Anything Can Happen

And always does when you least expect it...

Osam bin Laden is dead.

Just as many Americans were pausing to wonder what has been going on in our country and how we were going to dig ourselves out of the economic hole we've created, something happens that changes the course of history. Ten long years after the events of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden is dead, killed by us and we are certain since we have his body. It is the symbolic end of an era when the American psyche, consciously or otherwise, doubted itself and ability to capture a criminal who was the mastermind of a tragic event. His death cannot be underestimated. Carried along with our doubt was a lot of other baggage about the American Spirit and ability to rise above and be...well, American. The impact of this event should cause us to reassure ourselves that we are capable of anything we set our minds to.

His death will do little for the economic predicament we find ourselves in but should reinforce our sense of being able to resolve it. The real estate/mortgage problem, currency crisis, unemployment and low GDP and productivity among other issues aren't going away. What this should do is restore Americans faith in themselves to rise above and in the long term eventually overcome any obstacle. Over the next few days and weeks much discussion will go on and it is certain the political class will have a field day regarding Bush and Obama and who was able to capture and kill Osama bin Laden. The people who thrive on the fear of terrorism for a living will continue to hyper warn us, in a sense they're reminiscent of anti-communists when the Cold War was over. Terrorism is still a threat and we need to remain vigilant, but what we need to learn from this is that fear mongering is not the best weapon, that believing in our own power to defeat evil is. When all the noise dies down is when the truth will come out and the result will be that everyday Americans will have renewed faith in our ability to restore ourselves to the country we should be.

The oddity of the situation is that the attacks of 9-11 were intended to destroy the financial capital of the world and America's preeminence in the global economy. In some measure it did so indirectly, although it didn't collapse our markets immediately, in the long view in many ways it did. We should have taken more notice at the time of the message that was being sent, a message not necessarily from Islamic terrorists but a note to ourselves. We ignored it after the sentimental pop and country songs and tributes ran their course and we went headlong into consuming everything in sight. We pumped up our economy to feel good and did very little reflection on what had happened and how it could. The time for blame and recriminations about who did and who didn't do what is over, now is the time to revive the American Spirit and undertake the long hard road back to economic health.