By Adam Patrick Seeman, Special to The Chronicle
Like most of my peers, I learnt of Osama's death by way of a friend, in this case my roommate, who causally looked up from his computer and said, "Osama bin Laden is dead." Then like most of my peers, I eagerly awaited President Obama's address to the nation who told that Osama bin Laden was indeed dead and that justice had been done. I was ecstatic that night, chanting "USA!" and feeling generally patriotic. My floormates and I watched Team America: World Police at 1 a.m. to celebrate. Finally, I went to bed, waiting for the new day to dawn, absent of America's Most Hated, Osama bin Laden.
However, when I woke up the next morning, I didn't feel euphoric anymore and Hofstra's atmosphere similarly lacked the euphoria everyone had been feeling. Oddly enough, when people talked to each other about Osama's death, it felt awkward and the conversation was in hushed tones as if some great tragedy had happened. There were no spontaneous chants of USA or patriotic dressed students, just quiet, reserved people walking around, uneasy to even think about last night's surprise.
When I woke up, I felt the same unease and even now I'm having trouble placing it but what I think happened is we woke up. The unbelievable tragedy of 9/11, that happened when most of us were too young to understand what really happened, is a nightmare to most of us and then the two confusing conflicts we engaged in afterwards, started when we were too young for us to fully realize what our country was getting into. This nightmarish War on Terror is now suddenly ended, out of a midnight blue, when the man we had been raised to hate was killed and then upon waking up the next day, we were expecting to see a better world, rid of our generation's Adolf Hitler, but instead we saw the world the world we were really living in.
We are living in a world in the midst of a two-year long economic crisis where within the United States unemployment still close to 10 percent despite numerous government efforts.
We are living in a world where the United States has troops in combat roles in at least three countries accomplishing who-knows-what and noncombat troops in at least 50 others. We are living in a world that wants to remove America from its position as the last great superpower. We are living a country whose debt is over $13 trillion and promises little hope for our generation, nevermind our children and grandchildren. We woke up and saw a world that didn't care that one man had died and instead saw the problems of the world that had been previously hidden behind the American face of evil, Osama bin Laden.
Can we justify the bankrupting of our economy, the intense partisan divide and the thousands of American troops and Middle Eastern civilians that perished simply by the death of Osama bin Laden? And now that he's dead, are we going to bring the troops home, unite as Americans and fix our downward spiraling future? Our leaders maybe tell us that there is a clear direction for us to follow but I truly believe that I am not alone in thinking with an uncertain outlook towards the future, asking myself, my country, and my world, "Osama's dead. Now what?"