We turned off the television as soon as the president finished his address last night. The news was so significant, and yet so nuanced, that I could not bear to watch and listen to the talking heads spinning out nonsense — as if any of them had any notion what this really means, either in terms of the past or the future.
Instead I wanted to think about it myself, to sort out my own emotions and reactions. I was glad they'd found him, not sad they'd killed him. I knew it wouldn't bring an end to the threat of Al Qaida or other terrorists, but also knew it was both symbolically and operationally important. I knew it couldn't erase the pain of people who'd lost loved ones or been especially traumatized by September 11, but I also know that the sense of justice is hard-wired into humans and still animates our tribal response to events.
I did read some news this morning (links below), and while some was fascinating in amplifying and describing a truly remarkable undertaking, in general I found little or nothing that helped me sort out the complexities I feel.
And that seems fine to me. Not all things are meant to be completely understood or simply parsed — at least not by me. I've learned over my years that ambiguity is as powerful as certainty, and more often accurate.
The good and the bad are equally strong, reverse sides of the same coin. Life is one coin.
Two especially fascinating stories: