Events versus Fads versus History
Amongst all of the 'I love Obama'/'I hate Obama' crap, and every twit in the world bragging about who they voted for or why they feel something is a mistake, let me try to be the voice of reason.
First of all, for all of the millions of people who have claimed that today was 'history in the Making'...go get fucked. You need a lesson of what History is.
A couple of days ago, a boy of six was killed when debris flew into the stands at a Tacoma Monster Truck Rally. Which is interesting because the whole 'Monster Truck' circuit has been dabating as to whether or not to close it's doors forever. The thing is, these large and hideously inefficient vehicles stood out as a symbol in the post-Carter-administration-gas-crisis. We had 'overcome' the economic problems of poor petroleum management, and the Monster Truck was an icon of conspicuous consumption.
But with gas prices soaring to four dollars this last summer, and with what experts describe as a 50/50 chance that within two to four years prices reaching $10 a gallon, the average person has started to question the glut. When the economy is this bad, would you rather shell out for seats or have that money to ensure a mortgage payment? And why would you even want to go see a vehicle that you'd never be able to afford to maintain?
So population in the grandstands has dropped off anyway, but with the coming insurance binge and lawsuits following this kid's death, it's probably just one more nail in the coffin of this 'sport'. Which means that it will have had s run of about 30 years or so. And something that has a run that short with no lasting effects on the way we do things is just a Fad. Yeah, 30 years may seem like a long time to some, but when there is no long-term effect a few decades is nothing.
What was witnessed today in the innauguration was an Event. Not History. Events happen all the time. They are short-lived circumstances. Yes, there was a lot of flash and a lot of presence, but after everyone goes home the event, in and of itself, hasn't really changed anything.
History is different. History leaves a lasting effect that changes the way we see or do things. George W. Bush, within 8 years, has made history. The need to change the economy and the way we conduct business has been forced upon us, lest the whole system collapse. We have become a nation that many other peoples loathe because of our policies, military and otherwise. We run the risk now of being caught in two or more simultaneous 'Vietnams' while facing down not just a recession, but a depresion. The environment, an issue that was first raised as a concern just before Monster Trucks hit the popular scene, has finally started to gain widespread interest. Petroleum is becoming a less reliable rescource, and the health and education systems are failing as well. These are lasting effects that will take many years to ammend, if they can be fixed before true disaster strikes.
Will this administration, together with congress and the supreme court, be able to make History? I sure don't know. What I do know is that it's not on the shoulders of one man. Whether or not there is a congressional majority, without the 2/3 over-ride there's no guaranee anything will get passed. And with a largely conservative Supreme Court, they could bog down lawmakers for years. And what of the people? They are fickle. If they have no perceptable improvements that impact their lives directly, they are likely to remove Obama from office before any policy can take root.
Change doesn't happen in one year. Or four. And it sure doesn't happen in a day. While single events can often cause an unexpected change, most History takes decades to come to fruition.
So to all of those people who camped out on a cold January: You were not a part of History. You experienced an Event. History will be, hopefully, what happens over the next years. And it does have a lot with how you choose to act. But it sure as hell won't change because you heard a speech.