Give Obama the credit he deserves

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By Rick Howell

    After first digesting the news of Osama bin Laden’s death on May 1, I had two quick thoughts: I’d glad that’s over, and that this man who took such an evil path in his life and caused so much death and suffering has finally been brought to justice.

    Then, I thought, Barack Obama just got himself re-elected in 2012. More on that later…
    This is one of those times in history when, as Christians, we are reminded of how easy it is to talk about what we say we believe and how difficult it is to actually live it.
    We’re supposed to love our enemies and not rejoice in anyone’s death. But it took a few days to hear a reminder of that as people were celebrating, high-fiving, and chanting “USA, USA.”
    Even the media got into the act. The New York Daily News’ front page said, over a bin Laden photo, “Rot in Hell.” Some papers even put the word bas**** on their front page. I’ve never seen that before…
    Yes, we struggle sometimes to live up to how we’re supposed to behave. That’s because we’re human. But in this instance, it would almost be inhuman not to feel satisfaction at this man’s demise.
    Not only did he preside over the Sept. 11, 2001, killing of thousands of innocent people, he created sorrows and grief in families that will never go away as long as those people live.
In addition, he distorted the true teachings of one of the world’s major religions and, through his twisted propaganda, misled many young men and women into the same evil path of death and destruction that he chose.
    Osama bin Laden proved what so many other people’s lives and endings have: In this world, you reap what you sow. He got the end he was always going to get.
    And how did this happen? Because the President of the United States showed leadership and courage that his critics have told us for so long he doesn’t have. Well, they were wrong. Now, Barack Obama sits atop the political world in the United States.
    He did in two years what his predecessor couldn’t do in eight. He kept a campaign promise for which he was criticized when he made it. He said, first in 2007, that if, as president, he had intelligence that showed where bin Laden was, and that the Pakistanis refused to act, he would. He did exactly that.
    This president also had the class not to “rub it in,” so to speak. His decision not to release gruesome photos was the right call. “That’s not who we are,” he said. “We don’t trot these things out as trophies.”
    This successful act has absolutely taken the wind out of the sails of such critics as Donald Trump. Suddenly, birth certificates and other trivialities have been put in the proper perspective.
    I admit, it’s still too early to call next year’s election. But given that most Republican candidates aren’t worth a darn, anyway, you have to wonder: How will an already mediocre GOP field counter this stunning development?
    You can still disagree with Barack Obama. But you can’t say he doesn’t know how to lead, or that he’s “not fit” or “too inexperienced” to be Commander-in-Chief. No sensible person will go down those roads again.
    Our highly-trained Navy Seals have certainly gotten all the credit they deserve; it was an almost flawless operation.
The United States has a long memory, and is more than capable of taking care of itself. And we should all admit: That’s a very strong leader we have in the White House right now.  

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.