Almost 36 hours after the epic event, it's almost become cliched to talk about it. The spokespeople for our society have decided to perfunctorily laud it every 10 seconds. Shortly, it'll be another stat skipped in the unread history books that litter high schools across America.
But before the inevitable forgetfulness and arbitrariness seep in, let's take a moment to enjoy and reflect on Barack Obama's victory in Thursday night's caucus.
Does America have a collective New Year's resolution? Do we finally have the grit and gravitas to follow our instincts, and not listen to those who tell us they know what's best? I certainly hope so…
If you had a good U.S. history teacher in high school or college, and didn't pass out or spend the time mentally undressing the girls in your class, you heard horrific facts once the Civil Rights era was discussed. You heard about "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, when the city's police force beat helpless marchers with billy clubs and pipes. You heard about three civil rights workers who were murdered in Mississippi by the KKK and police. There were also the four black girls killed in a church-bombing in Birmingham. Sit-ins, marches, boycotts, busing, riots, assassinations, and martyrs defined the beautiful, vicious struggle.
The South has always been the region of the country associated with the struggles of the Civil Rights movement. It was clearly a battlefield for over three decades, unabashedly professing its intolerance for change and inclusion. But for now, there's a new keyword that comes to mind when thinking of leaps toward racial 'tolerance' in this country — Iowa.
Much has been said about the fact that it's taken almost 40 years for something as significant as Obama's win to happen. The fact that the event took place in Iowa draws even more eyebrow raising, since the state is mostly white.
The first fact shouldn't surprise people. It took almost 100 years after the conclusion of the Civil War for the country to decide it was time to recognize all of its citizens' rights. So, sadly, 40 years shows some progress.
The Iowa aspect is a little more intriguing. It represents a potential sea change in American culture which can change everything. The thought that a person's skin color isn't being used as a detriment when assessing that person's character is what America is supposed to represent. Instead of resting on our laurels, metastasizing the importance of the event, we should use it as a springboard to continue our country's progression.
Whether you agree with Obama's politics, or believe in the Romneys, Clintons, and McCains, is another kettle of fish. The important thing is that Americans jumped on a new path. Iowans took the first step in casting aside old traditions and mindsets, bravely deciding to create new ones.
Hopefully, this will be a New Year's resolution which all Americans are willing to keep.