Somewhere in hell, Osama bin Laden is laughing his head off.
It took years, but in the grand sweep of history, no time at all. Bin Laden hardly deserves all the credit. He got a big assist from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and, before that, eight years of Democratic overreach countered by Republican overreaction that led to gridlock and bad blood across the land.
But remember al-Qaida's goal: humiliating Americans before the eyes of the world.
How pleased the miscreant would be to have a television before him now. (Oh, but wait. Surely they watch television in hell.)
We've gone from serving as the vigilant enemy of tyranny, the fierce protector of democracy, to this present unholy transformation of the United States of America as global embarrassment: from a presidency for generations considered to be the leader of the free world, to a presidency run by an isolationist strongman more recognizable to a terrorist suffering from brain rot and delusions of grandeur.
We've gone from a presidency that sought out advisers who at least gave lip-service to our ideals, to one reliant on a chief strategist who wants to destroy all of today's establishment.
We've gone from a modern presidency that embraced the world's peoples and marketplaces to one that sees patriotism as coded language for xenophobia.
In the land of representative democracy, statesmanship became a bad word before Donald Trump disrupted our politics. Under President Trump, it's now a synonym for moral fecklessness.
It's not jihadi-style Shariah law, but how bin Laden must relish Trump law. In a country under Trump law, CEOs are told where they can and cannot employ workers. We don't have morality police roaming the streets, but, regardless, no slight goes unanswered. Public shaming seems to be the goal. Better than flogging in the public square, of course, but stunningly effective, nonetheless.
And who knows? Maybe flogging is in the works. Torture's OK again. Sure, we debased ourselves before in this realm, but rallied back to our good senses. Imagine our modern country, pre-9/11, thinking of torture and black site prisons as a good idea.
So is disrupting families trying to flee the most dangerous places in the world. What a kick bin Laden must get out of seeing official America breaking apart families whose lives already have been shattered by war and indiscriminate violence.
What tears of unbridled joy bin Laden must be crying as he laughs in hell.
"And the polls show most of them support it!" the terrorist must be saying.
How easy it must be now for bin Laden's protégés to cast America as a land of hate.
Wouldn't they be correct? How far we've come as a people after the come-together days of 9/11. Even the briefest glance at social media feeds reveals a country venomously divided, disinterested and disrespectful of opposing views. We've become a people enabled and desirous of only thinking what we want to think, and only interested in views that bolster our own.
A weird paranoia covers the land. In it people think that nobody gets them, or everyone is out to get them.
Women fear for their rights. And who could blame them if they also fear that other men will start modeling our thug president's behavior?
When bin Laden's henchmen attacked, he became what terrified us. Now we are terrified of what horrible thing our new administration will do next.
What new kind of frontier are we about to chart for ourselves? And how in the world is the next generation going to comport itself?
In whatever spider-hole in hell they've placed bin Laden, alongside all the other petty tyrants of our history, he must be laughing — all of them must be laughing — for in the days following 9/11 we grew to despise a thug terrorist who wished to destroy what it meant to be an American.
Now, in the days after Inauguration Day 2017, we find ourselves led by a thug president bent on finishing the job.
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