History in the making

And in the eighth month, the media pleaded to God: “We have exhausted all the gossip on this election. We have scoured their personal histories. We are running out of stuff to talk about!”So God created Sarah Palin. And they saw that it was good.Sarah Palin’s descent from Alaska was the current-event-counterpoint to the start of our school year — and the beginning of a phenomenal season for being opinionated.This being the last issue of The Cynic for a while, it seems appropriate to reflect back on the year and what it meant.To begin with, the economy was unrelenting in its drive downward.To a certain extent, we became desensitized to what would normally be dire economic news.The economy formed the bedrock — the theater, if you will — on which all other events played.As for foreign affairs, you could draw a latitude line of instability across the Middle East.Starting with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the line continues through our military involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan, sandwiched in between is the always-interesting Iran and at the end lies Pakistan — the prototypical failed state.And at home, we had something of an election.As Ron Burgundy would say, it was kind of a big deal.We ushered out a president who took office when I was a foot and a half shorter and the country was considerably better-off.And let’s not forget Blagojevich, the appallingly corrupt, but incomparably entertaining politician of the year.I guess my point is that this really was a special and historic year.Certainly, I may be preaching to the choir. We all noted and celebrated our nation’s historic election of a black president.And, if I had a nickel for every time I heard “the worst economy since the Great Depression,” well, I’d have a few bucks.We do seem to be acknowledging the importance of the times.But there does exist the cynical tendency to downplay history-in-the-making.The 20th century was so rife with events it became hard to distinguish the truly monumental periods. Today we have the notion that there never really was an uneventful time in the modern era.If this year was historic, then so what? Every year had its history.There’s certainly some truth to that. But we should not devalue the impact of this year.History books of this time will have to account for the election of our first African-American president, a great shift in power in favor of the democrats, a truly global recession and increased violence in the Middle East.I say take in the times while you can. It may not be the 1930s, but good, bad or ugly, it’s certainly history.Have a good summer, I’m out.