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Phil In The Blank

Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

Osama bin shot

May 04, 2011 - The elimination of Osama bin Laden seemed a topic ripe for localization, so I emailed 15 elected officials in Clarkston, Independence and Springfield townships, and Clarkston schools for their thoughts.

They must have been busy or something. I got one response, from Clarkston City Manager Dennis Ritter.

"Being a Vietnam veteran, I know this is a HUGE morale lift for our brave troops," Ritter wrote. "They'll be more motivated than ever before. Bin Laden being taken out only further reaffirms the importance, significance and purpose of their mission on behalf of this great country. 9-11 is still fresh in our minds and to that, there's an old saying: 'What goes around comes around, it may not be tomorrow, next month or even next year, but it comes around!'"

I think President Obama did a great job getting this job done, and seemed to learn a lot from it.

Watching all these folks fill the streets, chanting "USA, USA," singing the national anthem, waving the flag had to have made an impact on the president.

After a lifetime filled with people who frown on jingoistic American nationalism, he finally got a taste of good old-fashioned patriotism, with him at the lead of it, and perhaps thought, "oh, that's what it's all about."

Tragedies didn't do it. His success with getting the health care bill passed into law didn't do it. Even his inauguration wasn't the same thing.

Maybe he now gets it, why George W. had a swagger when he walked up to the podium to speak. Why Americans buy big cars and trucks, and own so many guns. Why Americans think they're so darn special.

The president's become a different person over the past two years.

"Close Guantanamo? What was I thinking," he might ask. "Where would I put all the terrorists?"

"Bring all the troops home? But then how would we deal with our enemies?"

"Did I call harsh interrogation methods 'torture?' That's how I got Osama!"

To paraphrase his wife, I think for the first time in his life, he is proud to be an American. To that I say, better late than never.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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