my lifetime. I wasn't around for V-J Day or V-E Day, which marked the end of WWII.
What else that has occurred over the past five decades has been such cause for elation?
Man on the moon in 1969? Perhaps, but we were more enthralled than we were ecstatic.
The hostages being released from Iran in 1981? That happiness was muted by the fact that we were a little red-faced for having had our citizens in the clutches of the Ayatollah Khomeini for as long as he had them. That was more relief than giddiness.
The election of President Obama, the first African-American president, had them dancing in the streets, but that was also very partisan in nature.
I think this country needs something to feel good about, don't you?
I thought it was terrific, the outpouring of patriotism and pride I saw break out. The crowd at the Mets-Phillies baseball game broke into a chant of "USA! USA!"
Yet there were some wringing their hands, both here and abroad, worried about what the rest of the world would think as images of Americans celebrating were beamed across the globe.
That's where I get tired.
Far be it from us to be happy, huh?
Whether we celebrate or not, the U.S.'s taking out of Bin Laden is going to be reacted to, by those who would react adversely, the way they're going to react. We can't help that.
So in the words of Rhett Butler, "Frankly, I don't give a damn."
We deserve to celebrate something, collectively, as one nation. It's been a long time coming.
Granted, the killing of OBL doesn't necessarily make us safer. Doesn't necessarily mean we can all take a deep breath and exhale. There are still bad guys out there who want to do Americans harm, whether it be on our soil or elsewhere.
I get all that.
But you can't tell me that the fulfillment of justice, if only for the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11, isn't enough to twist and shout spontaneously on our streets and wherever else we damn well please.
I'm especially perturbed at those here at home---I've heard them on the radio, seen them on TV---who have said that they found the celebrations to be on the distasteful side.
I don't know what they were looking at. All I saw were people---many of them younger---waving U.S. flags, hooting and hollering, having themselves a grand old (and peaceful) time.
The killing of a man who has more American blood on his hands than any other in recent history, ought to be celebrated. You think we were sad, solemn and reflective the day Hitler died? Ask your parents and grandparents about that one.
Then again, I suspect those who winced at the giddiness don't have any loved ones who were lost on 9/11.
I don't, either, thank goodness, but I certainly see why there is joy in the streets. And I can understand why those whose lives weren't directly affected by 9/11 would still feel an overwhelming sense of pride and patriotism.
If this isn't the event that forces us to take off our Democrat/Republican/Tea Party masks, at least briefly, then I don't know what will do it.
We ought to be able to cut loose a little bit and not have fellow Americans frown on us.
If this isn't the time, then when is?
I know---when the troops come home.
Now THERE'S something to boogie to!