Like most, if not all, Americans, I was happy over the news that we finally got Osama Bin Laden. What I worried about, though, was the reaction by some of our fellow citizens: The celebrations made me uneasy as images flashed on our TV sets of crowds cheering, waving flags and chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”
Praise of the difficult, dangerous and heroic work of Navy SEALs who stormed Bin Laden’s compound and killed him is apt. A sigh of relief that a very bad and evil man who masterminded the murder of thousands of Americans is dead should also be recognized.
But it’s unsettling to see the intensity of the celebrations over a death.
I’m not trying to make a moral point here. As a brand, America stands for justice and having a better way (democracy). The more effective reaction from a brand point of view would have been to acknowledge it, say “Good” and move on. (Which, my gut tells me, is what most Americans did.)
From an outside-in perspective, the only way to view the effectiveness of a brand, those images conjure up the same images we see in the Middle East when they’ve killed one of ours. It does not say justice or a better way.
President Obama’s measured and stern announcement struck the right tone. The overly exuberant reaction did not.