Many people are waking up to the news that Osama bin Laden is dead. For many in the US, it’s a psychological turning point as many are rejoicing over his death. Others aren’t comfortable celebrating the death of anyone – even someone as evil as bin Laden. Yet the impact of this is felt around the world.
The death of bin Laden brought back the memories of 9/11 and the thousands that died that day. Many Americans, as well as others around the world, are rejoicing because justice has been served for those who died that day. For others, bin Laden’s death makes September 11 and the tragedy of that day fresh again. And there is sadness and mourning. Regardless of how people react or even if you agree with those reactions, this event has definitely had an impact.
The psychological and financial impacts of bin Laden’s death
Beyond the various emotional reactions, there are psychological and financial reactions to this. As it was with 9/11, America is united again today. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, religious, non-religious, conservatives, and liberals – people are celebrating together. People’s spirits are high and for at least one day, the economic troubles of this country are forgotten.
Regardless of your opinions on the military, this has to buoy their confidence today with a sense of “mission accomplished.” All of those Americans who died in Afghanistan and Iraq can’t be brought back but relief, joy, and gratitude are extended to those who have served in the military and died in this mission.
Today, the financial markets have gone up and the value of the US dollar was boosted to start the day as the news of bin Laden’s death circulated. What impact will this have long term on the economy as businesses seek to rebound? What effect will this have in the Middle East – from a financial and peace perspective? That’s yet to be seen.
Regardless of what is to come, America seems to be united once again and many Americans will remember where they were when they heard “Osama bin Laden is dead”. As one person mentioned to me, this may be the biggest death of an enemy since Hitler. Ironically, it was announced on this same day – May 1, 1945 – that Hitler had died as well.
The political effect of Osama bin Laden’s death
Undoubtedly, the political aspect of bin Laden’s death can’t be ignored. However, today isn’t the day to focus on that. Many people praise Obama for finally getting Osama. Regardless of your political leanings, this is a day where many Americans are unified once again.
Don’t try and talk about politics to those gathered in New York City today around the site of the World Trade Center who remember those who died and what it was like on September 11. Around the country, people gathered and celebrated. Whether it is right to celebrate death is debatable. To debate whether this has unified the country today is not.
Last night, I didn’t want to hear about re-election bids or Bush or political victories. The first thing Obama did last night before he gave his speech was call Presidents Bush and Clinton to let them know. Bush issued a statement congratulating the military and the intelligence community. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other Congressman praised the efforts. Today, even politicians are united.
Travel can change the world
I hate politics. I really do. I don’t care what party it is. I’m not an anarchist (as it was suggested last night in a discussion on this) but I don’t believe that politicians are altruistic in their motives. Politicians want to benefit themselves and enjoy the money and power. It’s always a battle to win a victory over the other side – and often at the expense of the people for which they are governing.
Many years ago, serving your country in government was an honor and a sacrifice – not a career to pad your wallet and boost your ego. I don’t believe the government has my best interest at heart.
Look around the world – most wars are started by governments and we are taught to hate people in another country we don’t even know. Today, the US and Iran are rivals. As a result, many Americans may hate the people of Iran – people they have never met or know anything about. Sadly, many people may not recognize that we may have more in common than we think and we don’t need to hate each other just because our governments are in conflict (read more about the Iranian people in Rick Steves visit to Iran).
Politics won’t change the world. People do – one person at a time. Two thousand years ago, Jesus started a revolution based on love – not politics, government, or war. Mother Teresa gave her life to help and serve people that were “unlovable”. And ever year, people travel the world and reach out to others in an attempt to break down cultural barriers and walls.
It’s people like Charyn Pfeuffer, Shannon O’Donnell, and Kent and Caanan that seek to make a difference in the world as they volunteer through travel. It’s people like you who seek to volunteer where you live (check out my walk in the March for Babies this weekend) or embrace a culture so different than your own when you travel. It’s about connecting with locals and building relationships that make the best travel memories.
It’s why I focus on giving back through travel and how the stories of Charyn, Shannon, and Kent and Caanan will be shared to inspire and encourage. The government can give people handouts but they can’t give a hug. The government can declare war but it can’t replace the warmth of the human touch.
Those who expect peace to come through government and politics have a false hope and will wait the rest of their lives. Hope, change, and peace comes one person at a time through love. What an opportunity we have to do this with people of all races, color, religion, and culture through travel.
Today, we remember bin Laden’s death. Yet people all over the world loving one another in spite of our differences can make a far greater impact than all of the evil this man did. Travel can change the world – one person at a time.