A Moment of History in ‘Real Time’

People rarely get to see “history in the making.” It’s only in retrospect that we can see the developments that contributed to historical change. People also rarely perceive social and cultural transitions between decades, let alone centuries.

In the Biblical book of Exodus Moses asks to see God but God effectively says to him “You can’t see my face . . . you can only see my back.” This has been interpreted to mean that only in retrospect can we perceive the work of God or, perhaps, the significance of history (for those who are secular).

Arguably 9/11 was the psychological and cultural beginning of the 21st Century. But if it wasn’t then last night surely was. For all the reasons that have already been discussed and that we can imagine: the literal and symbolic demise of racial barriers, the innovative and highly sophisticated Obama campaign and the role the Internet played in both the campaign and the coverage of the campaign.

We’re now clearly in a new era. And we’re seeing it unfold — in real time.

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3 Responses to “A Moment of History in ‘Real Time’”

  1. MiriamEllis Says:

    Hi Greg,
    I went through anxiety, utter spiritual elation and total emotional fatigue in the course of yesterday evening. I was taken aback by the strength of my own feelings and sensations. I’ve never felt that way about an election before.

    Race is certainly only symbolic, but I have carried a burden of real sorrow, guilt and hurt since first understanding racism as a little girl. The indignities suffered by people of color since the founding of this nation have haunted and wounded my spirit all my life, so even though I don’t normally think in terms of race, last night, I certainly did, and perceived a beautiful symbol of justice, vindication and goodness.

    Following the election, my husband and I listened to some of the great Jazz compositions of 20th century. We thought of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and the indignities they suffered, the obstacles they surmounted, the genius they shared with the world, inviting the world to rethink their assumptions and prejudices. We cried, we shouted, we danced and celebrated the culmination of the millions of steps taken by millions of people since the first slave stepped off a ship on American shores…all the strong, tireless steps that led to last night.

    History, indeed. Honored to be here to be a part of it.

    Miriam

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Miriam did you get my email with the Yahoo contact? It kept bouncing back to me.

  3. MiriamEllis Says:

    Hi Greg –
    Uh oh, no I didn’t. I’m concerned it was getting bounced back. There, I just went and manually added your gmail address to my allowed list…I should have to do so, but once in awhile my email decides on its own to start blocking an email address. I’m going to send you an email, and hopefully you can reply to it. Sorry for the hassle, and I’d really appreciate that information!

    Miriam

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