It was hard to miss reference to Margaret Thatcher's death this morning. No doubt the TV "news" shows were covering it, but who watches those anymore? I found out, as I usually learn about events these days, about Thatcher's death via Twitter.
What's unusual about Thatcher's death is the fact that so many people are celebrating, rather than mourning, her death.
The usual cycle of commentary has ensued: event -> initial commentary -> response of annoyance or outrage at initial commentary -> annoyance, outrage, or explanations in response to the response -> etc.
Essentially "don't tell me what to say" vs. "not every thought needs to be expressed at every moment."
I'm not sure there's a right answer to this, though I generally fall on the side of giving respect to the dead except in extreme cases. (Sorry, I don't feel bad at expressing pleasure when learning Osama bin Laden was dead, nor when I heard about Saddam Hussein, and when Charles Manson finally expires I'll feel justified in saying "good riddance.") Thatcher and many political figures are borderline. Would Thatcher have governed any differently if she'd known she'd be publicly reviled by many after her death? If not, is it useful to "celebrate" her death when it goes against the social grain?
I also wonder if the people who shame the celebrants are truly concerned about propriety, or simply don't want to hear from "the opposition." And would the celebrants feel differently if one of their leaders were dead? No doubt many of those wagging fingers today will be reacting differently when Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter dies.
I don't mourn Thatcher, but I can't quite bring myself to find joy in her demise, either.